And here we are again, the next article in a slew of articles this summer lamenting the demise of Hollywood and its blockbusters because of a few movie flops (The Lone Ranger, After Earth, White House Down, etc.). Fortunately, this one does seem a bit more logical than the rest. Let’s tackle it…
She makes a very valid point that there seems to be this notion that any potentially big film has to have a budget well north of $100 million. It’s like the point Bill Simmons has repeatedly made about NBA salaries; you should only pay players what they are worth, so low-level guys ought not to be getting signed for excessive contracts. Moreover, it’s understandable to offer those big budgets for a film with a proven star in it (like her example of Pitt in World War Z) or if it’s part of a proven franchise. The point here is that it’s proven. Certainly, original films have their place, but they ought not to be getting such outlandish budgets unless backed by a proven — there’s that word again — director or team (like Nolan’s Inception or Cameron’s Avatar).
However, flops, as she even points out, have been a part and parcel with summer blockbuster fare for years. There’s always a few a year, but here’s the thing; most industry and box office experts anticipated the aforementioned flops from this year flopping. Meanwhile, the franchise fare and the one’s that were expected to do great, did great and there were even some surprises (World War Z, The Conjuring).
It’s hard to predict the future of media and technology and how they converge. So, who knows what the Hollywood film business model will look like in a year, two years, five years and so on. Yet, it should be obvious to anyone that closely follows the box office and the industry that Hollywood is doing just fine. Again, even as she points out, those films considered flops will still likely make their money back (and even a profit) through others means than just the domestic theater revenue stream.
With that said, could summer 2015 be the tipping point for those saying Hollywood’s blockbuster film days are over? There’s some legitimacy to that because consider what’s coming out:
Avengers 2, Jurassic Park IV, a new Pirates of the Caribbean, a new James Bond, Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Warcraft, Finding Dory, Fantastic Four, Star Wars: Episode VII, Batman Vs. Superman, Avatar 2, among a slew of others.
When I said there’s some legitimacy there, I mainly mean to the point of “over-saturation.” That’s a lot of competition spread throughout the year and much of it crammed into the three-four month summer block. With fans divided, will they pick their spots? Avoid some movies? See them all? Who knows?
Any way you want to look at it, 2015 in film is going to be exciting to watch. And I’m just talking about it from a nerdy box office analysis perspective…