The death of the film industry


Disney, Universal and 20th Century Fox are in the process of killing anything good left in the film industry.

No longer are good stories valued above all else; instead, the movies that get the green light are those that have the most sparkles, fizz, whiz and pop. The films with the biggest budgets are those that have the biggest potential for sequels or merchandise.

Basically, today’s biggest films are just advertisements for the studio’s next big flick, toy, game, or in the case of some children’s films, underwear.

It’s true. Have you seen Disney’s movies? Or, at the very least, the studios it owns? Let’s think. Marvel Studios, Pixar and Lucasfilm. There are more, but those are the biggest ones. And guess what they all have in common?

All three studios produce films that generate enormous amounts of merchandise, which ranges from action figurines to comic books to clothing to who knows what. And even if the movie only pulls in an eight figure number at the box office, the merchandise ensures that the movie will continue to serve its purpose long after theatres stop screening it.

To be fair to Disney, other media conglomerates also participate in this activity, although they do make significantly fewer films with as much merchandising potential as Disney does. (Well, except for Universal’s Despicable Me.)

But it’s not just that anymore. Because so much money, state of the art technology, famous directors and superstars are thrown at these movies, people come out in droves to watch them. And okay, they’re not terrible, but they’re not exactly jaw-dropping either. Other than a minor groups of fanboys (and girls), you probably won’t really see anyone putting these films on their list of ten best or “movies you need to see before you die”.

What I’m trying to say is that in their effort to churn out merchandise traps, studios fail to create great plots. (Like The Force Awakens.) As I’ve said previously about films: if you want to make something amazing, you’ll have to venture past known waters. You’ll either succeed, or more likely, like George Lucas, fail spectacularly, but that’s part of creativity. (Anyway, like any other creative worker, scriptwriters aren’t required to turn every idea they have into films. That would be a disaster.)

And then there’s the sequel industry, for the directors who’ve forgotten that they don’t work for television. Here’s several things to bemoan: first, sequels almost never live up to their predecessors, and second, even so, people come out in the millions to watch them.

Just look at the highest grossing films from 2015. Eight of the ten highest are sequels. Among those are a James Bond movie, a Star Wars movie, a Mission Impossible movie, a Jurassic Park reboot, a Fast and the Furious movie, and a Marvel Cinematic Universe film. In fact, the only two movies that weren’t part of a series were Inside Out and The Martian. And let’s be honest, Inside Out had a zillion merchandising opportunities, not to mention that Pixar is considering a sequel.

Oh, and then there’s three universes trying to outdo each other: Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, the Star Wars universe, and DC universe. All three have basically turned their movies into ads or trailers for their next movies, with characters that serve no purpose in the current story making an appearance just because their movie is coming out in a couple of months. (Like Spiderman in Captain America: Civil War.) To be blunt, it’s gotten stupid.

But you know what I hate most about the new generation of movies? Films that are based off toys, games, or apps, which serve no purpose other than to create jobs and celebrate how far CGI has come. Have you heard of The Angry Birds Movie that came out May 6th? So far, it’s gotten a whopping 6.3 on IMDb. The only movie in this genre that made it to the general public was The Lego Movie, which I didn’t really like, but I guess other people did.

Okay. My sweeping pronouncements earlier might have been exaggerated. The movie industry isn’t dying as much as I said. There are still great films coming out, like Bridge of Spies, or Interstellar. (I would list more, but those are the few off the top of my head.)

However, the fact still stands that of the top ten movies, only one is neither part of a series nor a giant merchandise trap, and this goes to show how far the industry has come in serialising everything.

But like I’ve said earlier, movies are still entertainment, and I don’t make it a point of telling others that their taste for movies are stupid. If you enjoy watching ads, by all means, watch them.

As for me? I’ll just wait until the industry gets its act together and increases the quality of their storytelling.

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