Theory: Which reality show films succeed and why?

Why did Angelababy pwn the box office in a variety show film but flopped in a real one?

Why did Angelababy pwn the box office in a variety show film but flopped in a real one?

A thought experiment for why some recent variety-show-based movies and not others have been huge successes:

If I liked Running Man, I know with high confidence that I’ll like the film because it’s going to be just like every other episode of Running Man. If it’s worse than usual, I expect it to be  a 6.5. If it’s better than usual, it might be a 7.5. On average, it’s 7 for me.

Compare this with if I go watch Crimes of Passion by Gao Qunshu.  I expect higher of him, but I have no idea what the story will be like how the actors will fit in their roles. Since every film will be different, there’s going to be a huge variance in how much I enjoy her films. Maybe it’ll be really good and be a 10, maybe it’ll be really bad and be a 5.  On average, it’s a 7.5 for me.

Let’s say I’m risk-averse. That is, like most people, I prefer to be safe than sorry.  I.e. I would rather watch a movie I know is a 7 than a movie which could be either a 10 or a 5, because I can’t bare the thought of watching a 5.

This is why variety show movies like Daddy and Running Man succeed when they are just continuations of the shows. The audiences know exactly what to expect, and it’s a safe bet for 90 minutes of enjoyment.  That’s their advantage over films even by big directors or stars, and that’s the advantage that is lost when films are simply trying to bank off the name but change the content (The Voice, Super Boys).


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