Why Hollywood won't gamble on good summer movies
2010's "Inception" was an anomaly, says Mark Harris in GQ. More typically, the concepts of "creative ambition" and "summer movie" just don't mesh in Hollywood
The summer tent-pole movie season is coming soon, but don't expect another quality thriller like Inception at the multiplex, says Mark Harris in GQ. Both this summer and next will, instead, see a glut of comic-book adaptations, sequels, and prequels. Indeed, movie studios are "trying very hard not to notice" the Academy-Award-nominated precedent set by Inception, afraid of the risks similar projects might entail. "It's really bad news," says Harris, "when the industry essentially rejects a success, when a movie that should have spawned two dozen taste-based gambles on passion projects is instead greeted as an unanswerable anomaly." Here, an excerpt:
For the studios, a good new idea has become just too scary a road to travel. Inception, they will tell you, is an exceptional movie. And movies that need to be exceptional to succeed are bad business. "The scab you're picking at is called execution," says legendary producer Scott Rudin (The Social Network, True Grit). "Studios are hardwired not to bet on execution, and the terrible thing is, they're right. Because in terms of execution, most movies disappoint."
With that in mind, let's look ahead to what's on the menu for this year: four adaptations of comic books. One prequel to an adaptation of a comic book. One sequel to a sequel to a movie based on a toy. One sequel to a sequel to a sequel to a movie based on an amusement-park ride. One prequel to a remake. Two sequels to cartoons. One sequel to a comedy. An adaptation of a children's book. An adaptation of a Saturday-morning cartoon. One sequel with a 4 in the title. Two sequels with a 5 in the title. One sequel that, if it were inclined to use numbers, would have to have a 7 1/2 in the title. ...