Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The 2012 Summer Movie Season

It is already September, which means that the summer movie season has come to an end. Three of the more interesting reviews of the season I've found are those posted at CinemaBlend, ComicBookMovie and IndieWire respectively. The first of these is organized around a discussion of the larger trends, the second around brief reviews of the season's major genre films. Indiewire considers the fortunes of particular directors, stars and studios.

Comic book superheroes remain kings of the action genre, and of the box office more generally, The Avengers a record-crushing success, The Dark Knight Rises another billion dollar-grosser, and even The Amazing Spiderman taking in over $700 million globally. The season has also had its share of animated hits (with Ice Age 4 yet another enormous draw globally, while Madagascar 3 and Brave also sold plenty of tickets). The 3-D format proved a significant factor in both sets of successes, still a draw when matched with the right films (making significant contributions to the triumph of the Avengers, for instance, the only really important exception to this pattern The Dark Knight Rises). Elsewhere the picture has been murkier, with a fair number of sequels, spin-offs and remakes no one asked for proving disappointments (Men in Black 3 a bit of a letdown, Battleship underperforming critically given its $200 million-plus budget, and Dark Shadows, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, The Watch and Total Recall all flopping outright) - though Ted became the season's biggest comedic hit, in a summer which failed to match the previous year's string of movies which scored with laughs rather than thrills.

The list of hits and misses strikes me as short on surprises, scarce even in the kind of noise analysts are prone to misread as signal, let alone signs of exciting new trends, or hints that Hollywood will be changing the way it does business in some meaningful way. Rather, what we have been getting is more of the same, both the good and the bad.

Cory Doctorow On Summer Blockbusters
New and Noteworthy (Ian Sales and the Hugos, SHIELD TV series, "Geeks" on Big Bang)
New and Noteworthy (Indie Publishing, A Call for More Dirk Pitt Movies, Rules for Cinematic Blockbusters)
New and Noteworthy (Underwire, McCalmont, Upcoming Movies)
9/4/12 So Far This Summer . . .
New and Noteworthy (Battleship, Skyfall, Superheroes)
New and Noteworthy (Avengers, "The End of SF"-Again, Fringe Renewed)
The Blockbuster Strategy
Coming This Year: Genre Movies in 2012
2011 Round-Up, Part II: Reflections on the Year That Was
The 2011 Summer Movie Season
"Was 2010 the Worst Year for Movies Ever?"
2010 in Review

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