Are you charging out the door to the latest Transformers or Fast and the Furious sequel? If so, you’re in the minority. According to The Atlantic, Hollywood has a bad movie problem. Box office returns for summer blockbusters just seem to shrink every year. In the US, the market is practically gone, but the foreign box office is where the big money’s at. Studios shrug if Americans don’t buy a ticket, because that same movie will have a thundering blockbuster weekend in China.
But now it seems even foreign markets are getting sick of action sequels. Meanwhile in the US, the big ticket sellers were indie efforts with low budgets and original ideas: Get Out and Split have been two of the highest-grossing box office draws of the year, the product of two Hollywood outsiders. And could audiences finally be paying attention to critics? Last year’s Baby Driver got rave reviews from critics and viewers in seats, as was the case with this year’s The Beguiled.
This is causing a lot of executive grumbling at the big studios. The usual culprits, like Netflix and home piracy, can’t be blamed forever, because what about those indie tickets that are selling just fine? It could just be that the era of the summer action blockbuster might finally be croaking its last.
One clue might be found in the comic book store – don’t pretend you don’t know where to find one! Listen to the chatter among the grown-up comic fans, and you’ll seldom hear the movies mentioned. Despite the endless stream of superhero reboots, comic fans only seem to attend movies out of a sense of duty. It’s been a long time since Tim Burton’s Batman generated worldwide excitement. Tom Cruise grappling with an Egyptian zombie isn’t going to make it up to them, either.