Steven Spielberg, who has perhaps taught Hollywood how to craft the perfect blockbuster, is an icon in the industry and always will be. And in recent years, he's been very vocal about his unhappiness with the current state of the industry, especially Hollywood's over-reliance on huge tentpole blockbusters. He caused a buzz two years ago while speaking at the opening of USC School of Cinematic Arts' new Interactive Media Building when he predicted an "implosion" in the industry because of this.
While promoting his latest movie, Bridge of Spies, the Associated Press asked him about this tentpole craze, specifically superhero movies and whether or not he thought they had a finite shelf life.
I do. I still feel that way. We were around when the Western died and there will be a time when the superhero movie goes the way of the Western. It doesn't mean there won't be another occasion where the Western comes back and the superhero movie someday returns. Of course, right now the superhero movie is alive and thriving. I'm only saying that these cycles have a finite time in popular culture. There will come a day when the mythological stories are supplanted by some other genre that possibly some young filmmaker is just thinking about discovering for all of us.
Before you get out the pitchforks and torches, comic book movie fans, understand that what Spielberg's saying is the truth. People have been predicting the bursting of the "superhero bubble" for years, and though it's not happened yet, that doesn't mean it won't. Like any fashion, trends in pop culture are cyclical, and that includes movie genres. That's not to say that superhero movies will ever completely go away, but they certainly will evolve away from the doom-and-gloom grit of DC or the capes and cowls primary colors of the Avengers. We're already seeing evidence of that, with R-rated superhero movies getting greenlit, other, non-superhero-based comic books getting adapted for the big screen, and Marvel making a specific point to keep diversifying the genres of their movies so as to keep things fresh.
What do you think about Spielberg's comments? I like that he ended on a message of hope, with the idea that there are new, young storytellers out there just waiting to bring us something we've never seen before.