A director is hired to make a big budget studio film. He/she is given 150 million dollars to make it happen. Halfway through the production, an incident occurs that has them begging for another 50-75 million dollars. The studio succumbs to their issue and grants them the money they are requesting. Although over-budget, the studio is finally happy with the product produced. The film is released to the world and audiences around the globe despise it. Opening weekend passes and the film grosses over 50 million dollars due to hype. The second weekend sees a 20 million dollars return and the film's theatrical run drastically dwindles. Even though it was done to the studios liking, they had money on their mind more than anything else. Is this a real scenario? Somewhere yes, I am sure it is. This is made up to show that Hollywood produces products more than caring about it's stories nowadays. Do you agree? Is cinema slowly on it's way out?
Don't get me wrong, I love going to the movies every week and seeing every new release, whether it is good or bad, but it seems as though comic book films, video game adaptations, or novels being put to film are the talk of the town, and nothing else. Sure, recent films like "Captain America: Civil War" or "The Jungle Book" were great, but they were based on already existing material. How about little gems like Richard Linklater's "Everybody Wants Some" or "The Lobster?" Those are two of my personal favourite films this year, and while they are both loved and adored by critics, average moviegoers probably do not even realize they exist, which reflects their theatrical attendance tenfold. Sure, these two films are unconventional, but so was the recent phenomenon of "Deadpool," which surprised everyone with it's crushing numbers at the box office. People seem to be viewing whatever seems to be the new trend, whether it is good or bad.
Everybody knows that "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" was the biggest trend of last year, but what also took everyone by surprise was how large the box office return of "Jurassic World" was. Mainly do to the name recognition, everyone flocked to see the release of "Jurassic World." It became the talk of the town, even if it did have mixed reviews. Everyone was talking about it, so everyone saw it. Personally, I think "Jurassic World" is a very fun film and I was one of the ones who saw it twice in theatres, but that is aside from the point. I see every film that comes out if I can, which separates me from the average moviegoer. Seeing a film due to the fact that everyone is hyping it up is ridiculous. If a film interests you, you should see it regardless of what everyone says. Other examples are "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" or "Frozen" from a couple of years ago. Both of them had a very significant box office return, but for very different reasons.
"Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" was viewed so many times due to the fact that everyone wanted to see a film with Superman and Batman in it. "Frozen" was such a huge success due to the fact that Disney produced it and kids would not stop talking about it. Sure, "Frozen" was an original film, and so was one of Pixar's more recent films "Inside Out." Both made crazy amounts of money and were both original. That is the thing that needs to happen continuously in Hollywood, but sadly does not.
Original films only make money when it is being produced by a very well respected studio, and even then, very few are huge successes. In 2014 when the Tom Cruise-lead "Edge of Tomorrow" was released, it was viewed by a pretty large audience, but it did not warrant enough money to make the sequel they had in mind. Yes, one is still being talked about, but due to the box office numbers, they are surely taking their time. The biggest issue today in cinema, is that there is so much product, that nobody is able to tell the good from the bad.
Sometimes, when a studio is contractually obligated to make a film, they are less worried about the final product and more about the return they make from it. Now, this is one of the only examples I have about fans who knew when to stay away. Last year when "Fantastic Four" was released as a reboot of the franchise. The director took to twitter to tweet this:
When a studio becomes your boss instead of your friend, bad things can happen. "Fantastic Four" was the prime example of when a studio should have sucked it up and handed the property back to the original owners (ie. Marvel Studios). Making a mere 167 million dollars worldwide on a 120 million dollar budget is no success, especially when marketing probably took them over that profit margin. Film has always been subjective and for that reason, people like things or dislike things more than others. That is how it has always been and how it will always be. The real question is, how can filmmakers get people to see more quality films?
The Oscars have been widely viewed for many, many years. When a film is nominated it tends to be viewed more in the theatre. That is proven fact; However, depending on the film, more audiences tend to flock to the ones with the most well known or most nominated actor from previous years. With the release of last years "The Revenant," everyone was talking about how amazing Leonardo Dicaprio's performance was and how real the film felt. What they didn't realize is that they just wanted him to finally win the Oscar. Films like "Titanic" or "The Wolf of Wall Street" have made Leo one of the biggest stars on the planet, and people can't wait to see more of him. This is for a different discussion, but films like "Spotlight", "Brooklyn," or "Room" did not receive a large audience due to the fact that nobody recognized the actors/actresses. Will this ever end?
Sure, Netflix and other streaming services will eventually rule the cinematic world, and they are great for new talent in the industry, but there will always the special feeling of going to the theatre with your friends, buying a big bag of popcorn and sitting back to enjoy the newest flicks. That feeling will never go away, unless people decide to keep viewing the weak films, just due to their popularity. If all of these things continue, film will eventually burn out, leaving Netflix the only available service for quality content. If studios can no longer afford hundreds of millions of dollars to produce the blockbusters they want to make, cinema will slowly be subdued to streaming services. This is not how the art form should be known. Do you you agree? How dos you think we can fix the industry? Do you like the fact that Netflix could be the primary in a decade or so from now? Netflix is great, but I sure hope it doesn't amount to that.
A Film Lover