Goodbye To The Blockbuster
Jaws, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Batman, Spider-Man, Transformers, Mission Impossible. For the past three decades the Hollywood blockbusters have rolled up at the height of summer, the tentpole releases that drive families from hot streets into cold cinemas.
But now there are strong indictions that the time of the Hollywood blockbuster is over. The action-packed CG-laden epics are bombing, while smaller titles are adding up a hit aggregate. In the 2010 box office charts, big-money pix like Prince of Persia, Clash of the Titans and Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood have proven disastrous. The US Memorial Day holiday, traditionally one of the most lucrative weekends in the domestic box office calendar, was the worst in 17 years, and the future looks worse.
What’s happened? As in 1968, a year in which Hello Dolly and Easy Rider went head to head, the studios once more feel lost and out of step with public taste – the result is that they’re chucking everything at the wall to see what sticks. Transformers 2, the film equivalent of staring into your cutlery drawer for two hours, felt like the breaking point. With nowhere left to go, could we perhaps head back to a cinema where involving, exciting stories are told? Not just yet, it seems – the Hollywood lineup of toy franchises, infantilised hyper-coloured animations and remakes is set to continue unabated.