Movie industry currently in valley, not peak

The movie industry has peaks and valleys. And I think it’s safe to say we’re mainly in a valley right now.

I make a list of the movies I have to see in the theaters every summer. It’s the second week of June and “Man of Steel” is the only movie left on my list. It opens Friday, which means that while I may go to the theater a few more times, I’m technically done with my summer movies before the first day of summer. It’s an odd shift.

The movies that succeed during the summer movie season are the comic book movies, which use the same characters over and over, and long-running franchises. I think it’s safe to say that the “Fast and the Furious” creators have a solid business plan: Market to a narrow, but loyal fan base and release the film early so you can avoid direct competition with the blockbusters and grab a few extra bucks around August with the “dollar theaters” you see in bigger cities. Don’t be surprised in May 2022 if “Fast 15” is the top grossing movie that weekend.

The other movies seem an uninspired lot. “The Internship,” with references to Harry Potter and X-Men, was derided by The Onion as the runaway hit comedy of 2005. And it won’t be too long before we get sequels to “Zoolander” and “Anchorman,” which only seem plausible to revisit because few good comedies have filled the decade.

With each discussion I have about the upcoming season of “Breaking Bad” or the current season of “Mad Men,” it’s clear that television is the format where the best stories are told.

Joss Whedon was given “The Avengers,” and did a solid job with the first movie, to the point that it’s arguably the best comic book movie ever (I still say “Spider-Man 2”). But will he tell a more enriching story with a $200 million “Avengers” movie every three years, or three seasons of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” on ABC? The average consumers will probably opt for 25-30 hours of entertainment in their living room instead of two hours in a dark theater with strangers.

I’m sure Clark Kent will be great, but the stories of Don Draper and Walter White have set the bar pretty high.

For years, fans of “Arrested Development” clamored for a movie. But after seeing a fourth season that supposedly set up a movie, plenty of fans are saying, “I’d rather have a fifth season.”

I can only wonder a few things.

How will the television industry screw up this advantage over the movie industry? If and when we get a la carte cable stations, will this help or hurt the stations that create groundbreaking TV?

Whatever the answers, I’m sure I’ll be entertained. I just hope my summer movie list is a little longer next year.

Kevin Wilson is a columnist for Clovis Media Inc. He can be contacted at 763-3431, ext. 313, or by email: kwilson@cnjonline.com

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