The Current State of the Movie Industry [OPINION]


Spiderman: No Way Home, Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings, and Venom: Let There Be Carnage were some of the biggest box office hits of last year and they are all a part of major franchises.

Do audiences ache to see nuanced, emotional, and artsy films? Many people would say no. When critiques are made about the movie industry, it’s popular to mock the critic by complaining about pretentious film bros who are ruining the love of the art. 

Numbers also don’t lie. The value of a movie is measured by its level of commercial success. Fantastic films that fail to meet box office records are overlooked. From a business standpoint, movies with small budgets and without big stars or breakout actors are difficult to market. 

There are trends in the movie industry that are currently contributing to the homogeneity of films. One big one is the pandemic. Studios could not afford to take risks without audiences. And profits also could not be put into new ideas. Studios are playing it safe, which causes audiences to become compliant with “so-so” films.

Another culprit is the loss of mid-budget films. Nowadays, there are only big blockbusters produced by major studios, or indie films from art houses such as A24

What is so special about mid-budget films? Many comedy and romance movies fall under this category. Cult classics like Mean Girls, Heathers, and Beetlejuice do as well. When superhero movies started to get very popular at the inception of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, film budgets and film profits began to skyrocket, and exponential growth must always be fed through making higher-budget films.

Increasing profits leads to an increase in spectacle and a decrease in nuance. In order to make a movie that breaks records, it needs to appeal to everyone. Complex and morally gray characters have been replaced with definite bad guys and good guys. 

This leads to flat films which do not accurately convey human emotions. People of this generation deserve to have something interesting and original. Without it, our collective culture lacks unity and we are only exposed to mind-numbing movies that do not open up our minds.