Posts Tagged ‘economy’

Summer of the Comic Book Movie

June 2, 2011

Yes, summer means longer days, school being out, vacations and blockbuster movies. Yet, this summer the studios will be putting out six, count’em six, movies based on comic books/graphic novels. What gives? There was a time when comic books were considered a sign of the downfall of civilization and were blamed for corrupting young minds. Even Stan Lee, the creator of Spiderman, Thor and other superheroes of the Marvel Comics universe, didn’t think too highly of comic books when he first started out. He became a comic book writer because he needed the money and Timely Comics, which later became Marvel, paid him very well for his work. Yet, many years later both he and movie studio executives realized that there’s storytelling gold in comic books. They have action, drama and a love story for when there’s a lull in the action.

Still, if there is going to be a superhero movie during the summer blockbuster season, there is usually one maybe two, not six. Well, here are my theories on the increase, at least for the summer of 2011, of superhero movies:

It’s still the economy, stupid.
Last summer people wanted to escape the recession with animated films, this year the escape “vehicle” is the superhero movie. While last year moviegoers wanted reminders of childhood, this year they want a hero to save them from unemployment and home foreclosure. Unfortunately, superheroes can’t do much about those things, but it is fun to imagine that they could. After all, the U.S. is still in the grips of a recession and escapist films have traditionally done well during difficult times. Last year’s summer blockbuster movie season saw $4.05 billion worth of ticket sales, so the studios must be doing something right.

They get the job done.
Why do people want a superhero? Because a superhero gets the job done. Superheroes get the bad guy without so much of a grumble and they do it with style. Just look at Superman, Batman Spiderman, Ironman and the like. They either have gadgets, strength or a little of both and they get the villain. Crime will not pay if a superhero is on the case.

The story of the superhero goes waaay back.
If you think the superhero story is a 20th century invention, think again. Stories such as Hercules and Samson show how far back the idea of a superhero goes—and those are just from the Western culture. Other cultures have their stories of someone who can perform amazing feats of strength for the good of a community. People all around the world and in all times have had to deal with evil and injustice, so it is no wonder that stories of a person with both amazing physical strength and the will to fight the good fight were told. They were and still are exercises in fantasy and an inspiration for others to fight the good fight, as well.

As for which superhero movies will be very successful and which ones will just bomb, I’ll most likely write about that in a future blog entry.

Sources:
http://www.reelzchannel.com/article/1082/summer-2011-preview-20-movies-well-be-talking-about-next-year/

Cantu, Hector, Heritage Magazine “Stan the Creator” Fall 2008, pg. 52

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118023577.html?categoryid=1237&cs=1

 

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Animated Movies—They’re Not Just for Kids Anymore

July 21, 2010

There were three animated movies released during the 2010 summer movie season. In case you’ve been hiding under a rock, they are:

Toy Story 3
Shrek: The Final Chapter
Despicable Me

Usually during the blockbuster movie season (summer or winter/holiday season), one, maybe two animated films are released. What has lead to so many animated films being released at one time?  Here are my theories on the subject:

  1. It’s the economy.  The Dow is more down than up and unemployment is still high. In a situation like this, escapist cinema does well at the box office and what can be more escapist than an animated film. The films are visually appealing and the voices are stars like Steve Carrell, Tom Hanks, Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz who know how to bring a character to life.
  2. It’s a reminder of childhood. If you are of a certain age, you can remember being camped out in front of the television set on Saturday mornings watching such cartoons as Bugs Bunny, Fat Albert, Superfriends and let’s not forget The Smurfs. While the Saturday morning cartoons aren’t as visually appealing as their feature length cousins, they were fun to watch. Bugs Bunny got away from Elmer Fudd, the Superfriends got the bad guys, Fat Albert and his friends had fun and learned a lesson, and the Smurfs outsmarted Gargamel everytime. Bravo cartoon characters, you entertained me and a million other kids.
  3. It’s art. Don’t look at me like that. I’m serious. From Snow White to the current crop of computer generated animated films, it takes a good eye and great storytelling skill to create an animated film that both kids and adults will enjoy. Also, creating art means taking a risk. Speaking of Snow White, Walt Disney took a huge gamble in making that film in 1937. Before Snow White was released, no one thought people would watch an animated feature for more than a few minutes. Well, Disney proved the naysayers wrong and showed than an animated film can be as engrossing and artistic as a feature film. Whatever you think of the Disney studios now, would there be a Toy Story, Shrek or even Despicable Me in 2010 without Walt talking that chance in 1937?

Something to think about as you go to see the latest animated film.

Source: http://disney.go.com/characters/?channel=154327#/characters/articles/snowwhiteturns70/