If mainstream movie going audiences hope to see anything fresh and original, their best bet this summer would be to stay at home and make their own films. This summer movie season is especially dismal this year, thanks to Hollywood’s fetish for producing large budget sequels with divisive and typically despised directors placed at the helm.
This is no exaggeration: the entire summer movie season is almost completely comprised of sequels to previously successful films. Movies like Transformers 4, Fast and Furious 7, Expendables 3, Paranormal activity 5, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Rio 2, How to Train Your Dragon 2, 22 Jump Street, Think Like a Man Too, Planes 2 and A Haunted House 2. Just like this list, the summer movie season of 2014 is equally redundant, exhausting, and will likely require multiple viewings. The only wide release movies being released that are not sequels are Hercules (though this can be considered a reboot of the January 2014 Hercules release), and the new Adam Sandler movie Blended, an Adam Sandler “comedy” being the cherry on top of the poorest movie season audiences have mere days from being subjected to.
Though this has been the typical case since the development and establishment of American cinema, it is a well known fact that movies, in particular sequels, have become Hollywood executives’ most reliable and consistent technique to earn money. However, the amount of sequels that is being released this year makes it seem as though movie producers are struggling to pay off astronomically massive gambling debts. Either that or they’re simply trying their best to make sure that smart, challenging and creative films are left for the Oscar season in late fall and winter, which would also be an example of quick cash grabs.
While summer is certainly the appropriate season for these sorts of releases, why does this summer season seem so especially dismal this year? The argument that there is no originality in Hollywood is certainly something that astute moviegoers have been having for years now; nevertheless, it must not be forgotten that American filmmaking is a business first. Sequels and gritty reboots have become Hollywood’s bread and butter. Viewers may cry out for a savior to restore some shred of dignity to American cinema in the form of fresh original content, yet their cries fall on deaf ears. The reason this summer’s releases forecast a dismal shadow is because it finally seems like Hollywood has crossed the invisible line and have finally come out in the sense that their money making schemes are no longer something to be kept in the proverbial closet.
This summer movie season is especially dismal this year not just due to Hollywood’s obvious money making ploy to release an entire crop of sequel, but because it’s so obviously bereft of anything that makes these movies worth seeing such as imagination or appreciation of the art. It is common knowledge now that movies such as these are first awarded with massively bloated budgets, filmed by a director who is willing to pander to the whims of the studio and screened with test audiences. The films are adjusted as necessary in order to achieve maximum ticket sales and like the playground bully, obscures and casts aside the smaller films that are never given a chance to show us that there is, in fact, a reason to still believe in American cinema.
Opinion by David Jones