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Published on July 25th, 2011 | by simeon

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Where Have All The Event Movies Gone?

Summertime is long been the tent pole for the epic action film. Ever since I first saw “Star Wars ” I associated one or two summer films as event films, or simply put films that dominate the pop culture landscape with the constant barrage of media coverage and merchandising. The films also did dominant box office thanks in part to viewers who would see the film multiple times in theaters and often would bring their friends.

Films such as “Star Wars” and “Jurassic Park” series, the first “Batman” movie, and “Independence Day” are just a few examples of m and ovies that did tremendous box office on the strength of repeat business from viewers, and the phenomenon’s that they became.

For the last two summers while I’ve enjoyed some of the films that have been released I found myself being for the most part underwhelmed by what the box office as presented.

Yes there’ve been some fun and entertaining movies but I have yet to see a must see event movie. The last such films that came to mind were “Avatar” and “The Dark Knight”. Both films have tremendous buzz to go with strong word-of-mouth which in turn caused both films to become pop-culture and box office phenomenons.

While I look forward to the holiday and summer films I honestly don’t see anything on the near horizon that jumps out at me as this epic must-see film.

With the NFL labor situation resolved it will be interesting to see which movies will be promoted during the Super Bowl which often is a fantastic tool for getting the hype machine started. A easily remember the iconic imagery from the “Independence Day” trailer during the big game which led to months of hype and anticipation for the film.

Hype can be a dual edged sword as there can be dangers and overhyping a film to the point for the audience either ignores it or has such high expectations that they cannot be reasonably met. The Star Wars prequel trilogy is an excellent example of this as after 17 years expectations were through the roof and I believe that there was No Possible Way, George Lucas could have come close to the expectations that were out there.

One way I define an event movie is a film that after I screen it, that I would be willing to pay again to see in the theater. This year, none of the releases come to mind, though I can understand Potter fans citing the film as an event film. While the opening was a big event movie faded a week later and did not grab the media domination for several months as past event films have.

While the economy and home video market may be partially to blame, I believe much of it has to do with a declining quality films and a savvier consumer base for research films more. There is also much more information available on films at of time thanks to social networking and the Internet which despite what some studios want to believe, does heavily influence people who were on the fence about seeing a film.

Another issue is that filmgoers have become very jaded. Thanks to the crappy post filming converted 3-D that has dominated the landscape of late as well as a continued emphasis on effects over story, many viewers may simply believe that they’ve seen it before and it doesn’t have the hook that films of the past once had.

While I look ahead to the films of 2012, I do see several potential blockbusters but I am unsure if any of them will become event films as they are likely to come out, make lots of money, and then fade from the scene quickly.

The Amazing Spiderman”, “Prometheus”, and “The Avengers” are just three of the anticipated films due in theaters next year. And while I think solid box office returns are likely for all of them their subject matter may be too limiting to capture the interest the more casual film goers.

I’m happy to see that to with the three films listed, are being shot in 3-D which will create a much better visual experience for audiences and hopefully stories and effects will combine for an amazing theatrical experience.

However, I’m when keep my hype meter reserved as it’s been far too long since I’ve had a truly unique and amazing summer or holiday movie experience.


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