Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny didn’t land so well. Of course, that can change over time since anything is possible in the film industry. But the fact that the fifth installment is both behind in the domestic and international markets simply isn’t a good sign. However, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny isn’t the only big-budget flop in recent times.
The Flash didn’t hold up any better. Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quatuamania and Shazam! Fury of the Gods were no better financially. Transformers: Rise of the Beast and Fast Five were notable declines as well. The year 2019 had eight films that made over $1 billion worldwide. That was the final year before the pandemic started. However, the coronavirus pandemic can no longer be used as an excuse for why these big-budget blockbusters are flopping so hard. Big-budget films are killing Hollywood, and studios executives desperately need to take notice.
The Insane Budgets Are Killing The Films Themselves
In reality, if a film doesn’t have a good script, then it’s doomed the moment shooting begins. However, bad films don’t always start out with terrible scripts. One of the most infamous is Natural Born Killers, written by Quentin Tarantino. However, the director changed the script, and it didn’t resemble the original vision of the Oscar winner.
That’s pretty much what most big budgets films go through. When funding a film that has nearly $300 million in production budget, it needs to be a hit. Studios will often purchase a great script. However, they change it to suit the masses. Films of this nature become heavily micro-managed because they aim to ensure the studio gets back the money they invested.
In turn, executives make changes that turn out to be formulaic and pedestrian. But these blockbusters have to cater to the mainstream in order even to get a chance at reaching a billion. Killing the creative side of blockbusters eliminates any bold creative choices that could’ve excited audiences. After all, these films reached such a high level of status from the beginning because they were original and bold content that excited audiences around the world.
Studios Have Seemingly Forgotten Why Properties Like Indiana Jones Became Huge In The First Place
Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark had a production budget of $20 million. Alien had a budget of $11 million. Jurassic Park had a budget of $63 million. Deadpool was $53 million. The point is that they didn’t get popular because they were big-budget films. They became popular because they were bold and fresh content that captured the attention of audiences around the world.
That sort of strategy seems to be lost in translation. The first Marvel film that kicked off the MCU was Iron Man, which had an astounding $140 million tag. But it worked because that film was so darn good. In fact, Phases one through four were nearly perfect because Marvel greatly mastered the storytelling aspect. Studios need to go back to the drawing board and understand that their risk-taking in the stories they told was what hooked audiences in the first place.
Blockbusters Feel Like Cash Cows
Hollywood only cares about money. To be fair, though, that should be the model for any business. Still, audiences don’t care about the financial aspects of Tinseltown. They want a good product that’s worth investing their time and resources in. It doesn’t help that the cost of tickets continues to rise. People these days are more selective about what movie they want to see because it’s not 1948 anymore.
It’s understandable why executives are solely focused on the financial portion of any film. They want to make sure they get a big return on their investment. But movies like Indiana Jones or Fast X feel like cash cows at this point, nothing less or nothing more. You know where the story is going or can see clearly as day that these films are trying to check off boxes that satisfy the mainstream.
There’s nothing wrong with having a blockbuster film. In fact, it would suck if blockbusters stop existing. But there needs to be a healthy balance of blockbusters and low-budget films (outside of horror) that can tackle different demographics. An insane budget doesn’t matter if the film doesn’t present something fresh or original.