Blockbusters and Me

Craig Lindsey, the film reporter and reviewer for the Raleigh News-Observer, has an article out about summer blockbuster exhaustion. I think the article is an interesting take on the role of hype in building up these films and the inevitability that most of these films won’t live up to the pre-release publicity blitz, and overall the article does a good job of showing how the theatrical release is tied to promoting the DVD and other “ancillary” products (although I’d push the starting point of the “event movie” back to Jaws, but that’s a minor quibble). Of course, even with this “exhaustion,” 2007 is on pace to become one of the biggest years in box office history (possibly eclipsing the record numbers of 2004).

And when Craig contacted me to weigh in on this topic, I was happy to do so (the second time this summer I’ve been interviewed about this topic). I’m still getting used to seeing my comments edited into news articles, but two of the bigger points that I wanted to make did get into the article. I do think that much of the enjoyment we get from “event movies” is the possibility of participating in something larger than ourselves, of being able to talk about the latest Harry Potter or Spider-Man sequel over the water cooler, real or imagined, at work or school or in blogs. On a related note, I was able to emphasize that many audiences are seeking out indie alternatives, such as last summer’s Little Miss Sunshine, or in the recent past, several of Michael Moore’s documentaries, and I think that LMS, especially, used that “bandwagon” appeal in selling the film last summer.

I also have a quick comment about the number of trailers for sequels that played before I watched Ocean’s Thirteen (which I didn’t dislike), including a not-so-subtle dig on Robin Williams for always playing the same character-type. I wish I’d articulated this point a little better in that what I wanted to say was that “stars” themselves (and I’d include Adam Sandler, among others, in this category) are often the primary reason for seeing a movie because we can expect a certain kind of character and story, making every film in which they appear a “sequel” of sorts. Anyway, it’s a nice article, a fun overview of the blockbuster exhaustion that many of us feel, and it’s pretty cool to be in the same company as another film blogger, David Poland, one of my daily film blog reads.

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