The problem with movies in summer 2017 isn’t that people don’t want to go, that it is too expensive to go or any other of the myriad of reasons you have heard thrown around (netflix, millennials, etc.). The problem is, there just aren’t very many good movies out. Period.
I am a movie-goer. I literally go to a movie EVERY week. It is our weekly “date night” where we catch a movie and have dinner. Hollywood doesn’t have to do much to convince me to go see a movie, I’ve already PLANNED to go see one. But something strange has happened this year… There’s nothing to see. I know that’s crazy, when they are releasing 3-5 movies per week, but where are the ideas, where are the movies I want to see. Even more so, where are the movies I am DYING to see. That movie just hasn’t existed this summer.
Case in point, the month of May is normally one of the best release month’s of the year. This May we had Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (which I really wanted to see, and did), Baywatch, Pirates 5, Snatched, King Arthur, Baywatch and Diary of a Wimpy Kid all hitting theaters in the month. Guardians 1 was a great movie and it made me excited for the sequel and audiences agreed with me. But everything else was just another sequel (Pirates, Diary) or a remake no one asked for (Baywatch, Arthur). Snatched at least was an original idea, albeit it looked terrible (Amy Schumer is not the female lead Hollywood needs right now and I wasn’t interested in seeing a wax figure portraying Goldie Hawn for 2 hours).
The problem is that a movie like Pirates 5 is yet another middling blockbuster with no story to tell. I truly think Pirates 1 is one of the 10 best “Blockbuster” movies of all time. It was funny, action-packed, interesting and FUN. Every movie since has been Johnny Depp trying to carry 2+ hours of film by himself with a schtick I still enjoy but has worn old. I went to see Baywatch (Dwayne Johnson is my go-to actor at the moment, he makes everything at least tolerable), but that movie was just terribly done; No plot, no reason to watch, and not funny in the least.
Another issue is people are starting to pay attention to reviews. Wonder Woman is a hit because it is a GREAT movie with stellar reviews, a great story and great acting. But you’ll forgive the American movie-going public for being a bit trepidacious that they may not run out and watch every movie with middling to terrible reviews. After Batman v. Superman let everyone down (and I will say personally, that was my most anticipated movie since “Inception”). Then Suicide Squad was equally bad. Marvel keeps piling on money because they just don’t make BAD movies (I would say their last absolute clunker was all the way back at Iron Man 2). We have to start paying attention to reviews because we don’t want to walk into another Suicide Squad or BvS.
What does Hollywood need: New, interesting ideas and GREAT WRITING. This is obvious, but you can spend 20-40 Million on a well written drama or comedy and recoup your money and possibly have a breakout hit. I personally think what we are missing is the mid-priced releases of the 90’s. Where are the American Pies’, where are the Jennifer Aniston Rom-com’s, where are the risks? If anything, I think middling returns coupled with the rejection of all the retreads may begin a renaissance in Hollywood. A return to smaller risks with more volume where story-telling and plot actually matter again. That is a retread I would welcome.