Blockbusters Gone Bad

white-house-down-wallpapers-hdThe summer blockbuster season is all but done.

Man of Steel and World War Z did well.

But, White House Down, which cost $150 million to make, had made around $72 million domestically the last time I checked.

The Lone Ranger was a huge disappointment, which Disney admits could signify a loss of 190 million.

Even with Will Smith and family on board, After Earth didn’t fare well at all.

And while the blockbusters were playing like horror films when it came to the box-office, a surprise summertime horror flick, The Conjuring, opened at No. 1, while big budget R.I.P.D., came in seventh on its opening weekend.

So what’s the problem here?  The studio heads are lamenting the fact that there are just too many mega movies.  If so, whose fault is that?  And is that really the problem?  Can there really be too many multi-million dollar films where aliens or monsters of some sort threaten mankind with yet another Armageddon?

Do we just have too much of a good thing?

Is oversaturation of the sublime the problem we’re dealing with?

Probably not.

But if that’s not the issue, what is?

Could it be that spending hundreds of millions in an effort to court teenage boys a bad business move?  That can’t be it. I mean you can’t find a more dependable, loyal audience, right?

It makes perfect business sense to stop making romantic comedies and lose the female audience in order to focus on making yet one more cookie-cutter, superhero machines-gone-wild-and-the-world-almost-comes-to-a-catastrophic-end film.  I mean why should the studios care about female viewers?  They don’t buy anyway.

Hollywood is like a gambler who keeps going back to the same table remembering that he hit it big there in the past, which must guarantee it will happen again – if he just keeps playing the same way long enough.   That’s always a good business approach.

Moreover studio heads are obsessed with being cool, even at the expense of a practical efficient business model.  The over 40 crowd isn’t cool.  The film execs find that a boring demographic, so they ignore that sector during the big bang summer months.

The industry could always consider diversity, targeting a number of smaller niche markets with reasonably budgeted projects.  Perhaps smaller films with a compelling storyline and roles in which actors can actually act. Perhaps character driven projects with a strong narrative.  There could be a number of smaller projects where the risk is spread and the market bull’s-eye was broadened.

But what fun would that be?  No CGI, nothing blowing up or crashing.  Best to bet the house on four or five big roles of the dice.

Granted it’s not just the huge summer films that are the issue, costs are spiraling out of control across the board.  For example,  the 1974 Great Gatsby cost approximately 8 million while the remake is said to have run over 120 million.  Of course that makes sense, because the remake was at least 112 million dollars better.   Right?  If this isn’t a compelling argument for taking up reading, I don’t know what is.

But, I digress.  Forget Gatsby.  There were no aliens or natural disasters anywhere in that movie.  No one blew up the White House or swallowed a city.  Why even make such an unrealistic project?  Some people never learn.

Never fear, next summer will arrive with a blockbuster bang, because… well… because it worked, once upon a time.

Copyright © Anthony Mora Communications 2013

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Categories: Entertainment, Film

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