The genre film flop-o-meter: Christopher Nolan's Inception

So I thought I'd start predicting how certain science fiction and fantasy films will do at the box office. No real reason for this except I enjoy genre films and how they've become vital to Hollywood's well-being. Doubt this last fact? Simply look at the top grossing movies of all time and try to imagine that list without genre films.

The first film on my list is Christopher Nolan's Inception, set for a July 16th release. I've long been a fan of Nolan's works as are most critics and movie lovers, all of whom are already lining up to kiss this film's celluloid ass. None of this is surprising given Nolan's excellent record with high quality films like The Prestige and Memento.

But that said, this film will be a major flop at the box office. And I don't say that simply because Leonardo DiCaprio made his stupid comment that people don't like science fiction films "because we have a hard time investing in worlds that are too far detached from what we know." Yeah Leo, that's why that list of all-time highest grossing films is filled with nothing but SF and fantasy epics.

No, the bigger problem is that this film deals with dreams, a tough subject for directors to touch without losing their ability to make a watchable film. I mean, even the great Akira Kurosawa couldn't do it with his Dreams.

In addition, the budget for this film is in excess of $200 million. Are you kidding me? None of Nolan's non-Batman films have made that much, with two--The Prestige and Insomnia--grossing just over $100 million. And Leo is hardly a box office draw anymore--that ship sank with Titanic.

My prediction is that this will be a good SF film which the critics will love, but which doesn't find a large audience because of its subject matter. Since Christopher Nolan is still Hollywood's golden boy and is working on another Batman movie, studios will overlook losing their shirts on this film. But that won't change the fact that Inception will be a flop.