By Mason Hansen.
There is nothing quite like the months leading up to the summer movie blockbusters. The anticipation grows and fans can’t wait. However, we have reached a day in age where the theatre is not what it once was. There was a time when people would flock to the theatre for anything that peaked their interest. Whether it be the old school drive-ins or the progression to the modern cinema, people came in droves.
However, since then things have changed greatly, and the landscape is not what is once was. Although people still rush to the theatre to see the huge additions to their favourite sagas, it isn’t always a guarantee. Not to mention some movie viewers often disregard other films. Not every movie lover is this way, and by no means is this a bad thing, but it is the way the movie experience has turned to, and it isn’t hard to see why.
If we take a look at the top summer films for this year, the majority are apart of a much grander franchise. For example: Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man: Far From Home, all separate films, each most likely looking at high grossing amounts, yet all are under the MCU banner. The MCU alone has plenty of its share of die hard fans who go to the theatre no matter what, being huge fans of the universe created. In other words, these films are practically guaranteed box office dominators until the next one.
In fact, the majority of films coming out for the remainder of 2019 are additions to a much larger series, such as Shazam for the DCEU, the final two additions of the FOX X-Men series, Toy Story 4, It: Chapter 2, Terminator: Dark Fate, of course Star Wars: Episode 9 and the list goes on and on. The thing about these flicks, is because they are apart of a well known series, studios figure, and figure correctly, that they all have their share of fans who go just for the title name, meaning a profit will most likely be made no matter how well the actual product is. That’s not saying this films are or will be bad, but it means they are less concerned with how it comes together, instead just that it does.
To compare, in 1987 franchises were being started such as Predator, RoboCop and Lethal Weapon. Sequels were also arriving such as Beverly Hill Cop II, Timothy Dalton’s first Bond, JAWS: The Revenge, and chances were being taken such as Wall Street, The Running Man, Full Metal Jacket, etc.
In short, the point trying to be made is studios don’t take gambles anymore. New franchises don’t get started, old ones just get added to. Future cult classics are few and far between. The gamble movies are often done through Indie Film makers, making them not even gamble movies but passion projects. These movies like ‘Whiplash’ and ‘Enemy’, to name a few, break out to audiences thanks to their reach of critical success. People get tired of the franchises, especially since films today are made too often just to lead to even more films, E.g. ‘Fantastic Beasts’ and ‘Jurassic World’.
This is where streaming services are taking the bull by the horns. Services like Netflix already have Cinema’s beat because it takes little effort to watch what they have to offer. Just turn on your TV, sign in, and thousands of movies and TV shows are right there. Now, with the addition of small budget and large budget movies to these services, they are meeting all markets and giving larger studios and cinema as a whole a run for their money.
Directors like Tarantino and Nolan still carry a lot of weight for their original non franchise movies like ‘Inception’ or the upcoming ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ giving a point towards the Cinema, but Netflix is countering with Scorsese and his big budget picture ‘The Irishman’, along with plenty of their other original content.
This brings up the debate on what happens next. There are many different ways the battle can play out between cinema and streaming. The final blow is still most likely decades away, but it definitely is unavoidable. This generation and the I’m sure the next prefer the comfort of their home and the ease of having to do so little to get content. Sure, going to the theatre isn’t running a marathon in comparison, but just look at food. Delivery for fast food has grown and continues to grow when just a few decades ago it wasn’t even in existence.
I’m sure there will eventually be a time where the cinema is no longer, and instead people will order movies via various streaming services or do it through your provider. For the time being though, we can enjoy films on the big screen. There isn’t really anything like the theatre experience, but the movie studios have to inject something new into what they put out, before more movies like Solo: A Star Wars Story and Justice League become a common trend instead of an outlier, leaving the streaming services to reign supreme.
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