The film industry is reaching a breaking point. Action films at the box office have completely flooded the market to the point where they are almost indistinguishable from one another. I saw John Wick 3 recently, and I went in expecting an ok story with some amazing action sequences. My bar was already not that high, and I was still disappointed. The story was exactly as I expected, simple. The action was repetitive and even boring at times, and John Wick is not the only film to fall victim to this.
Too many action films of the past few years have been mindless and unentertaining, and audiences are catching on. My prediction is that we will experience a renaissance of filmmaking within the next few years.
Action Movies at the Box Office
Now action movies aren’t exactly failing at the box office, but more people are showing up for story driven films. This year alone we’ve had films like Queen and Slim, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and most importantly, Joker. These are all stand alone films, not sequels that have done extremely well at the box office. Joker is the most profitable film of all time and although it is based on characters from a comic book, it is not part of a cinematic universe or anything of the like.
Audiences of all types are showing up to these films, old and young, male and female, everyone is showing up to watch it, which I love. These films are the beginning of a new wave. Audiences are recognizing quality film more frequently. They’re not condemning bad films, but they’re making the effort to see good movies.
Film Market is Changing
I think this change in taste has come from action films putting in less effort. I’m paraphrasing Alton Brown here but in his “Hot Ones” interview he said that once a location thinks they have something on lock, they start slipping in quality. I think this applies to a lot more than just food, in this case, I think the action film industry thinks they have the box office on lock and now audiences are noticing other genres of film.
Since the Marvel Infinity Saga has come to a close people are branching out and trying other things. The market is essentially in limbo, no new trends but once audiences find the new genre they fall in love with, that will dominate for the next few years.
Action Films are Safe
Now, all action films aren’t bad, Skyfall is one of my all time favorite movies, it’s an incredible action film all around. The problem is, every action film can’t be Skyfall. It has story, incredible cinematography, and it took risks, which is rare for a sequel film. Let alone the 23rd in a series. Most films shy away from risk because if someone dies they can’t make a sequel, which in turn makes the studio less money.
This has led to action films actually being quite safe, which makes the ending much more predictable. The hero wins and no one dies, and like I said before, people are catching on.
Action films aren’t going anywhere soon. They’re mindless fun to watch when you want to turn your brain off and relax, but I don’t think they will be as dominant in these next few years. The decade of the story driven film is among us and I could not be more excited. This opens the door for more creative directors and storytellers to get their chance at the big screen. The future’s looking bright and I’m ready for my shot.