Image: Lucasfilm

Filmmaker Roland Emmerich is one of the latest to lay blame for the current state of the movie industry on superhero films. He has thrown Star Wars under the bus as well. Famous for disaster-themed movies ranging from alien invasions (Independence Day, Independence Day: Resurgence, Stargate) to natural disasters (2012, The Day After), and even an occasional monster rampage (Godzilla), he’s covered the genre with a diversity of story angles. His latest effort, Moonfall, tackles the concept of the moon being a giant megastructure and what would happen if it crashed into the Earth.

A lot has changed since 1996 when Independence Day debuted and established itself as one of the biggest blockbusters of that summer. The world has seen the rise of multibillion-dollar superhero franchises dominating cinemas. Since then, Star Wars has had two trilogies along with two spin-off projects. Mr. Emmerich was asked if the genre he’s put decades of his career into making films for has changed, and he responded with a firm yes.

Because naturally Marvel and DC Comics, and Star Wars, have pretty much taken over. It’s ruining our industry a little bit, because nobody does anything original anymore.

One could question his perspective on originality, since movies based on alien invasions have been around for the better part of a century and long before his first films. However, he is a part of the growing ranks in Hollywood, who have, to put it politely, criticized the formulaic approach Marvel and DC have used for their films and the effect it has had on the industry. At one point, he even commented at a junket in London for Midway that his eyes glaze over when he sees a Marvel movie, but they are a great way to fall asleep during flights. He goes on to share how getting funding for anything not tied to superheroes or Star Wars has become increasingly difficult.

“You should make bold new movies, you know?” Mr. Emmerich told Den of Geek.

He expanded on that thought in reference to fellow filmmaker Christopher Nolan.

He is someone who can make movies about whatever he wants. I have it a little bit harder, but I still have a big enough name—especially when it’s a disaster [movie] or has some sort of disaster theme.

From changes in audience tastes to the pandemic, there are more factors to consider when it comes to getting a movie made. Even before the rise of the mega blockbuster superhero phenomenon, the movie industry had numerous years of declining ticket sales. However, these ticket sales slumps were usually ended with the successful releases of famous intellectual properties, be it book (Harry Potter, The Twilight Saga), comic book, or sequel.

Despite the popularity of known IPs fueling decisions for many projects, studios such as Disney, Warner Bros., and Sony could all attest that just because something is comic book or Star Wars related, it doesn’t guarantee any kind of success, since all three have seen their share of underwhelming box office appearances. Perhaps he, and other filmmakers, should reevaluate the notion of making movies they want to see made and instead ask the question if what they’re making is something audiences want to watch. After all, just because a project may include a cape or spaceship, or a famous filmmaker is at the helm, it doesn’t guarantee it will be something audiences want to see.

Source: Den of Geek

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Peter Brosdahl

As a child of the 70’s I was part of the many who became enthralled by the video arcade invasion of the 1980’s. Saving money from various odd jobs I purchased my first computer from a friend of my...

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