“City of Bones” opened recently and immediately tanked in terms of box office success. I imagine Hollywood bigwigs are scratching their heads at the moment wondering why they’ve lost tens of millions of dollars. One reason is because of the films they continue to green light, despite obvious reasons not to.
Spielberg’s prediction of several mega-budget movies seems to be upon us. Before it all goes down the toilet, here are four types of movies, in no particular order, that need to stop being made.
4. Superhero movies
Ever since I discovered X-Men comics when I was eleven, I’ve been enamored by the idea of superheroes. We’ve advanced to a point where we can make movies based on our favorite heroes, and it’s AMAZING. That being said, we all seem to be suffering from “superhero fatigue.” Marvel’s phase one, which culminated in “The Avengers,” was great because we got to enjoy it spread out over time, and the films were fun to watch with good stories.
But now, every studio has realized superheroes are a pile of money just waiting for them. About a dozen superhero movies are slated for release before next summer. “The Wolverine” was a failure because it was just an obvious attempt to cash in, once again, on the safe, easy superhero. As much as I loved Man of Steel, I have to admit it was custom-built to rake in piles of cash. And I’m afraid I’ll go see Avengers 2 for the same reason I saw Star Wars 3: obligation.
Yes, movies are supposed to make money, but not at the expense of quality. Hollywood, you can’t just throw CGI and a superpower together and expect to make $200 million. Superheroes are fine, sequels are fine, but give us Gambit, Wonder Woman, Brainiac, not tried-and-true heroes, and take risks. Don’t make the mistake of Spiderman 3 and take over because you’re afraid of losing money. Let the writers and producers freedom.
3. Paranormal, steampunk, young-adult fiction
Yup, this one started with Harry Potter and Twilight. Here’s the formula: angsty teen, preferably female; some sort of magic or monster; ridiculously sexy might-be British boy with inner demons; and conflicted best friend. Oh, don’t forget the harbinger of doom related to the protagonist. And it must be based on a best-selling book.
Twilight made more than a billion dollars, but why have “The Host,” Beautiful Creatures,” and now “City of Bones” all been colossal failures? Because we’re sick of it. People will point to “Hunger Games” and successful teen book adaptations, but “Hunger Games” wasn’t paranormal and angsty; it was commentary on social issues and whatnot.
There is excellent teen fiction out there. I love reading, and movies adapted from books are a great idea. The studios seem too scared to stray away from the Twilight formula, and it’s showing.
2. Sequels and Reboots
This one is self-explanatory. Does anyone really want to see Transformers 4, Fast and Furious 7, Die Hard 6, another Pixar sequel, or a Top Gun reboot? No, but each of those movies are considered safe bets, once again. I am dying to see something original that doesn’t involve a $150 million budget riding the coattails of a great movie. I’m putting “The Lone Ranger,” which performed almost humorously bad, in this category. In that case, they decided to rely on Jack Sparrow and Bellatrix Lestrange to carry that film.
Previous success and big names shouldn’t be what you base your movie on. “Pirates of the Caribbean” was and is a great movie, but by the third installment we were all sick of Johnny Depp’s character. “Die Hard” is a classic, but “A Good Day to Die Hard?” Just end the series while you’re ahead.
1. Cool renegades with guns
I don’t even remember the names of these to be completely honest; they all just blend together.
Rebel cops or gangsters with guns seek to right a wrong or something similar. It’s every reincarnation of Bad Boys in the past decade: “Two Guns”, “Bad Boys 2”, “Pain and Gain”, “Rush Hour”, “Miami Vice”, “Blue Streak”.
Movies are an amazing medium, and I think they are our society’s most powerful way of telling stories. I want to be told a good story, not treated as a source of easy money for lazy filmmakers.
That being said, the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival happened last weekend. All the tellers have recordings and books, and there are thousands more in the library. Go find a story that moves you, that seeks to be more than just a blockbuster. Find the stories that want to be told for their own sakes, then re-tell them.