Saturday, May 19, 2012

What Hollywood Will Learn from Summer 2012

I’m going to pause for a moment in my ongoing analysis of Inception to talk about this summer’s big studio movies. I was looking through one of those summer movie preview articles and it struck me that there are a few questions Hollywood is looking to answer this summer:

Is there any market for big budget treatment of classic fairy tales?
After Red Riding Hood and Mirror, Mirror both underwhelmed, Snow White and the Huntsman is probably the last chance for this genre. If it fails, we won’t see another fairy tale movie for quite a while.

Are board games a good source of movie ideas?
The industry has largely decided the answer to this is “no” already. Most of the big board game adaptations have been shelved (or in the case of Ouija, reconceived as low budget movies). If Battleship should succeed, minds may change. If it doesn’t, no more Hollywood money for the board game industry. (We should know the answer to this by Sunday)

How soon is too soon?
There have been many successful franchise reboots in Hollywood history, though most have been many years after the previous movie. (The James Bond and The Fast and the Furious series being notable exceptions.) If the Spider-Man and Jason Borne reboots do well this summer, expect to see a post-Christopher Nolan Batman and a new Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone within five years.

Is U.S. box office really back?
Last year was awful at the box office, and ticket sales have been declining for over a decade. But the first quarter of this year was flat out fantastic and The Avengers kicked off the summer with an enormous bang. The question is whether this represents an actual turnaround or just the exceptional success of Hunger Games, The Vow, The Lorax and The Avengers. If box office is still up come September, Hollywood will be breathing a big sigh of relief. If not, studios should start looking to make drastic changes in their business strategies.

It will be interesting to see how these things play out. I have my own theories – I’m guessing Snow White and the Huntsman and Battleship will bomb, and that Spider-Man and Borne will be modestly successful (leaving the reboot question open). And of course regardless of what happens, Hollywood has a long record of learning all the wrong lessons from movie success or failure.


IN OTHER NEWS: Preproduction has begun on my short film. Check out the website and Facebook page. I’m doing a mini-blog in both locations where I discuss some of the technical things I’ve learned so far.

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