Ironically, the thing that has marginalized movies is again marginalizing movies. At Comic-Con, movies were met with a shrug of indifference, something also exhibited in this summer’s box office results. Television shows and stars drew the most amount of enthusiasm, the most frenzy, of course, directed at Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. No where is the changing shift of power away from movies more evident than Fox’s pursuit of Time Warner, who owns HBO, TNT, TBS, CNN among other studios.
Several of the studios left their bigger movies at home. Sony did not premiere a third Spider-Man film nor its Sinister Six spinoff. Lionsgate’s Divergent and The Hunger Games were not given main hall attention. Fox left X-Men and Fantastic Four at home as well.
The exceptions were Marvel and Warner Brothers. Marvel has handled its business admirably in this movie slowdown and has maintained excitement for its product throughout.
Warner Brothers devoted most of its time to the final movie in The Hobbit trilogy. Peter Jackson has bled The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit stories dry, where he goes from here is to be determined. His Tolkien movies have kept Warner execs from killing themselves six of the last fourteen Decembers. However, Warner Brothers has DC in its back pocket and is hoping the Justice League will spawn several franchises.
In the end, what executives are praising the television world for is, in and of itself, something relatively new to TV—the story arch. More and more, as proof with what Marvel is doing, a larger universe, full of unlimited possibilities, is coming into vogue. Pre-existing stories, where fans are already built in, thus providing little risk for the studios also are becoming favored.
But the death-knell for movies has been ringing since the early 1950s, and every time, they have rebounded. Movie studios, it’s time for you to get committees out of the movie making process. Film is art. Let your artists make them.