Movie Pre-Game: Power Rangers
Welcome to the first movie pre-game column Pop Break! In this column we look at a huge movie that’s being released (today, a Friday), and break down our anticipation level for the film, what it has going for it, what it has going against it, an how well it will do at the box office.
This column looks at Power Rangers and features the site’s editor Bill Bodkin, film editor Dan Cohen, and senior music writer/Power Rangers super fan, Anthony Toto.
What’s the Deal: To Morphin, or not to Morphin? Lionsgate attempts to revive this 90’s staple by cooling up the rangers in sleek, robotic costumes. On the other hand, they still say “It’s Morphin time!” and associate themselves with a JV C-3PO.
Daniel Cohen’s Breakdown
I was never a Power Rangers fan. To me, I always felt like there was a line in the sand between them and Ninja Turtles. You couldn’t like both. As a kid, I always felt Power Rangers were really, really dumb. Giant turtles that knew Kung Fu and fought a talking brain though was perfectly reasonable.
Ninja Turtles is actually relevant here. While both franchises were staples of the 90’s, the turtles have at least one great on screen version from 1990. Even the most diehard Power Rangers fan will tell you those first couple films blew bags. With this new movie, it looks like a legitimate effort is being made here.
I know it’s easy to look at these trailers and say, “Are you kidding me? They are trying to go serious with the Power Rangers!? Cut me a break.” Franchises need more of this! Could Power Rangers be a complete and utter disaster? Absolutely, but at least they’re trying here! Good for them! Why is the concept of Power Rangers any dumber than a talking raccoon and tree? Please. Tell me. I’m all ears. I’ll take the ambitious failure over a moronic cartoon just trying to make a quick buck any day (Michael Bay Ninja Turtles).
The Film’s Biggest Asset: It’s Power Rangers.
The Film’s Achilles Heel: It’s Power Rangers.
Anthony Toto’s Breakdown
My morpher just went off and Zordon requested an editorial about the upcoming Power Rangers film! Luckily, I am the perfect twenty-something with attitude for this story. For the record, my birthday is on March 29th, and having this new Power Rangers movie in theaters only five days beforehand feels like the PERFECT present.
Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers is not just some nostalgic television series from my childhood: my heart is still fully invested in this franchise. I am somewhat split on this movie for a few reasons: I am still recovering from 2014’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, where Michael Bay nearly stripped away the personalities of my favorite heroes in a half shell.
Hollywood is a copycat business, and the new Power Rangers feel way too mechanical and Transformers influenced for my personal tastes. While I genuinely loved the zords and villains in the original series, Goldar’s appearance is uninspiring (Doomsday worthy), and this new Megazord lacks the personality and iconic aura of the original.
Till this day, my favorite aspect of Power Rangers is the fight choreography and various displays of martial arts. I yearn for some authentic fight scenes against putties in the middle of Angel Grove. If this reboot resurrects the martial arts essence of the original Power Rangers, moviegoers will lose their minds. Just think of how many kids were inspired by Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers to pursue Taekwando – it could happen again.
The Film’s Biggest Asset: Hollywood features plenty of superheroes at the moment. Somewhere in this cast, we might have some authentic martial arts heroes and ninja inspired bad asses in the vein of Jason David Frank (Tommy Oliver) and Johnny Yong Bosch (Adam Park).
The Film’s Achilles Heel: Straying too far from the source material: trying to replicate the militarized aspects of Iron Man feels like the wrong path; it should resurrect the ninja inspired aura of the original series.
Bill Bodkin’s Breakdown
I have no real vested interest in a live action Power Rangers film. I’m completely indifferent. Will I watch it one day? Sure. If I miss out on it will my life be incomplete? No.
I do have to commend whomever came up with the idea for this film. Nostalgia, particularly amongst pop culture consumers in their 20s and early 30s, seems to be at an all-time high. Don’t believe me? Why are “Emo nights” so popular at clubs across the country? Why are they rebooting cartoon franchises? Why are they even contemplating going back to Matrix movies?
And this franchise is ripe for the picking. Power Rangers has been on forever in some incarnation or the other. My friend’s son who is about 10 is watching versions of it online every single night. This was the right time to do it. Look at your respective social media feed, and you’ll see so many people in the aforementioned age bracket losing their minds over the film’s release.
It’s also a smart move to Y.A. (young adult) the hell out this movie to attract a new audience who likes attractive shiny things that go boom.
Film’s Biggest Asset: Nostalgia
Film’s Achilles Heel: Questionable effects and story
Daniel Cohen: It’s all bonus time when it comes to the film’s box office. What do I mean by that? I don’t think there’s any chance this movie bombs. At an estimated $105 Million production budget, it should do fine. The Power Rangers have a big enough fan base, and the trailers have gotten a good enough response. If the movie has good buzz, it could be a potential hit. Will it break the bank? Hell no, but it could warrant a sequel after opening weekend, and that’s all Lionsgate really wants.
The Ceiling: $550 Million Worldwide
The Floor: $200 Million Worldwide
Anthony Toto: In terms of box office potential, this film faces intense competition, especially for a March release date. Beauty and the Beast will have serious legs for the next month or so, however, if Power Rangers capitalizes on the nostalgic memories for an entire generation of older millenials (similar to Beauty and the Beast), we have a huge hit on our hands. I expect the Megazord to fire up the Mega Power Sword and slice the competition during this upcoming weekend. We live in a post Avengers world where cinema goers love iconic team-ups; the sky is the limit for this franchise in terms of its crossover appeal.
The Ceiling: Between $700 Million and $1 Billion Worldwide
The Floor: Between $100 and $350 Million Worldwide
Bill Bodkin: The all depends on word of mouth. March has been an absolute beast in regards to box office – Logan, Kong: Skull Island, and Beauty & the Beast have all had major openings and their word of mouth is strong. Power Rangers will undoubtedly open atop the box office, but it’s plummet (sorry, Dan) could be very Batman v Superman-esque if fans, not critics, hate this movie.
Ceiling: $500 million domestic, $1.5 billion worldwide
Floor: $300 million domestic, $700 billion worldwide.
Daniel Cohen: Are you kidding me? They got Bryan Cranston to voice Zordon, and by all accounts, he’s legitimately pumped about it. How is it not him?
Anthony Toto: Bryan Cranston as Zordon will steal the show. His track record with Malcolm in the Middle and Breaking Bad speaks for itself.
Bill Bodkin: Let’s go for the trifecta — this all about Cranston and Hader. Don’t sleep on Elizabeth Banks though.
Daniel Cohen: I’m rooting for this movie. I want more studios and filmmakers to take seemingly dumb material and actually try and do something meaningful with it. Screw it. Go, Go Power Rangers!
Anticipation Level: 3.5 Shogun Megazords out of 5
Anthony Toto: Regardless of what I stated earlier, I have tremendous faith in both the main and supporting cast. Positives thus far: all five Power Rangers seem to click on and off the screen. I am most excited for RJ Cyler as the Blue Ranger and truly believe he will be the breakout star of this film. In the end, I expect a happy medium where Power Rangers will pull the heart strings of twenty-something’s, yet appeal to kids in elementary school who live in a technology driven world.
Anticipation Level: 5 Shogun Megazords out of 5
Bill Bodkin: The Chronicle treatment of this film intrigues me, but that CGI…give me the dudes in rubber suits over this. I’m on the fence, and like I said before I’m not totally invested in seeing this.
Anticipation Level: 2.5 Shogun Megazords out of 5.
The Overall Megazord Score 11 out of 15