July 22, 2013

A Summer of Big Budget Bombs--6 And Counting

A little over a month ago, Steven Spielberg aptly predicted the arc of the summer movies of 2013, saying that "maybe half a dozen mega budget movies are going to come crashing to the ground." Well, half way through the summer, six 100M-plus studio films (including the 250M LONE RANGER) have done exactly that as reported in today's NY TIMES.  You would have thought studios got the audience memo two years ago when INCEPTION, an original screenplay, was the big hit and must-see film of the summer. However, the sequels and quasi-sequels keep coming. 

The article makes an interesting point of how so-called original films like PACIFIC RIM feel a little too familiar (see TRANSFORMERS) and thus audiences are staying away. Of course, some of the summers biggest surprise hits were movies with modest budgets like NOW YOU SEE ME which broke out into true blockbuster-style grosses themselves and, nearly 2 months later, are still playing around the country. 

In Spielberg's widely reported remarks, he also predicted that the pileup of big-budget losses will change the paradigm of how studios make movies. Many have predicted this for some time but maybe with losses that could approach maybe a billion dollars by the end of the summer, the studios may actually change their game this time and look for new movies. One of my favorite memories growing up was the landmark summer of 1982, with so many amazing films (and yes, a couple sequels too). It was a fun filmgoing feast that has not been matched in recent years. Maybe 2014 (or more likely 2015) will be different.