2012 is on the horizon. Are we going to go see movies then? Ben Fritz and Amy Kaufman of the Los Angeles Times reported that this past year audiences barely went out to the movies. Quantitatively, to the tune of a 25% decrease in “multiples,” industry speak for “the final box-office take compared to a movie’s opening weekend ticket sales.” Their words. (Source.)
There’s a myriad of potential culprits to blame. Piracy? Sure. On demand services like Netflix? Of course. Rising ticket prices? I’d wager. Other things to do? Well, I haven’t read Ghosts of Manhattan yet. Bad movies?
Yeah, of course. But aside from bad movies, it’s just the changing of the times and an industry still trying to figure out how to do business. I went to the Red State screening at Radio City Music Hall this past March, a wonderful New York experience knowing director Kevin Smith was in attendance as well as the cast for a Q&A (that kind of went sour, unfortunately). The film, although marked as a departure from Smith’s other work, is especially known for pursuing a different model of distribution. Smith toured the film across the country before releasing it on home media. (The story surrounding this was a story all on its own.) Mind you, Smith didn’t create “four-walling” but for such a “branded” director it’s certainly a bold step.
I’ve went on multiple tirades concerning new media and its impact on the film and entertainment industry, be it here or with disinterested members of the opposite sex over coffee at Au Bon Pain. This situation isn’t anything new, but I fear its continuing effects is forcing me to ask this question: Will we even go to the movies next year?
Of course we will. Theaters will not die overnight. The effects are being felt now, but theaters are still making enough to operate and they will in the coming year. Come back in 2032 and I may say something different, however. Besides, I’ve got a lot to look forward to in 2012. The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Expendables 2, The Avengers, Men In Black 3, G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation… wait, wow. All of these are sequels or adaptations.
Now we have a problem.
I don’t doubt the attracting power Batman or Iron Man, but this past year was overwhelmed with sequels, and it shouldn’t take long to connect the dots.
How much longer will we go with sequels, adaptations, and reboots? I’ve talked about artistic reinterpretations before, but primarily in the context of defending an interpretation. Hollywood didn’t “kill” your childhood/favorite book. But that argument has nothing to do with the intense frequency of such releases. I’m ashamed to admit I’m looking forward to these movies and nothing original even if I often campaign for more original material. Perhaps my little time as a college student prevented me from watching movie trailers (and, movies, for that matter) but I do wish I could truly practice what I preach.
Although, come on. G.I. Joe 2 looks pretty awesome.
Sorry, Mr. Fritz. Sorry, Ms. Kaufman. Sorry, everyone else.
Catwoman promotional picture taken from ScreenRant. Sorry about that too.