Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Are You Tired of Franchises?

This Summer has been lackluster, to say the least, in both the quality of films released and the amount in which they have earned. As of the moment of this writing, every major blockbuster has underwhelmed so far this Summer, the time in which people most often see movies. Even stuff like Iron Man 2 failed to deliver in both quality and in the box office numbers many predicted, so what reasoning can there be behind this?

I think the answer is not in the economy, cause the economy is no worse now than it was back in the Winter when Avatar was racing across the box office charts. As for all the money, 3-D is just a smokescreen to make it look like the studios lackluster product has actually turned a profit. With an average 3-D movie ticket price of about $15, about $7 more than your average 2-D movie ticket price, that automatically pads the numbers of say Alice in Wonderland or Shrek Forever After, so in all actuality those films weren't the blockbusters in matters of attendance like the box office numbers say they were, even Avatar which was still the most attended film of the past decade, would have probably barely edged out The Dark Knight had it of only been in 2-D. But enough of my ranting about 3-D, back on topic. What is the reason for a dip in movie attendance when we're now in the thick of Summer?

Part of me wants to say quality, where in this economy no one really wants to shell out money for crap, they wanna wait for something worth seeing, but I don't think quality is the only thing holding people back from the cinemas. I've just noticed a trend in moviegoing since about last December when Avatar came out, and the trend isn't 3-D, but rather originality.

When you think about it, for the past decade just about every major blockbuster was an adaptation of some comic book or long-desired fantasy/sci-fi novel, in other words, the past decade was all about the franchise, the big buzz word that swept around Hollywood like a plague, every studio just itching to catch it. But what Avatar did, is I think it reignited an interest in the filmgoer to actually see something new and different for once. I mean, we all like the security that a good franchise like Batman brings to us, but no one filmgoer can't tell me they haven't ever desired to go see a movie that they had no knowledge about whatsoever and just be blown away? Majority of the first blockbusters, like Star Wars, Close Encounters, Indiana Jones, E.T., and Back to the Future were not based upon any prior source material, but were all original concepts tailored specifically for the screen, and if anything I think Avatar has sparked an intrigue in this type of blockbuster once more.

We're already seeing that this Summer with director Chris Nolan's Inception being probably the most buzzed film of the Summer across the net and around the water cooler. But the net's also buzzing about J.J. Abrams' new film coming out next Summer, Super 8. Maybe this is just a small trend, but perhaps people are just tired of the franchise and want something new? Personally, I'm tired of the franchise. Now, I love Spider-man and Batman and all those guys, and you've gotta be stupid to not think I wont go see the newest incarnations of these characters when they hit the screen, but the market has been oversaturated at the moment with so many adaptations and so many franchises that I've gotten worn down, tired, and I think a lot of other filmgoers have as well. This is why Avatar was so big and why Inception and Super 8 are so hyped at the moment.

What I'd personally love to see is a proper balance between original big budget concepts and the franchise. Because sometimes nothing can beat that feeling of putting on some old shoes and watching a James Bond flick, but it should never be predominantly too much of either one, because then the market becomes oversaturated and we go into a slump like we are now where people are just sick to death of sequels, reboots, remakes, whatever you wanna call it. The same could happen if there is too much originality and not enough familiarity, but right now Hollywood, you need to be a touch more innovative and step away from the familiar if you wanna win back the audience.

1 comment:

  1. I think you hit a lot of the rights notes here. People are not responding very well to this summer's blockbuster queue and lack of originality probably has something to do with it. I would never go see a shrek movie in theaters, but seriously, I thought Shrek 3 was SUPPOSED to be the last one. And Toy Story 3, while I like the concept of the kid going off the college as someone who grew up with the story, again, it's not something I'm dying to see. Nor was I dying to see Iron Man 2 and I'm not very excited about the last airbender

    I thought I'd never say this, but give me Will Smith fighting aliens any day over any of that crap.

    But think of it this way: last summer was a surprise to studios in much the same way this summer is. No one knew going into it that Star Trek was going to be as good as it was, or that "The Hangover" was going to generate as much money as it did. It seems that in the case of this summer there are many similar beats that are being struck but the response just isn't the same. For one thing, with Inception being the only "real" original movie being launched as a summer block buster is a real shame.

    It feels like Hollywood is in a bit of a "rebuilding" year. LIke a team that just won the world series or super bowl--which could be compared to the success of last year's box office. Hollywood is finding it hard to get back on the right track, putting too much thought into what they did right, while trying to distill it all down into a usable formula. There is no formula for success, just make it new, make it good, and make it something we want to see -- and quit depending on franchises so much!