Monday, December 07, 2009

Are these the 10 Most Significant Movie Developments of the decade?

Best-of-the-decade movie lists are starting to roll in (and I will have one for you all this month), but I got a different sort of list today - one that I find questionable in many  respects. It's the supposed Top-10 Most Significant Movie Developments of the Past Decade.

Here's the list, with my commentary:

1.      The evolution of social media (Twitter, blogs) to propel box office numbers - Meeehhh. I  have a hard time believing the social networking sites affect box office in any significant way, as of yet. The influence of Twitter, Facebook at all is extremely pervasive to be sure, but I don't think they've been around long enough to push the numbers that much one way or the other. I think those who push this idea are just trying to seem hip and trendy. 

2.      The advancement of Computer-Generated Imaging - You won't get any argument from me here, but I would broaden the scope and cite the advancement of digital tools as a whole. Take a look at the way films are edited nowadays - the style is noticeably different from when editors were cutting actual film.

3.      The rise of 3D films and IMAX - Agreed on both counts, although the jury is still out as to how much of a foothold 3D can keep. Even with the new system that is easier on the eyes, I still hear a lot of complaints. IMAX has the potential to be more influential, because it's well nigh impossible to duplicate that effect at home.  However, the rise of the so-called LIE-MAX could put a dent in that influence.,

4.      The creation of Netflix, as well as the ability to download movies before they are available on DVD or Blu-Ray - Absolutely. And downloading is only going to be more pervasive.

5.      The launch of online ticket sales - For the exhibitor, maybe. For us ordinary ol' moviegoers? Not so much. I rarely use it except for THE most popular films and even then, movies go out on so many screens, I find sell-outs are rare. (It helps if you avoid going Friday and Saturday nights, like I do.)

6.      The major influx of movies based on comics - There's certainly been an uptick here with the rise of Marvel as a movie-producing force, but one of the top 10 developments of the decade? Not convinced.

7.      Fantasy books made into major feature films including The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Harry Potter - Similar answer to number 6. Fantasy was certainly big, but game-changing big? If you rephrase to say "The increasing dominance of the Big, Dumb Movie," you might have something.

8.      The surge in piracy (Remember the X-MEN Origins: Wolverine leak?) - For the movie studios? Yes, even if they're loath to admit most of the piracy happens in their own walls rather than in movie theaters.  But for the general public? Negligible.

9.      The rise of the Fanboy and nerd culture as movies targeted this influential demo - Isn't this sayng the same thing as number 6, but in a larger sense? Another way to put it might be "The teenage boy emerges as the predominant target audience."

10.  The development of High Definition technology and Blu-Ray: High-Definition? Yes. Blu-Ray? Jury's still out, but I doubt it. 

Here are a few other developments I would consider:  

The rise of the stadium seating theater - Think of it - the very shape of the theaters we see movies in changed. That's no small thing.

The prevalence of in-theater advertising - I didn't say the list had to be all GOOD things. I don't know of anyone who actually likes the ads (despite what some dubious surveys say), but clearly the ads are here to stay.

The decline of the indie market - Unless you're a mini-major like Fox Searchlight or Focus Films, you're in worse shape than you've ever been. And that's not good for movies as a whole.

The shortening of the DVD release window - Wanna know the reason most people don't go to the theater anymore? This, even moreso than rude audiences, is the main reason why.

Agree/disagree? What other "developments" should be on this list? 

1 comment:

Scott Copeland said...

I'm a little late here, but...

I think you were a bit too dismissive of the rise of the comic-based movie. It's now a guarantee that at least one or two summer blockbusters will be comic based. Was that true ten years ago? I don't think so.

One major change this decade, Princess and the Frog notwithstanding, has been the death of hand-drawn animation. While that started last decade, that has been a major story this decade.

And number 10 on the list is moving forward too quickly. In terms of format change, this decade should be known for the death of VHS. As a former video store clerk, I can tell you at the beginning of the decade video was still the primary format for rentals. Now, video is pretty much been killed by DVD. I think Hollywood expects the same quick change to Blu-Ray, but I don't see it.