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The Disconnect Between Film Studios And Their Audiences

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Will wants to know why there are so many blockbusters…ALL…THE…TIME. Stop with the blockbusters.

Studios are beginning to become clueless.

Studios are beginning to become clueless.  Every month we have at least five blockbusters that make minimum $200,000,000 worldwide. This isn’t a bad thing for the studios or the audience that enjoys the film. However, it is bad for smaller companies and directors who often make better material.

The marketing was stellar for ‘Suicide Squad’. Every trailer was exciting and fresh and bombastic. The reveal of a new Joker and characters never put to screen worked as the perfect ingredients for success before the film’s actual release and covered up any news story on studio trouble and issues with the production. This was a smart move because, despite scathing reviews from critics and audiences, it still made nearly $750,000,000 worldwide. Studio executives knew what people like to see; attractive leads, a relevant soundtrack, witty quotes, special effects and recognisable characters. This can work. It has in the past with the ‘Avengers’ franchise and other superhero movies but the problem here is that people have not taken in what is important about films; structure, dialogue, performances, plot, interesting characters, visual style and most importantly emotion. ‘Suicide Squad’ failed on all of these aspects giving us a bland, manipulative mess that felt broken from the very first scene. Why did people pay to see this movie? Because of the studio understanding what makes the majority click and unfortunately that majority only watch films only to never speak of them again. Film lovers don’t have enough variety to enjoy the craft anymore and films like ‘Suicide Squad’ are causing people to just love the craft without questioning what they just saw.

Why did people pay to see this movie?

The central point I’m trying to make is that larger films that are poorly made should be the ones that are pushed aside due to a lack of passion. I’m not saying that effort isn’t put into big budget films but smaller films should get more recognition because, due to a smaller budget, the director and writers have to rely on character and setting and story rather than who can explode the loudest or how many barrel roles can we make ‘Iron Man’ do? Blockbusters have their place in cinema but I wish it was only one or two a month because they don’t feel special anymore.

One of my favourite films is ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’. This is a big budget movie with loud action scenes and lots of cgi. Why is this different to something like ‘Batman Vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice’? Because it tells an engrossing story about other ethnicities and immunity and the perception of things we don’t fully understand. When someone dies or gets injured in this film, you really do feel it due to the motivation given to each character and the story surrounding them. In ‘Batman vs Superman’, you see them fighting but you don’t feel them fighting. You witness amazing spectacle, but you are constantly asking why? In ‘Dawn….’, you are just in awe at the raw emotion put in front of you mixed with the incredible motion capture work. That’s the difference between a good and bad blockbuster and one that should and shouldn’t been seen; the emotion. I can get excited for ‘Spider-Man’ or ‘Alien: Covenant’ but I’d rather experience a film than sit through one.

‘127 Hours’ is a bit of an oddity because it had a massive studio distribute it and huge names attached to it, yet it is mostly in one location and it is carried by James Franco. Danny Boyle could have gotten a larger budget but he decided to keep it simple and short. This is what studios should do. They should allow a director to pitch an idea, give them a budget and if they wish to exceed it or go below then they can. Some filmmakers can’t get their vision across due to a lack of faith on the studios part and this shouldn’t be the case unless of course the idea is in bad taste.

This is what studios should do.

Certain groups of people view film differently. For example, the majority of girls in my year at school. They have loved anything Disney have put out in the last two years and their only reason is that ‘oh he\she was really hot’ or ‘hey that was like that other film that I remember therefore this one is perfect’. I’m not against them having opinions but if someone tells me that the remake of ‘Beauty And The Beast’ is better than ‘Logan’, I have to ask why is that so? Is it simply because Emma Watson exists or the fact that it reminds you of that one song you love? ‘Logan’ presented something else entirely. It put Wolverine, a character who is normally heroic and exciting, in a deep and dark place that explored a veteran’s memories and how to be a father. It felt grounded and real and the graphic violence only evoked Logan’s internal pain. What did the new ‘Beauty And The Beast’ do? It retreaded the original, lost all of the humanity to add in jokes that were unfunny, added needless effects and broken dialogue with awful dubbing. It was a more accessible film but that brings me to my next point. Age ratings.

The ratings studios give to films can affect the director’s vison even before shooting begins.

The ratings studios give to films can affect the director’s vison even before shooting begins. U, PG, 12, 15, 18. These are legal requirements for films. U and PGs are meant for everyone or families. 12 and 15s are meant for teens and 18s are exclusively for adults. I feel this is a problem for a few reasons and it comes back to audiences. Parents will of course be concerned for their child’s mind-set if they take their child to see Logan only to witness a young girl be impaled by a harpoon. I understand why it is in place but I don’t think it should be law. It should be a recommendation because some people can handle graphic violence in a film rated 18, yet they are only 15. If you are aware enough to know what you can handle, then you should be allowed to watch that film. Film is an art form in the same way a painting is art. We don’t give graphic paintings age ratings, do we? Another issue with age restrictions is that it can prevent the filmmakers vision. They might want a slightly graphic scene that would cause the film to be rated 15, but the studio may force a rating of 12 to make more money so they will have to cut that scene or alter it which can impair the vision. For instance, ‘Rogue One’ had to be heavily altered because it was ‘too depressing, that Cassian and Jyn didn’t die together’. Gareth Edwards wanted the ending to be bittersweet with everyone dying but still achieving the overall goal. We did get that, but not in the intended way. It would have been more emotional if everyone had died thinking there was no hope, yet there was a chance. The raw emotion that could have been could have warranted a 15 rating but it would have been worth it. However, ‘Star Wars’ is a universally loved franchise. If it was a 15, not as many people could access it. That’s why there shouldn’t be ratings; emotion shouldn’t affect the rating of the film because it is human nature to feel a certain way about death and putting a restriction on feeling is unfair on people who may want to feel something when they watch a film.

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