Hollywood reports movie sales are roughly 500 million behind last year’s earnings. The poor figures represent even poorer movie quality.
Let’s be honest, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II” was an utter disappointment. If you’re not sure when director David Yates and all the other movie industry executives decided it would be a good idea to chop up the climactic Hogwarts battle scene and disperse it in ten minute intervals throughout the movie, you’re not alone. But the worst thing about “Deathly Hallows: Part II” was the fact that it was probably among the best films of 2011.
Think about it: The past year pretty much brought us nothing but horrible sequels. Even worse? The movies that preceded the sequels weren’t even that good to begin with. Sure, we can ignore a bunch of wet rats shaking their tail fur to Lady Gaga for the sake of entertaining six year olds. And yes, we can ignore Natalie Portman jumping on the superhero franchise bandwagon ten years after it lost steam.
Hell, we can even ignore the fact that the movie industry is in complete denial that the superhero franchise has lost steam and is banking on the fact that The Avengers might actually hold true to its name and avenge the “Green Lantern,” “Captain America” and “Thor.” But can we honestly forgive Hollywood for “The Hangover: Part II,” a movie that’s only different from the original in that it occurs in Bangkok instead of Vegas and involves a monkey instead of a tiger? Oh, and let us not forget “Love Actually: Part II,” I mean “Valentine’s Day: Part II,” I mean…you know, the one with brunette from Glee. No, not “Glee: the Movie.” Wait, there was a Glee movie?
The New York Times recently reported “ticket sales in North America are running about $500 million behind last year — despite higher prices — prompting a round of soul searching by studios trying to determine what went wrong and how best to proceed.”
What went wrong? Does Hollywood really need to conduct a market survey? Hmm. Let’s see. First of all, people don’t want to pay to see the same movie twice. Additionally, no one wants to pay fifteen dollars to wear ear-pinching plastic glasses for five minutes of retro-fitted 3-D (see: The Lion King). And last but not least, as much as I hate to say it, Harrison Ford is too old for an extra-terrestrial action movie; The Force is no longer strong with him.
To be fair, there were a few cinematic gems this past year. Jason Segal’s “Muppets Movie,” though not a huge financial success, packed enough sentimental nostalgia and innocent hilarity to redeem all the garbage released before it. And the same could be said for “Super-8,” though it occasionally mirrors “The Goonies” and “ET.” Everyone’s a sucker for Captain Sparrow, and the fourth installment of the series is defendable, but only in comparison to films two and three.
Still, you can’t expect to finance a multi-billion dollar industry with a handful of films. And if the movie industry wants to remain sustainable, they’re going to need to do more than recycle.