Summer after summer I find myself caring less and less about these summer films coming to theaters. This year (2016) has been the nail in the coffin so far to my questions and theories and I wish I was wrong. The summer blockbuster has been diminished and tainted all over and it’s showing in the quality of the films and the lack of money these films are making. Recently, there was data on the summer box office overall for this year, and it will be one of the lower years in awhile, less than 2015 at least.
The summer blockbuster became what it is (or was?) when Steven Spielberg made Jaws. I think most of us know that and since then the blockbuster has grown in size as has the money the movies garner, but beyond superhero movies growing from the new millennium to now, the other films released in the summer haven’t done it for me or for too many other die hard film fans. Am I crazy?
Whether these movies have large or small budgets, we just want good movies, and assuming the marketing and talent around it are promising we will support these films, but after stinkers like Independence Day: Resurgence and now the things I’m hearing about films like The Legend of Tarzan, I am really hurt. I have a friend who jokingly says that “Oscar baity” movies are my type of films and I laugh, but also have to reel it back and realize why that is. Sure, I just love really well crafted, award worthy movies, but I love my action-packed tent-pole films as well. It doesn’t help that they’ve all been more or less shit, but I want to like them.
I say this in nearly every review or article anymore, but I think it’s becoming a truer notion than ever, budget means nothing. The good movies that came out this year excluding Captain America: Civil War were average budgets or at least budgets we knew those films would make back, but as I repeat myself again, learn from Deadpool and don’t be afraid to tone it down a bit with these budgets and allow the freedom to make these movies with the talented film makers you hire. If anything, just give these big budget films some substance rather than a gratuitous amount of style because (Will Smith voice) damn.
Maybe we’re experiencing a small flux and change in the winds with the summer blockbuster. They’re beginning sooner than summer time months anymore and the hits are coming in the first quarter of the year and the third quarter of the year oddly enough. Maybe it’s time the studios go back to making quality blockbusters or they just focus on making good films with bigger budgets and let the rest flow organically, but until then, I’m calling this #TheYearSummerFilmsDied.