Hi, it's Tim. It’s not typically the Done Thing for us members of Team Experience to respond to each other, but Michael C’s Burning Question yesterday got me thinking especially hard, and coupled with Nathaniel’s mention of my own “why did this summer suck so hard?” jeremiad in his link round-up, it seemed impossible not to address what has suddenly become a hot topic: the death of the great American blockbuster, although with Iron Man 3 striding past $400 million, reports of the death of tentpole filmmaking are perhaps exaggerated.
That said, there’s clearly a problem, and as somebody who still hasn’t grown out of the desire to see robots punching explosions into bigger explosions, or what have you, I count myself among the aggrieved that big-budget Hollywood movies have been steadily turning into such paint-by-numbers, flavorless affairs, too finely-tuned for international consumption to have any real personality. But that’s not what I want to talk about – there’s been enough talk about that. I want to talk about the happy flip side of things, which is that for all that the impressive flops and under-performers, it’s hardly been a dolorous wasteland at the multiplex. In fact, I take the story of this summer to be a hopeful one: the future seems to be taking shape right in front of us, and it’s exactly the opposite of the panicked “Cinema is dying!” rants delivered by such men as the Stevens, Soderbergh & Spielberg, recently.
If I were to pick the single most impressive box-office story of the summer, it wouldn’t be Iron Man 3 hitting a figure that is, however large, not that big a deal for a movie with its kind of budget, especially one serving as de facto sequel to a film that destroyed very nearly every record that exists. I’d go with either The Great Gatsby or The Conjuring. [MORE...]