With summer coming to a close, we can finally say goodbye to what was arguably the most horrendous movie season in the history of summer movie seasons. Good riddance.
Profits dipped and quality plunged. Ticket sales in the United States and Canada are projected to total $4.33 billion, a 2% decline from last year, according to the media analytics firm ComScore. But the fine print is what’s important. Disney monopolized the summer to a vast degree, meaning a disconcerting amount of that revenue belongs to one studio alone. Even sequels that seemed like surefire hits for rival companies — Warner Bros.’ “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” and Sony’s “The Angry Birds Movie 2,” for example — fell short of expectations.
India’s oldest music label is bringing hope to its indie filmmakers.
Set up in 1901, Saregama India has been in the business of music for over a century. But it was only three years ago that it turned its ear to the $2-billion behemoth film industry. It set up the brand Yoodlee Films, headed by Siddharth Anand Kumar.
Coming not so shortly: a new helping of either Star Wars or Avatar for every Christmas between 2021 and 2027. Disney’s latest release schedule also promises eight more Marvel comic-book adaptations by 2022. Meanwhile, this year will see the spawn of not just behemoths such as Avengers, X-Men, Frozen, Toy Story, Spider-Man, The Lego Movie and Star Wars, but also less obvious franchise-launchers such as Godzilla, Men in Black, Shaun the Sheep, Angry Birds, Kingsman, Zombieland, Shaft and even Rambo. Never before have film sequels been so many and so varied.
The day before we met, László Nemes went to see a superhero movie. He didn’t last long. “I found it unwatchable and false, boring and self-referential, a world of ideal people who don’t behave as humans but more like machines.”
He smiles. It’s tea-time in the Islington, north London branch of Caffè Nero and Nemes gently explains that such films infantilise viewers in two ways. The plots let them defer responsibility for the fate of the world to demigods; the way they are shot – lots of signposting, everything carefully controlled – offers a false sense of omniscience.
Film and TV drama is booming, with the streaming services Netflix, Hulu and Amazon offering audiences hit after hit on demand. But, according to the acclaimed director Mike Leigh, this comes with an unfortunate side effect: that young British film-makers are being held back by a powerful “new breed of executive”.