So it’s no secret that the summer blockbusters of 2019 have been underperforming at the box office this year, unless you’re a Marvel movie there’s a good chance you just ain’t makin’ the boatloads of easy cash off of eager hungry consumers like you used to!! So far we’ve had some big flops and under performers in theaters this summer, Hellboy, X-men: Dark Phoenix, Men In Black International, Godzilla: King of The Monsters, Shaft and I’m sure a few more flops to come.
It almost seems that after the extravaganza of ‘Avengers: Endgame’ people just ain’t that impressed with what Hollywood’s a pushin’! So what the heck gives here? I’ve got 5 reasons why I think people just ain’t buyin’ what big ol’ Hollywood’s selling!
Bland, Soulless, Predictable & Safe Storytelling
One thing I’ve noticed over the recent years is that these big ass summer blockbusters don’t bring much new to the table, instead of setting trends they now play off of what’s trending on social media etc to try and ensure they make maximum profit. It’s clear to audiences that they’re being marketed to and a lot of the themes we see in current movies feel a bit forced into the narrative. The plot lines feel predictable & safe, being very careful not to push the boundaries. However, nobody likes to feel pandered to, especially just to make a quick buck. Today Hollywood blockbusters feel a bit too calculated, like a Mcdonald’s happy meal version of a movie. It tastes good for a moment but doesn’t provide much real nourishment. These huge movies need to set trends again and take more risks. Most of these stories being told on the big screen now follow a rigid formula, it’s time to shake things up a bit and develop some compelling content that will blow audiences minds & keep them thinking long after they leave the theater.
Cinematic Politics & Social Media Movie Battles
Sure social media can be a cool way to connect with friends all over the world but it’s also caused a major political rift in movie fans, especially online. Everyone has a damn platform and everyone’s ready to state their opinion for the whole world to hear. The landscape of politics (here in the USA at least) is a gigantic mess, people are more than ready to call each other names and insult each others political beliefs any chance they can and then some. If you’ve noticed now there’re Youtube channels whose main focus is to tear down movies that they feel promote left leaning agendas and vice versa. Now we’ve got boycotts & petitions galore that are raging against movies from angry fans who think they’re promoting a threatening political views. We’ve got Hollywood directors & industry people arguing with angry fans on twitter about their movies and political leanings. When a movie’s released people immediately jump in to examine what side of the political spectrum it falls upon & then get bent out of shape about it on their social media platforms. Most claim they want to go to the movies to escape from the worries of today’s society, but people are so divided (and making good profit off that anger on their platforms) these days and I’m not seeing this trend dying down any time soon. At least until we get a new damn President!
Poorly Planned Franchise Reboots & Sequels
There’s a lot of bad, uninspired franchise sequels and reboots out there these days making their way into theaters. Hollywood is trying their hardest to capitalize off of nostalgia these days. It seems they think that if they simply slap say ‘Star Wars’ brand on a movie that it’s gonna mean butts in seats at the cinema. Not the case, people are clearly smarter these days when it comes to their choice of entertainment. Lots of franchises attempting to reboot with younger “hip” stars and leaving the old actors in the dust. I mean what really is ‘Men in Black’ without Will Smith? How about Star Wars with crusty old grumpy Luke Skywalker that barely lifts a finger in the movie? Or the Ghostbusters without any of the original characters starring in it to properly pass the torch? Hollywood is a bit clueless when it comes to how to execute these sequels, fans want to see a respectful portrayal of classic older characters who’re set to pass the torch to younger generation. Some of these reboots/sequels actually seem downright disrespectful to the original characters, sweeping them under the rug as quickly as possible to usher in the new characters. There needs to be a class taught to all of these clueless Hollywood executives on how to successfully pass the torch in a franchise. If you take a crap on a beloved franchise the fans of it will roast your ass on social media. The fans today have more power than ever and it’s a new angle that’s got Hollywood baffled.
