The dispute of what is wrong with cinema continues to spike as unoriginal book adaptations and disappointing sequels continues to dominate the screens in recent years. Moreover, while such films generate short-term profit through connections to known books and previous films, the loss of creativity in cinema drives the industry further and further away from meaningful film making.
And the fuel for the film industry’s deterioration lies in the industry’s desperate pursuit of profit, especially amidst declining theater attendance in the pandemic-impacted years.
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the mass closure of movie theaters brought devastation upon the film industry: as streaming services have weaved its way into the lives of many, audiences who once enjoyed films in theaters now watched movies from the comfort of their home via streaming services. s Consequently, in 2020, film revenue came out to $25.9 billion which was a 27% decline from 2019 where the revenue was $35.3 billion. If it were not for the pandemic, the film industry could have been producing even better pieces that would impact millions of people. As the hit from Covid was detrimental to our society, studios are constantly producing “hype” movies that tie in with these new “woke” concepts solely to attract audiences and in a sense push away the effects of Covid.
Studios like Warner Bros, Universal Pictures, and Paramount Pictures have caught on to society’s new modern ideas of being “woke” as social media has taken over writers’ ideas and turned these films into money grabbing advertisements. Product placement, when references to specific brands within a movie, went from being a hidden nod to a brand to now being blatantly placed everywhere in numerous scenes making it movies feel too real. Films are supposed to be an escape from reality for the audience, help people to relax, and give opportunities to appreciate the art of cinema. However, these new films that are being produced attempt to make everything relatable because directors think it will attract a certain type of audience or bring in a large revenue just because of the relevant ideas in the storyline.
Additionally, society’s attention span has decreased over time as the rise of TikTok and other social media platforms. When people use their device to watch a 15 second video off social media instead of doing something productive, it can easily turn into a problem. Adding onto the slow decrease of their attention span day by day. Devices play into the desires of excitement and serotonin which a three hour movie can not do justice for when people are so used to their handheld screens. Even if movies are being played at the comfort of people’s homes, they still have the tendency to hit pause and never pick up the remote to continue the film.
Though people can not be blamed as screenwriters are leaning towards the new social construct of politics and it is rare to see an original concept. Characters are cliche as they want to write a specific stereotype into every movie and write a storyline that ends in a predictable manner. Even knowledgeable directors that are respected in the film industry have cliche ideologies within the film. Christopher Nolan, who directed pieces like Interstellar, Inception, The Dark Knight, and his newest work Oppenheimer, places a character in all his movies that blatantly states the plot of the movie where it is later enacted in the film. The surprise and excitement of the plotlines have seemed to drift off into time as loopholes are common now in the entertainment industry. Audiences are left wondering what happened to certain characters or specific events because the storyline just continues without explanation of the sub plots.
Originality is dead when our cinema is filled with unoriginal adaptations and sequels. What happened to the studio executives that envisioned creative ideas? The films that brought out emotion and inspiration? Movies should be filled with cinematic scenes that can only be seen at their best potential in a theater. Not the embarrassing storylines that feel satire to a generation which looked like they were filmed on a phone camera. I hope to see filmmakers bring back what once made life feel so bright and not make every single film circumscribed within a certain theme. It is imperative that the incoming generations have the opportunity to generate insight on true authentic filmmaking. The industry is dying and needs to be looked at in a way to help it get better to what it used to be. Mass- producing such low quality and unoriginal projects for the sake of profit will only drive audiences away from cinema instead of reeling them into an immersive experience. Studios must dig deep and revive their creativity through their work in order to truly grab people’s attention to understand the importance of an authentic film.