The other day I was trying to figure a fresh way of addressing the same old megaplex malaise that the film industry has painted itself into a corner with. The domination, I mean, of superhero flicks, cheap horror, dumb comedies, family fantasies, romcoms and girl-power fables, etc. I’m boring myself by just repeating this. Not counting, of course, (a) the occasional middle-ground surprises, (b) the award-season films that are the oxygen of my life, (c) indie flicks and (d) the social realism and smart adult crime dramas that are pretty much owned by cable and streaming.
Then five days ago a numbers-and-trend analysis by TimStarz04 came along that analogizes Hollywood’s superhero-fantasy obsession with the 1% choke-hold that has increasingly controlled the U.S. economy over the last dozen or so years. The essay lasts 16 minutes (an eternity in the ADD realm) but is worth watching. No brilliant solutions and maybe a bit too much cynicism, but this is definitely the way things are right now.
Portion of 5.25 Weekly Standard summary by Jonathan V. Last: “The big movie studios are undergoing something like the same stresses the American middle-class has experienced over the last two decades: They’re seeing radical increases in the cost of living (for them actor salaries and marketing costs), increased competition from globalization and cheap labor (in the form of cable TV, internet streaming services, and amateur videomakers), yet they’re suffering from stagnant income (meaning that total movie revenues are more or less flat).
“The analogy goes a step further: Just as America has witnessed rising income inequality, the same phenomenon has hit Hollywood movies. Movie revenues aren’t growing much, but a smaller and smaller percentage of movies are claiming a larger and larger share of the total pie. Which movies are the 1 percent in this analogy? Comic book movies.
“And so, the argument goes, at some point the studio system is going to blow up because its model simply isn’t sustainable and — more importantly — because the executives in charge of the business haven’t been capable of figuring out how to evolve with the market.”
Sorry for being late (Prague submersion, travel to Belgrade, downshift attitude) but better late than never.