Ed Driscoll

Welcome to the Party, Fellas

“Are we witnessing the death spiral of the Hollywood blockbuster?” Io9 asks:

The Hollywood blockbuster was born in the late 1970s with Jaws and Star Wars. [That would be news to David Lean and Cecil B. DeMille — Ed] Will we see it die in our lifetimes?It seems silly to talk about the death of the big-budget movie spectacular now, when we’re about to have the most ridiculously overstuffed movie summer ever. Jon Favreau described summer 2011 as a “bloodbath,” with massive, ambitious films coming out almost every weekend from May to August.

There were just seven movies with budgets over $100 million in 2000. In 2005, there were 13, and in 2010, there were 20, according to this chart. (I’m pretty sure it’s not inflation-adjusted though.)

But actually, the coming mega-movie overload is a symptom. Movies are selling fewer tickets than they used to, and it seems like the glut of giant movies is an attempt to goose studios’ bottom lines and increase the chances of getting an Avatar-style home run. After talking to a ton of box-office analysts a few days ago for our feature about how you can tell if a film’s been profitable, it seems clearer than ever that the movie industry is in trouble.

“So will the last moviegoer shut off the projector when he leaves the theater, please,” I asked over five years ago at Tech Central Station.