The movie business has been in trouble for years now, and although there’s been an uptick in 2018, the long term situation for the film industry looks very grim (Domestic 1). There are a lot of reasons for this decline, but it’s one that should be lamented and mourned, because chances are if you’re under 30 and reading this the amount of movies you really give a fuck about could be counted on one hand, and I’m willing to bet you don’t remember the last time you sat down and watched a movie from start to finish in one sitting, and I’m even counting pausing it to go to the bathroom or microwave another bag of popcorn as one sitting.
So how did we get here? More importantly, why should you even care? Well the first step to understanding the film industry’s decline is that it’s mostly driven by young people’s lack of interest. For perspective, the top grossing movie in America since 1995 has been, if not directly a ‘kids movie’, then at least a movie which would both appeal to kids, and was made to be something you could bring a kid to, which means pg-13 (Domestic 5). In fact, the only top grossing movie in America since 1995 that wasn’t really a kid’s movie was Titanic in 1997. But since 1995 (when the top grossing film was Batman Forever: George Clooney rubber nipples anyone?), seven of the top grossing movies were superhero movies, and four were Star Wars movies. But kids today don’t give a flying fuck about tracking down a movie they actually want to see, planning a time to actually hang out with one another, look up showtimes, go all the way out to a theater, then either go out to a restaurant before the show, or shell out another $25 for a large soda, large drink, and some candy. You could sneak candy into the theater, but even still, you’re paying almost an entire month’s worth of Netflix streaming subscription, with the price of an average movie ticket at $8.97 (Kilday 1).
But the biggest threat to films is twofold: First, kids today don’t have a real memory of the ‘great films’ they sat down and watched with their parents. I went to a state school with a big film program, and when I asked some people what film they saw that made them want to become filmmakers one answer included Bridesmaids, so the fucking cultural milieu is a goddamned cesspool right now. Sorry, but when I talk to you about ‘Film’ (not just ‘movies’) you’d better have a favorite Akira Kurosawa movie, you should be able to tell me just about everything Alfred Hitchcock ever did, down to the number of times he scratched his testicles on the set of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and for Christ’s sake, if you don’t have some very fucking strong opinions about “Star Wars”, for or against, you may as well just quit while you’re ahead.
But that’s the world we live in today. The world where everything is upside down; where ‘the children are our future’ turned into ‘in the future we’ll all be so geriatric we turn into children’ (just look at the way the country is being run right now), where ‘art’ became a thing of the past, and where the Pulitzer Prize became so desperate to stay culturally relevant, they gave Kendrick Lamar the Pulitzer in music (yes, such a thing exists, and no, most years it just goes out to some nobody, not a guy who’s songs mostly consist of lyrics like
‘I make a play fuckin’ up your whole life
I’m so fuckin’ sick and tired of the Photoshop
Show me somethin’ natural like afro on Richard Pryor
Show me somethin’ natural like ass with some stretchmarks’
I don’t know, maybe I’m just a 500 year old dessicated corpse of an old man. I prefer my ‘movies’ be films; I sit there lamenting the removal of more and more movies from Netflix, hate watching one Netflix original after the next. If you’re considering suicide I suggest you turn on ‘Santa Clarita Diet’ because your life could be worse: being a zombie wouldn’t be that bad, but you could be Drew Barrymore: that would be hell.
Kilday, Gregg. “Average Price of a Movie Ticket Rises to $8.97 in 2017”. hollywoodreporter.com, Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Group, 17 Jan. 2018, https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/average-price-a-movie-ticket-soars-897-2017-1075458.
“Domestic Movie Theatrical Market Summary 1995 to 2018”. the-numbers.com, Nash Information Services LLC, 2018, https://www.the-numbers.com/market/.