Summer 2018 is just beginning, but are we already experiencing blockbuster fatigue?
It’s no secret that with so many television networks and streaming services now available, the entertainment landscape has been becoming more and more over-saturated for years. There are just so many great options to choose from and so many avenues from which to get entertainment, that it’s become impossible to consume everything that we find interesting.
Unfortunately, nowadays, it’s not feasible to be on top of all the big fandoms. I gave up on keeping up with all the “water cooler conversation” pieces years ago, vowing to watch only the things that I love most. Luckily, most of the big movie franchises fall into that criteria. The excitement generated by those movie releases is difficult to not get swept up in, and most of them have been highly successful in recent years at telling compelling stories with interesting characters.
Even though there’s an insurmountable amount of quality entertainment out there, until now, the size and scale of the large blockbuster movies still made it such that there was a digestible quantity. Without too much effort, you could make it out to the movies to see the ones that everyone was excited about, and keep up with the hype. However, in 2018, the supply might be surpassing a reasonable level of consumption.
Pretty much every big film franchise released/will release at least one movie in 2018. Before this year is over, we’ll have been treated to movies from Star Wars, the Wizarding World, DC, Maze Runner, Jurassic World, Fifty Shades and Pixar, and no less than five Marvel movies, including Deadpool 2 and Venom. Not to mention the other big movies like Ocean’s 8, Mary Poppins Returns and Ready Player One.
Within the first four weeks of summer alone, three movies with powerful fandom followings premiered. Avengers: Infinity War started off the summer blockbuster season and was closely followed by Solo: A Star Wars Story and Deadpool 2. While the two Marvel comics based movies thrived, Solo’s performance didn’t meet expectations.
The disappointing performances of huge movies like Solo: A Star Wars Story and Ready Player One, which would usually be considered “sure things,” could be due to the fact that there are simply too many massive movies coming out, this year.
While superfans are known for their unreasonable levels of excitement, hype really is a finite resource. We can only direct the power of our fandom toward so many things at once.
I was recently asked what movies I was excited about seeing this summer, and it took me a while to come up with anything! Both because I was lost in the hype of Solo/Deadpool 2 week, and because with so many things on the horizon, I’m finding it difficult to get super excited about any of it.
Poor box office performances seem like an indication that I’m not the only one who’s suffering from the overwhelming 2018 slate. As the year continues and box office numbers keep rolling in, we’ll really see if fans are willing to support this quantity of huge blockbuster films, or if it’s simply too much.
In an interesting twist, the films that have gained some of the most traction in the collective consciousness this year are lower budget, more emotional ventures like Love, Simon and The Quiet Place. Obviously, it’s not only the quantity of movies that are turning fans off. Maybe fans are growing tired of huge blockbuster ventures and are instead just favoring different types of stories.
Blockbuster fatigue could be a problem that regulates itself. The big movies certainly aren’t getting any cheaper to make, so if they aren’t pulling in the same numbers at the box office, studios won’t be able to support these large scale productions. They could increase ticket prices, but with illegal downloads being more accessible than ever, that’s just not a sustainable solution. If movie tickets get too expensive, fans won’t be able to pay to see them!
This could lead to more resources for smaller films, which would be great, but we can’t ignore what we’d be losing if the blockbusters went away. We love these worlds and these characters. That’s why the big franchises have been so successful for so long.
For fans, it’s great that our favorite things are being adapted and expanded. We want to be excited, but in 2018, we’re feeling a little overwhelmed by the level of hype required.
With the MCU expanding, more Star Wars trilogies announced, and the DCEU trying to find its footing, the quantity of blockbuster movies is showing no signs of decreasing. Over the next few years, we’ll see if fans will adapt, or if the studios will have to change their plans to meet demand.