BY Andrew Russell
Since 2007 when Iron Man came out, another ten superhero movies from Marvel, another seven superhero movies from Fox, and two Spider-Man movies from Sony have been produced. That tallies up to 19 films, plus the Dark Knight Trilogy and Man of Steel from D.C. comics. Now, these movies arguably ARE Hollywood today. They’re the ones breaking the box office records every summer, and they’re the reasons production companies are coming up with five-year plans that ensure the productivity of their franchises.
There is an obscene amount of money to be made from these franchises. I like many of these movies, but I hate just as many. It’s not that I want these franchises to end, necessarily. I just have a question: What happens when it’s over?
A lot of people forget, or just don’t know, that there was a dark age of Hollywood followed by its boom in the 1920’s and 30’s. This dark age happened because of the increased affordability of the television, the economic crash, and because of Communism.
Well, not literally Communism, but the reaction to Communism. It was the societal uptake of McCarthyism in America that caused things like the Hollywood Ten trials to occur, in which ten of Hollywood’s best writers and directors were accused of Communism and subsequently banned from working in film ever again. After that, film quality went down for the most part.
Our threat to film quality today, however, isn’t Communism or McCarthyism, but inflation. No, not the kind of inflation that your father complains Obama does nothing about.
Twenty three superhero movies have come out in the last eight years, and over 20 more are set to be released in the next five years. Those are outrageous numbers. The superhero genre will be inflated in a couple of years. What used to be gratefully accepted as a good and faithful film adaptation will just be seen as another installment in a franchise that’s long overstayed its welcome. What we used to look forward to every year or two as something special and to be cherished will become average in its abundance.
So, back to my question. What will happen when it’s all over? The studios will have nothing left to replace their superhero moneymakers. They’ll be rich in a currency that no longer exists, like having a billion Prussian Francs. No one will anticipate their superhero franchises anymore, and they’ll be stuck grasping on to anything that keeps their businesses afloat.
In the not too distant future, the age of the blockbuster will be at an end, and we will plunge into the second Hollywood dark age.