The Cougar Claw

Lack of movie diversity isn’t the problem

Jack Gross, Movie Critic

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Summer 2018 was a good season for theaters, film studios, and audiences alike. The summer was dominated by blockbuster goliaths like Jurassic Park Fallen Kingdom, Deadpool 2, and Mission Impossible: Fallout. Audiences however, have voiced frustration at the lack of variety with films today. It seems every big movie is a remake, spin-off, sequel, or a superhero movie. The modern moviegoer may voice their distaste over the lack of creativity in films, but that hasn’t stopped them from going to their local movie theater and watching these films.

When one looks at the top 10 grossing films of Summer 2018, the results are shocking. There are four sequels (Incredibles 2, Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom, Deadpool 2, and Equalizer 2,)  three spin-offs (Ocean’s 8, Mama Mia! Here We Go Again, and Solo: A Star Wars Story,) a superhero movie (Ant-Man and the Wasp) and two movies that are the third and sixth installments in their respective franchises (Hotel Transylvania 3, and Mission Impossible: Fallout).

The exception to this however, has been the subtle rise of independent films over the past few years. For those that aren’t 100% positive what independent films are, I’ll fill you in. Independent films are films done either without a production company, or with a small production company not owned or ran by big studios (Fox, Universal, Paramount, etc.) These films usually have much smaller budgets than normal films, and also have more creative control because they don’t have major studios looking at every choice they make. These sorts of films have been defined over the years as films for snobs; films that not many people will see but will win major awards. However, this has slowly been changing over the past few years.

In 2017, Get Out, a sleeper hit, made a surprising $252 million worldwide, (February-August 2018) making it one of the highest grossing independent films of all time. In 2018, an independent  production company named A24 released a film by the name of Hereditary. Hereditary grossed a little under $80 million dollars worldwide. That may not be as impressive as Get Out’s earnings but for an independent film, $80 million is a huge milestone.

It may seem that A24 came out of nowhere, but silently, they have been making award winning and audience approved films for the past few years now. Movies like Moonlight, Lady Bird, Ex Machina, and Room have all earned more money than could be expected for indie films. Additionally, A24 films have been praised by audiences and critics alike. Of the four films mentioned, they range from 79% to 93% on Rotten Tomatoes’ Audience Score. This means that more that ¾ of the people that watched these films liked them. Out of the top 10 summer blockbuster films I mentioned earlier, their audience scores range anywhere from 47% to 90%. Not only are these scores lower, but they also show a higher range, meaning these films can be more unpredictable as to whether or not audiences like them. A24 films have also been nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Screenplay, and more.

The whole point of this is not to say independent films are better than blockbuster films, nor that you should go see only watch independent films in theaters. My message is that for those complaining about the same movies being recycled over and over, there are movies out there. Films aren’t becoming less diverse, it’s just that the bigger budget films are getting more press. The problem lies when these studios make hundreds of millions of dollars releasing remakes, spinoffs. Sequels, and superhero movies.If they keep making these kind of money, the industry won’t see new creative movies as profitable, instead they will turn to the formula that has yet to fail them. Why fix something if it doesn’t need to be fixed?

Maybe instead of going to see a movie you will complain about later, actively look for different movies to watch. If you want to watch a unique movie, you simply need to find it. These are the types of films that don’t feel like they need to bombard you with advertisements or put in hundreds of millions of dollars to tell a simple story. A different and unique film is out there, you just aren’t looking in the right place.

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Lack of movie diversity isn’t the problem