Steven Spielberg told the associated press “There will be a time when the superhero movie goes the way of the Western,” That is quite the statement in the current climate of big budget movies filling seats and filling the coffers of the movie Execs. First gut reaction was “What he must be crazy.” I do how ever want to take a more in depth look at the statement.
First of all I live in the town of Kanab also know as Little Hollywood. Why is it called that you ask? Well a good portion of western movies and TV shows were filmed here and their sets still can be seen today. So westerns are a big part of this towns culture and also a lot of the residence still are Cowboys and Gals. The town enjoys the history of the boom of Western movies and we celebrate it every year with the western legends round up.
Westerns did diminish in production that is a fact. Hollywood decided to move on and focus on other genres. They did not how ever stop releasing good western movies here is a list of movies over the past few years and these are just of the top of my head.
- Cowboys and Aliens
- True Grit
- 3-10 to Yuma
So is the the genre dead. No It has never been dead. People still want to be that cowboy or out law fighting to survive.
I now come to Superhero movies. We have seen an explosion of good, no great movies that have enthralled the audiences with a chance to step in the shoes of their favorite hero of their childhood. Children are gaining a new respect for these characters too.
Both DC & Marvel have slated movies clear into 2020. Are they going to fill the seats up til then and into the future. I truly think they will because these types of movies are not new to us. Superman debuted in film and TV in the 1950s close to 65 years ago he alone has gone through many an TV show and Movie with huge followings. Many still believe Christopher Reeves is the Best Superman and not too mention the Smallville cult following is immense. I could go through many other comic book heroes and point out all there TV appearance and Movies they have been in but that could take me some time.
Will these movies slow down in popularity. Well more than likely nothing can sustain the growth it is currently enjoying. But will the disappear or become unpopular I say no. People always want to get away from their lives even if it is for two fantastical hours with their hero. Also look at the content available for Hollywood producer to draw on. content that already has a following a base to start from. Hollywood execs know that if they place the right project in the right hands they will be able to fill seats.
Not to say that all Superhero movies are made equal. We currently have had the opportunity to see two franchises that point out that it is all about who is at the helm on whether we receive a movie worth watching.
Guardians of the Galaxy stands out as a story line that had little following and was very obscure content that know one knew. I recall taking to a good friend of mine saying Marvel has done it wrong now. Oh how I was wrong. I went to go and see the movie and I was blown away by how I was drawn into the characters who I knew little about and enjoyed every minute of it.
Then there is Fantastic Four. This franchise was well known and people were excited for the reboot to see if it can live up to their expectation. Unfortunately it fell flat. Disjointed and a confusing plot showed that just putting on the title a famous franchise will not make it money.
So back to Spielberg’s statement to the press “Will they go the way of the western.” No I do not think so. I think the momentum will slow down but myself and so many others are excited to see where the genre takes us.