Cinema at the Hands of Movie Franchises
The boom of movie franchises is evident in the past few years. Aside from MCU, DCEU, Harry Potter, and Star Wars, movie franchises that have spanned for years include Mission: Impossible, Fast and Furious, X-Men, Transformers, and James Bond. Looking into the horror genre, we have the Conjuring Universe and now there’s also the 2019 remake of Child’s Play which may serve to reboot the entire Child’s Play franchise. If it is in the comedy genre, we have Tyler Perry’s Madea, though that franchise had come to its end with the latest released film. The list goes on; it is quite difficult to enumerate them all.
Today’s silver screen has been too saturated with movie franchises. From the ginormous Marvel Cinematic Universe (which, by the way, will conclude its Phase Three and transition to Phase Four with the upcoming Spider-Man: Far From Home film) to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to the former assassin John Wick, most moviegoers nowadays seem to only anticipate the theatrical release of those movies belonging to franchises. Non-mainstream movies or “standalone” movies tend to be crowded out when they are released at the same date as franchise installments; unless, of course, if they are really good and are marketed enough. Let’s mention Jordan Peele’s Us and Get Out for that – and probably Crawl?
Ever since movie franchises have overpopulated the film industry, the latter has become too exclusitory. What this basically means is that, with the frequent release of movies under a franchise, those who are casual fans or non-fans no longer enjoy the same excitement and viewing experience as hardcore fans when they go to theaters. After all, if they haven’t been keeping up with the installments on these franchises, it is difficult for them to understand what the plot is all about.
The repetition of the movies under the same franchise is also a festering problem that has been long complained about by fans. Just like the Toy Story franchise, which basically repeats the same formula in its plot. A different twist might be given to the story but it doesn’t change the fact that the essence of the script is exactly the same as the previous installments. It can be a wonder if these scriptwriters’ creativity is limited or if they have been marginalized in favor of those franchise films.
Franchise fatigue is a problem but that doesn’t mean that franchise installments are no good. With the undeniable dominance of franchise films in the industry at this point in time, there is no stopping this trend in Hollywood in the foreseeable future. After all, it seems that franchise films are coming back from the dead, with John Wick 3: Parabellum even toppling the box office record of the much-anticipated Avengers: Endgame. It is even notable how Captain Marvel, MCU’s film released earlier this year, considerably saved the struggling box office.
Movies are good when they aren’t repetitive. They are good, even if they are continuity-dependent, as long as the storytelling doesn’t leave anyone in the audience behind. More than just the factor of nostalgia, what makes a good movie is being able to deliver a new and fresh but completely relatable story.
Movies and films are like our grandparents who satisfy our imaginative minds with stories of old only that in this modern-day storytellers, our imagination is already put in place. At the end of the day, it’s the story we don’t forget.