CMU School of Drama

Monday, September 26, 2016

We Tell Ourselves Franchises in Order to Live

Filmmaker Magazine: Last weekend I took a trip to the Regal Union Square Stadium 14 and paid seventeen bucks to see Blair Witch. Based on the reviews, I was pretty certain that I wasn’t going to like it very much (spoiler alert: I was right). But still I felt compelled to hop the Q train and head into Manhattan to meet my friend at the multiplex.

What brought me out there?


Lucy Scherrer said...

This is one of those articles that expressed an idea I've often felt, but have never been able to put into words. This is the exact reason that, despite the fact that I knew deep down in my heart that Jurassic World was going to be one of the worst movies of the summer of 2015, I had to see it anyways. And when it was just as bad as I subconsciously knew it would be, I wasn't even that upset that I had just wasted $12 and two hours of my life, because I had gone into it with such low expectations. What the author of this article said was absolutely true: I knew that Jurassic Park could never actually be recreated in its fully awesome glory, I just wanted to see something that was vaguely like it and had the honor of being the "official" spin-off. I wouldn't have paid $12 to see a random dinosaur movie, but I would do it for a Jurassic Park franchise movie. That's the paradox of the movie franchise concept, but also the reason why they make so much money in the first place.

Amanda Courtney said...

I think the author really hits this cultural phenomenon on the nose in this article. I was recently subject to this very happening. I grew up and cut my newly minted reading teeth on the Harry Potter series. Midnight release events for the books. When the movies started coming out, I was growing up right along with the cast, and was perhaps a part of the generation that most directly identified with and experienced the same growing pains as Ron, Harry, and Hermione. So, now almost 22 years old, when I heard that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was going to be released as a play (how pertinent to my theater interests!), I disregarded the general disappointment and the less-than-raving reviews and picked up a copy. It now sits, less than one third read, in all it hardback glory on my coffee table. My childhood has - perhaps painfully aptly - culminated in a coffee table book. Growing pains indeed. This system of bait-and-continue is obnoxiously effective, and I do not see any signs of it slowing down. The content audiences crave in immersive, and more escapist than ever before. It takes more to hold an audience member's attention now, and I think this call for ultimate immersion is a direct product of that shortened attention span.