July 23, 2017

MEGAN MCARDLE: ‘Dunkirk’ and the Great Films That Won’t Be Made.

Having recovered, I began to wonder why we can’t have more pictures like “Dunkirk.” The easy answer is, of course, that there is only one Christopher Nolan, and only so many people willing to give him $150 million to spend putting thousands of extras and some World War II-era ordnance onto a French beach. But the easy answer is incomplete.

It is getting rarer for a genius like Nolan to be given substantial sums of money to put their vision on the screen. Instead, the substantial sums go to “franchise films.” The pursuit of blockbuster movies is becoming less of an act of creation, and more an exercise in brand management. Franchises generate box office revenue, merchandising revenue and what economists call option value: “Furious 7” does not simply bring ticket revenue for the studio, but also the ability to make more revenue through Fast and Furious Episodes 8, 9, 10 and onward to “The Fast and the Furious 987.”

Comic book movies, redos, and redos of comic book movies. A vast wasteland.