So, What Did We Learn?

The New Year has begun and while most people looked back at the year that was weeks ago while it was still going on I prefer to do it when it is actually over (that sounded pretentious, truthfully I’ve been sick and haven’t had the energy to think about it). So, looking back at the movies what lessons did we learn? Honestly, nothing. Here, I’ll show you what I mean, these are some of the most common “lessons” from the last year:

  • Hollywood is putting all of their eggs in the big budget blockbuster basket and it is going to blow up in their faces. see The Lone Ranger, After Earth, White House Down and Turbo
  • Jennifer Lawrence is still the new “it” girl
  • America loves Sandra Bullock
  • Comedies sell, why aren’t their more comedies?
  • Why can’t hollywood make original movies, everything is superhero or sequels?
That list of lessons, complaints and questions is pretty much identical to what you would have seen at the end of 2012 and will be nearly identical to what you will see at the end of 2014. Why? Because, while we loath to admit it, hollywood is working. WB grossed over $5 billion worldwide in 2013 B-I-L-L-I-O-N! Disney and Universal weren’t far behind. Those four big budget ‘bombs’ everyone points to, they all ended up grossing over $200 million worldwide (and Turbo got pretty close to $300 million). The budget on Lone Ranger was so absurdly high that break-even probably still isn’t within reach but the other three, if they lost money it wasn’t much.
As for the other points, Jennifer Lawrence has two more Hunger Games movies to help her stay on the ‘Hottest Chicks Under 25’ radar and as long as she keeps working with David O. Russell she has plenty of oscar nominations coming her way too. At this point the only thing that could derail her is a major personal life melt down or that she decides to start to try to do romantic comedies (she doesn’t seem like she would be good at them, does she).
Sandra Bullock is just plain likable, she has been since we first saw her in Demolition Man and nothing has changed.
Every year we have a few comedy hits and we complain about there not being more because we forget about The Internship or Delivery Man or Movie 43 or any of the other comedies that bombed.
As for the ‘original’ movie question, well go look at the summer ‘bombs’ and what will you see? Originals or movies based off of obscure or old pre-existing material. 23 hollywood movies grossed over $300 million worldwide last year (maybe $100 million domestic doesn’t mean much anymore but I think it is safe to say that $300 million constitutes a success). Of those only 6 weren’t sequels or adaptations of well known material. SIX out of TWENTY-FOUR. Of those six, two were animated features (Frozen and The Croods) and one was a giant Robots versus Monsters extravaganza (Pacific Rim). The other three were a magic/heist movie (Now You See Me) a horror flick (The Conjuring, which was based on real people) and a truly original and innovative movie (Gravity). The point is simply what I said before, the system is working. Maybe it is because the worldwide box office has grown so much or maybe it is because home theater systems have gotten so good or that movies have gotten so expensive or all of the above, but huge movies, with big effects that you can bring everybody to see with you, those are the movies that get people to leave their house all over the world. As long as that remains true what lessons are there to learn?
But hey, what do I know? I’m fat.