Spectacle over Story
It’s kinda crazy now, almost every blockbuster movie franchise has been trying to set up a cinematic universe because they think they can reap the same benefits as the MCU does. However what most of these franchises get wrong is that they simply haven’t spent the time worldbuilding building the way Marvel has over the the last 10 plus years. Most of these failing franchises spend their movie’s runtime trying to set up the next sequels rather than telling a compelling story with top notch character development. Instead they simply litter the movie with a bunch of shiny, glossy CGI & flashy explosions convinced that lone is enough to entice movie goers to get all amped up for their planned spinoffs. Well listen up Hollywood, going to the theaters is expensive and people just aren’t as dumb as you seem to think they are, yeah we got options these days with all the streaming content out there. Movies better step it with their storytelling otherwise we’re gonna stay home! So many of these franchise are dumbed down to a level that just won’t entice the masses like they used to. We want original stories, not rehashed plots from previous movies in the franchise. Sure the spectacle can be fun, but there’s a certain over saturation of mind numbing movies out there now and yours better be more than just fluff. Stop trying to predict what the masses are going to eat up and spend some time writing stories we haven’t already heard. Most of the movies feel like they’ve been looking at what’s trending on twitter and writing a story around that. I’ll say it again, Hollywood needs to set the trends again rather than blindly trying to follow them.
Star Power Ain’t What it Used to Be
Back in the 1980’s blockbusters were a just as big a deal but they usually had one thing going for them that’s missing today-star power. People would rush to the movies just to see Stallone or Schwarzennegar do their thing. It was an event. Not so much today, the days of larger than life celebs has somehow died, putting one of the stars of say the Avengers franchise in one doesn’t automatically equally box office gold. I’m not sure what changed over the years but people are far less starstruck than ever before. This means Hollywood has got try even harder to put something out that feels fresh and original, a good cast is still important but it’s clearly NOT a deal breaker anymore.
I checked out ‘The Conjuring’ last night, a movie I was looking forward to for quite a while amidst this season of over blown shiny rubbery looking blockbusters. My verdict? It was a helluva lot of fun and was jam packed with scares a plenty and then more scares after that! I’ve gotta say I’m really kinda liking James Wan as of late, the guy who I originally considered a hack, mainly for my loathing of movies like Saw and Death Sentence. I’ve got to admit though the guy, though not pulling out anything ultra original has pretty much mastered the Ghost Story / haunting horror genre. I was a huge fan of Insidious and this latest offering is just as good if not perhaps an even more solid haunt flick.
Based this time on the “true” story of Ed & Lorraine Warren who were demonologists back in the late 1960’s and 70’s and their most bizarre case which involved the haunting of The Perron Family in their new home in Harrisville, Rhode Island. From the get go you can tell it’s going to be one heck of a creepy ride as the films opening sequences, which involve once again a creepy ass doll (I love creepy dolls!!) foreshadow what’s yet to come later. This is a great back to basics summer horror/suspense film which doesn’t rely on explicit gore, green screens or video gamey CG to get the crowd’s blood pumping. It relies on what you don’t see(yet many times what you do!) to craft it’s chills. It had me squirming in my seat and at times wanting to cover my eyes. It’s well acted, well shot and the special effects are perfectly executed in a way that makes you feel as if you’re right there in the creepy house with the rest of the family.
It’d have been a damn near perfect viewing experience had it not been for the guy in front of us who for some reason felt like he had to narrate the scares for the whole theater, somehow feeling as if perhaps everyone in the theater had actually paid to come listen to him attempt to be a stand up comedian while a tense horror flick played alongside him. Uggh…perhaps I’ll see it again with out the annoying live commentary, however seeing it for the first time won’t ever be as good as the scares run rampant in this one and you never know exactly when the shit is yet again going to hit the fan. It certainly will make you think twice about playing hide and seek! Now however, what I really wonder is how much of this story was actually true? This film delved pretty heavily into the Catholic church and the power of religion to ward off evil spirits so hopefully the real story bares some real resemblance to what we saw onscreen and Wan wasn’t trying to convert it’s audience.
I really recommend this one if you’re looking for something different this summer. It may not be the most original idea to hit the screen but it’s easily one of the best movies out in theaters thus far this summer. Take a chance and test your nerves and if you got a loud mouth who can’t refrain from thinking he’s part of the MST3K crew make sure to creep up slowly behind his seat and scare the bejeezus out of him, then quietly tell him to shut the fuck up!
And here are a couple clips of the real Ed and Lorraine Warren!