Imagination Connoisseur, Dean Micetich, asks if movies like THE THING – which may have bombed at the box office but has found a new life on physical media – will ever get a second chance through the home media market.

Hi Rob,

With the discussions recently been on remakes, reboots and reimagine.
It got me thinking about your reply to last letter. More specifically I mentioned that John Carpenter’s The Thing is how to do a remake well. Your reply was while it a good film. It flopped when it came out.

Sure the film bombed when it came out, but since it came out it has built up a cult following.

The film has been realised on VHS, Lasserdisk (I think), DVD and Bluray and must have been bought multiple times from old fans as video formatted have Changed. And when each new format came along new fans have snapped up the film.

My question is, is The Thing still classed as a failed film or a success as it has managed to make it budget back and a profit from the home media market?

The Thing is not the only film to bomb at the box office only to become profitable once it entered the home media market. I know a few films have even had sequel made due to this success outside of the box office. An example of this Bladerunner 2049. Yeah I know that is classed as a box office bomb as well, but due the success of the original in the home media, it helped 2049 to be made.

Given the current state of physical media slowly dying out, will this even be possible in the future? Will we get to the point where these flops won’t even get a physical media realise or physically media is gone altogether. Could a film that is a flop and build a cult following due to home media at present, be able to do so in the future when the only way to see it is though streaming services and that is if they carry it? At present Netflix and Amazon only carry a film/TV show for a short time before they pull it unless it is something they have made themselves. Will buying the film as a digital download be possible as people wait for it to come to a streaming service?

The way I see it the days of a film being a flop at the box office only to become a success due to home media market could be coming to an end, which is a great shame.

– Dean M.