Been down, isn’t it a pity?
So "Spider-Man 3" took in $151.1 million in the US alone this past weekend (via the AP), a new record that had Sony Pictures chief exec Michael Lynton promising BBC News that "’Everybody has every intention of making a fourth, a fifth and a sixth and on and on.’
There would be ‘as many as we can make good stories for." Calmed down a bit, he tell Andrew Gumbel at the Independent that
looks blockbusters aren’t everything:
Sony isn’t alone in pursuing what Lynton calls a "multi-label strategy" – putting out art and niche films through separate studio subdivisions. Sony has Screen Gems, which produces horror fare such as the Resident Evil series and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, and Sony Classics, which puts out everything from prestige documentaries to Chinese martial arts epics, such as House of Flying Daggers, and the work of Pedro AlmodÃ³var. And it doesn’t have to be limited to that. "We can serve the faith-based community, the African-American community, the teenage community," Lynton says. "It’s contrary to the view of globalisation that suggests that everything is going to get bigger and more American, that McDonald’s is going to take over the world. Sure, US films are the bread and butter. But in many countries, more than half the audience is going to films that are indigenous to that country."
Was it only two years ago that the end seemed near for the blockbuster? Now we’ve not only been giving proof that it’s alive and kicking, we’re two weeks away from what’s surely the most forgettable and personality-free potential record-breaker to ever debut footage at Comic-Con. Poised on the brink of a season that, while loaded with indie counter-programming, has clearly been turned back over to the big studios, Manohla Dargis at the New York Times has wise words for those who would turn up their nose:
[J]ust because a movie blows stuff up doesnâ€™t mean it automatically stinks. A good blockbuster, like the recent Bond flick â€œCasino Royale,â€ takes you places you might never otherwise go and shows you things you could never do. It brings you into new worlds, offers you new attractions. It takes hold of your body, making you quiver with anxiety, joy, laughter, relief. When great blockbusters sweep you up and away â€” Iâ€™m thinking about watching â€œThe Matrixâ€ for the first time with a few hundred other enraptured souls â€” they usher you into a realm of communal pleasure. In a culture of entertainment niches, they remind you of what going to the movies can still be like.
Also at the New York Times, A.O. Scott tsk-tsks the undying habit of adapting TV shows for the big screen and the sentiments he sees as feeding it: "Nostalgia for the pleasures of childhood is a disease without a cure."
+ ‘Spidey’ pays off on huge budget gamble (AP)
+ Spider-Man hits to go ‘on and on’ (BBC)
+ Michael Lynton: ‘Success isn’t just about blockbuster movies’ (Independent)
+ Defending Goliath: Hollywood and the Art of the Blockbuster (NY Times)
+ Why the Movies Keep Digging Into TVâ€™s Bottomless Dustbin (NY Times)