Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Hollywood is nothing but reboots, soft reboots, remakes, adaptations, sequels and prequels. While the majority of the movies that flood your average Texas-chain, middling theater are in fact reiterative, these are essential for the current cinema ecosystem to exist.
Some of these movies ride on the success of their predecessors, or their counterparts on other media because they are a proven formula that is more often than not guaranteed to be economically viable and successful due to the audience’s familiarity.
Because of their often times, massive budgets and their ability to draw and astonish big audiences with their expensive production values, these films are called “blockbusters.”
While there are examples of very poorly made blockbusters that at some point could even be considered cash-grabs (see the second wave of unnecessary Transformer films), others such as “Moana,” “Inside Out,” “The Dark Knight,” among others, feel genuine, show signs of a cohesive script and soul.
According to IMDB, the domestic gross revenue for these movies is $248,752,120, $356,454,367 and $533,316,061, respectively.
All of these movies more than exceeded their projected profits by millions and also received critical acclaim. Reviews aggregator Metacritic gave the movies an 81, 94 and 82 based on reviews.
Thanks to the surge of independent cinema in what many anoint as the “artsier” approach to the seventh art, it is easy to take a stance that discredits the major motion pictures. We have all heard a critic, or even our insufferably hipster friend who thinks a film is automatically more complex, conveys a more esoteric message or is simply more meaningful for being an indie film.
Blockbusters such as director Christopher Nolan’s most recent war epic “Dunkirk” are not only being universally praised for their sublime cinematography, fresh narrative take on a historical event and enthralling score, but are also taking advantage of vintage technology to offer a better presentation.
Dunkirk was shown in both 35-millimeter film and 70-millimeter IMAX presentations, one of them simulating the effect of watching a vintage film and the other offering a bigger scale presentation.
It also isn’t necessary for blockbusters to amuse crowds with their visual effects or sound quality to be considered compelling films. While those high-priced elements do play a role in the immersion factor of the movie-watching experience, some marquee box office titans such as “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” redefined the story and script structure as the film industry knew it back in 1980.
In terms of original blockbusters, the Wachowskis’ “The Matrix” might be one of the most revolutionary original scripts in the history of cinema. The heavy philosophical undertones combined with its at-the-time scandalous $63-million budget and its revolutionary (for the time) visual effects made it one of the most memorable blockbusters that still keep a stranglehold on the top highest grossing movies of all time.
Directors, audiences and actors alike long for summer blockbuster season to start because it also reminds us that some of those franchises, which spur the sequels, reboots and remakes, were gateways to the world of cinema.