There will be, and forever will be, mass amounts of bad movies, although, over the past 20 years, there has been an increasing number of movies that aren’t exactly bad, but aren’t exactly good either, a safe movie, Simon Williams argues that the bubble of passable movies is about to pop.
When a movie goer goes to the cinema, they’re expected to know the backstory of the film they’re about to watch, roughly who it’s by, who is in it and what type of move it is. The reason they go to the cinema is very broad, some go to watch a movie they want to see, some go on dates, and others follow hype from their friends and family about the next “block-buster”. But this is where the problem arises, when have films gotten so mind-numbingly boring and repetitive? They’re not exactly poorly made movies, they’re just passable.
Nowadays, we’re completely oversaturated with sequels and intertextual driven “universe” films, thus making a large share of the market typically films very alike. Alike in the sense that it’s something you’re used to seeing, you know what’s going to happen, you know how it’s probably going to end, and you even know there’s a damn sequel to the film you’re watching when it only came out a week ago. For me, it’s no longer frustrating to see a movie and it to turn out bad, I could even count it as a breath of fresh air, something more memorable. This is because passable movies are boring, they’re heavily forgettable and all so too alike with its counterpart movies that follow practically the same storyline and have the same tropes as itself, yet even being made by completely different studios and directors. It’s a celebration of mediocrity when Disney can practically remake a movie with nothing specifically new added to it other than the tag “live action”, and flip a profit quintuple of what they budgeted on it. The problem does not lie with the studios as much as it does the audience, the films just sell.
Although Hollywood is starting to run into problems. Studios officially declare the budgets on the productions, but it is to mind with the oversaturation of film, a mass amount of money is also added to the advertisement budget. Star Wars has been an important depiction of modern cinema consumerism as it entitled itself as one of the very first “blockbusters”. A film series too big to fail? A film series so rooted into our media culture? The latest Star Wars movie completely bombed in the box office., so did the reboot of power-rangers. Of course, both movies are just two examples plucked from a small handful of unsuccessful films, but they are also considered very prominent in pop culture during in this day and age. Films do often bomb within the film industry, sometimes certain bets fail to even earn half of the budget back, but what I find different now is the mass amount of superhero movies and sci-fi sequels. Usually the market fluctuates from one fad to another, like how audiences became interested and then disinterested with zombie movies within the span of 10 years. It’s a ticking time-bomb until superhero movies die off, and it’s worrying for the distributors as I feel they’ve put too many eggs in one basket.
The amount cinema admissions hasn’t really changed in the past 10 years, the total amount of admissions fluctuating between the lowest 157m tickets sold, and 173m tickets sold. But with growing consumerism, a tougher market, and more money being put into films, surely it would be show in the statistics? The idea of going to the cinema weekly with your friends or family is dying off, whilst the average cost to produce movies almost doubling since 2007, causing the price of tickets going up. But the problem isn’t with the price of the tickets or the change of social culture, it’s the way people are commonly consuming media in the most recent years, with the market of digital video consumption growing a whopping 800% since 2006. It’s because it’s just simply easier to watch a film in the comfort of your own home using a film & TV subscription service such as Netflix or Amazon Prime. Another topic causing problem for films nowadays is the brilliant boom of high quality and equally highly funded “blockbuster-esque” TV shows, which actually share two thirds of the online video market in 2016. So, if the market for movies is getting tougher and tougher, why won’t Hollywood change its attitude when it comes to making movies?
I speak for myself here, and I believe I speak for numerous amounts of cinephiles and millennial’s when I say I have genuinely became disinterested with going to the cinema to see most films, especially when most of them are reboots, sequels or just one big messy ball of “intertextuality” within the films “universe”. This is because I could easily save money and watch them in the comfort of my own home, for a fraction of the price. If the film consumption trends stay stagnant, while the consumption of tv and online media increases, cinema will be left behind. For cinema to stay prominent within media, Hollywood must adapt and make new and more interesting titles to bring the next generation into the cinema. Eventually push will come to shove, and the formulaic bubble of producing movies will pop.