Going to the movies has been a consistent cornerstone of entertainment for everyone. For many, a night at the cinema is the perfect way to escape the chaos of life and experience something amazing and special. However, as of late, I’ve noticed something regarding the general public and how they have approached movies, at least in the theaters. From what I see, many are burnt out with what is being offered in theaters as of late. The past decade was dominated by franchise films, especially superhero movies and sequels. While they raked in billions for a good while, it seems like the overreliance on them and the recent burst of oversaturation with a lower average of quality have impacted audience investment.
Given that these movies were the main center of popular culture for the last decade or so, many wonder if there will be something new to take its place or if studios will keep trying to milk their cash cows in spite of the issues. It also brings up the question of what audiences will get attached to now that a lot of the big recent cultural centerpieces at the movies have started to fade. However, as a fellow film lover, I want to give a suggestion to people who feel disinterested in recent Hollywood fare. I was in a similar position of enjoying most of what was offered by big franchises and studio films, but eventually felt they just didn’t offer enough anymore to incentivize a ticket purchase. I enjoyed plenty of them, but I also felt like it was becoming more of the same and I wanted something new.
However, around the same time, I started to diversify the types of movies I would watch. I gained a desire to change up my pallet since the usual stuff wasn’t giving me much and I wanted to get more out of my movie-watching experiences. I started to go see films like Dune, Everything, Everywhere, All At Once, and Nope in theaters that were less traditional and a bit more niche compared to the franchise films that were coming out around the same time. As that went on, I also started watching older films that, while classics, I had never given much thought to beforehand. With my desire to watch new types of movies, however, I had garnered a new appreciation for them and wanted to watch as many as I could. I still gave attention to some of the big studio films, but I was decisive with what I watched in that regard and only chose the films that I believed were either distinctive or gave me something new.
All of these attributes, from my perspective, made me appreciate movies far more than ever. I have been able to watch longer films, get attached to more artistic and auteur-driven films, and simply have a desire to watch more movies than ever. In this regard, I just believe that I have grown in terms of being a film watcher. Whether it was a natural thing or brought on by my mixed emotions with recent films, it’s likely a bit of both. What the change offered was different types of viewing experiences and finding new films and genres that I fell in love with. Regardless, I think that the mindset I gained is something that many others should take after.
I think that, for a lot of people, the solution to burnout from recent Hollywood films is to try and watch new types of movies whether new or old. Go watch that movie you were curious about, but left on your streaming watchlist. Try movies with different genres, directors, and styles that you never considered before. Given that most of the huge hits of the last decade were mostly the same type of movie, I feel that a lot of people are craving something different in terms of substance and presentation.
One could argue that the general public might not be as receptive to every type of movie and might be turned off by some. Some see the general public as a bit fickle with how they approach movies since they only view them as entertainment and can be dismissive towards going out of their comfort zone. I don’t disagree and understand where a lot of people are coming from, I also feel that finding new experiences is the beauty of movies. Exploring new stories and characters is part of what makes them enjoyable and doing the same through viewing new types of films is not so different. Even if you don’t get into a certain type of movie, I guarantee you will find something of value from it or that by continuing to explore, you will find something new that is more to your taste. I personally know for a fact that not every single type of movie will appeal to me, but I also recognize that I can still give them a try since even something I never expected could hit just right.
As of late though, I feel that there is a possibility that general audiences are actually shifting towards a similar mindset. This is visible through the Barbenheimer trend of this summer. Not only were these two different movies successful due to shared audience interest, but they were far different than most of the movies that made most of the money over the past decade. One was a 3-hour drama mostly featuring people talking and the other was a bizarre experiment of letting an auteur director do whatever she wanted with a huge property. They likely wouldn’t have been as big of hits in the years that franchises and superhero films dominated. But I believe that, in combination with the social media trend, these two movies attracted audiences through their unique appeal and how they felt distinctive compared to most movies general viewers tend to see. They were an answer for many who wanted something new to see and it shows that audiences will try something new if presented to them in a certain way.
I do want to say that this isn’t me railing on blockbusters or established films. In my eyes, film can serve two purposes: to be an artistic expression and to entertain. If you want to simply entertain, that’s great since escapism is an important reason why movies are around. However, I also believe that there needs to be some effort in the entertainment being offered. If a movie isn’t giving you something new, interesting, or is just doing the bare minimum, then maybe you should look for something different. Watching action or comedy films from smaller studios or ones outside of the huge brands could be a good alternative. If you want to entertain, then put your all into it and give the audience something worthwhile. I also do want to say that if you still enjoy the current blockbusters or franchise films, then that’s great. I do not want to criticize someone for enjoying something. I just want to provide an alternative to those who have grown a bit detached or want to try something different.
Regardless, I believe that film culture is at a crossroads. We’ve spent so much time on established properties to the point that fatigue is starting to become noticeable. I think that audiences do want something new and that changing their viewing habits and opening themselves up with what they watch would do wonders for their enjoyment of movies.
So, if you feel like there isn’t much to go see in the theaters, why not try something different? I will guarantee that if you choose something new, you will find something worthwhile in one way or another.