A recent graduate of East Carolina University with a Bachelors and Film and Video Production, my interest range from literature, music, theatre, and of course, film.

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Are Blockbusters in Trouble?

The summer of 2019 has offered a plethora of films to entertain the masses, but there has been a strange trend in recent releases. Films such as "Godzilla: King of the Monsters", "Aladdin", and "Dark Phoenix", which can be considered standard blockbusters have been receiving middle-of-the-line to flat out bad reviews from critics and audiences, and for "Godzilla: King of the Monsters" and "Dark Phoenix" this had led to lower-than-expected showings at the box office. But it goes further than that; "Toy Story 4", part of a beloved franchise and from a studio known for making juggernaut hits, is reported to come in less than expected at the domestic box office. Are audiences turning their backs on blockbusters or are they just not going to the theaters? Could all of this be blowback from "Avengers: Endgame"’s performance critically and monetarily; for comparison did a similar instance happen in 2009 with the release of "Avatar"? Does this foreshadow anything for upcoming blockbusters?

  • Great article idea. As a side note, I keep seeing articles about how the summer theatrical rerun of Spirited Away has been beating Toy Story 4 in the Chinese market. Does this speak to a difference between newer movies versus older ones? Different expectations? Is it the cost of movie attendance? There are many different angles to take on this topic and I would be excited to see where it could go. – Eden 5 years ago
  • Awesome idea! I like the final note on whether you think this is part of a wider trend. Can you explain a little bit more what you mean by this? What do you think might be causing it? I think needs to be drawn out a little bit more. Also, can you think of another example of this happening (other than now and 2009) and if so, what does this suggest about their being some sort of trend of flops following major successful blockbuster releases like Avatar and Endgame. – Elpis1988 5 years ago
  • This honestly sounds like a great way to discuss online streaming services and a possible lack of creative ability in the current media landscape! There‚Äôs many ways this can branch out, good luck! – rosiemanuouiha 5 years ago

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Latest Comments

In terms of the film, I think it easily addresses the problems of isolationism you’ve discussed as one of the major themes. The scene in which T’Challa confronts his father and the rest of the ancestors, he not only scolds his father for abandoning Killmonger as a child but calls out all of his ancestors for the generational fear that led to Wakanda ignoring the needy.

The introduction of Killmonger into T’Challa’s life (as well as Nakia back into his life) was the catalyst for recognizing the problem on a wider scale. Killmonger understood the wrong in isolating yourself and took action to help the people he saw were suffering, but for him, that meant hurting anyone that stood in his way. Nakia saw how to help the needy the right way, but, at the time, that meant separating herself from the rest of Wakanda. T’Challa is the combination of both of these thoughts, using Wakanda’s resources to help those in need, not through fear, but through communication and brotherhood.

Though the film has its flaws, I don’t think Black Panther’s take on isolationism was one of them. Not only did it explain why some may want to believe in isolation, mostly equating it to fear and self-conservation, but through T’Challa’s arc, the film explores what it takes to break the generations of fear, what can go wrong if we don’t, and what can happen when we do.

The Moral Horror of Black Panther

First off I really appreciated this article; I consider myself a writer and pieces like yours remind me why I have to continue my pursuits to better myself as a storyteller and be a more disciplined advocate for the world I want to live in.

With that, I wanted to touch on the Suzanne Collins anecdote of how readers would sometimes perceive her work as an allegory for adolescents rather than one for wars and governments. I think that relationship between author and reader is so interesting; an author can guide readers to certain ideas but cannot always make the two trains of thought align. It is a reminder that just as writers bring experiences and ideologies to a story, so do the readers. The background of a reader can determine the characteristics and themes that they choose to project onto a story.

That why storytelling is such a collaborative effort; writers provide all the ingredients of a story, but it really is up to the reader to create meaning out of it all, and the combination of that is the formation of reality.

Creative Writing is the Sincerest Form of Reality

Since it was announced, the idea of a Matt Reeves-directed Batman movie has always interested me. Looking at the two ‘Planet of the Apes’ films that he directed as well as a film like ‘Cloverfield’, I found the way that Reeves is able to maintain the feel of a character drama in a setting as outlandish as, say, apes taking over the world has always impressed me. When Robert Pattison was announced as the lead, this, at least in my mind, further solidified that once again Reeves is focusing more on the character of Batman/Bruce Wayne than the icon and extravagance. Robert Pattison has made long strides in his acting career with projects like ‘The Lost City of Z’, ‘High Life’, and ‘Good Time’, where he was able to portray flawed and complex characters, a skill I think will be heavily utilized in his portrayal of Batman.

My one concern, like yours, is the fan perception. I thought it was an interesting choice for Pattison, who started off in two huge franchise films (Harry Potter and Twilight) and saw the wild nature that fans of such properties can possess, entered a period of smaller, character-driven indie films, gaining acclaim in those roles, to once again return to a franchise with ravenous fans. And in this time of social media where bad perception can greatly hamper the overall promotional-narrative of a project, creatives have to be extremely careful to maintain interest and “virality” around their work. My only hope is that Reeves, Pattison, and the rest of the cast/crew of this film can deliver something that will suffice new and old fans of the dark knight.

To Succeed, Robert Pattinson Needs To Embody Matt Reeves's Vision of Batman