Have Summer Blockbuster films ruined the industry?
Are event films all we have left?
Written By: Andrew Lowe
Date: 10th January, 2015
Films had been released before and called blockbusters, but these would normally be due to the amount of money that had been collected at the box office. With the release of Jaws, everything changed. The term blockbuster was redefined to be more focused on the large budgets and marketing of the films.
We now have the idea of event films, relying not so much on the quality of the stories, but relying on the marketing and merchandising to make it popular. The idea is that it will raise the profile of a film and would draw more people from the mainstream audience in. Also it makes more people aware of the studio and everyone involved.
The problem that has occurred though is studios became focused solely on making these event films, as it becomes their biggest money-spinners. This changed a bit in the 1990s though. With the advent of the micro-budget films, such as The Blair Witch Project, Slacker and Clerks, there was a growing focus on to more low budget films focused on characters and story. These allow for more of a return, and in the end more profit for the studio.
Although this approach has also backfired a great deal, two notable examples would be Godzilla and Last Action Hero. Both of these films bombed at the box office, but are still classified as blockbusters simply by the way they were marketed.
Thanks to this way of working, the studios focused more and more on producing films with the lowest common dominator that would appeal to general audiences. A director who seems to be very good at specialising in this is Michael Bay. Just about every film he has made is nothing but explosions, beautiful women, sunsets and big aircraft flying around. There is never any story (except maybe The Rock – that was a pretty cool film). The Transformer films are the best example of a film with no story and all action (especially the last one).
Gone are the days when a film could make money simply by actually being good. Where reviews and what people actually thought made a difference. When people were actually interested in seeing a good story with characters that were well thought out and acted by people who knew what they were doing. I personally think that this day is long gone, but one can hope that it comes back. If it does the industry will get worse before it gets better…