Blockbusters – Where Did They Come From ?

Now as sometimes happens when summer roles around the movie landscape is either dominated by blockbusters or all those movie that are more left of field or avant garde start to appear. So for this week I have stepped away from the movie reviews,

Prior to the start of summer as regular as clockwork the movie choices become thinner on the ground for the regular movie goer. It become less what movie will I go and see today and more is there a movie that I can go and see today.

Blockbusters are quite literally the tent poles that keep up the rest of the studios entertainment circus tent. If a summer blockbuster clicks with the movie audience then the movie studios can pop the corks and rejoice, if the opposite happens well the result is not pretty.

There is some dispute as to where the term originates from but more than likely it refers to the success of a movie and the resulting line of people that appears outside the cinema and goes right around the block to borrow from an American phrase.

Some summer blockbusters have quite literally saved a studio’s bacon. A famous case being the Rogers and Hammerstein musical, The Sound Of Music which actually came out around a time in the 1960’s when the popularity of musicals was actually on the wain. 20th Century Fox had sunk quite an amount of money into a historical epic Cleopatra which had not paid off and the studio was on the verge of becoming bankrupt, it was The Sound Of Music that brought it back from the brink.

Maybe it’s just me being nostalgic, but I believe the era of the true great movie summer blockbusters has passed. Let’s be honest here it is the movies of two American directors in the late 70’s and early 80’s that can rightly be called summer blockbusters. These two directors are Steven Spielberg and George Lucas.

You only need to hear the opening bars of the theme tunes of any of their most successful movies and you are transported back to that summer where you first saw them. To this day I still look around when getting into the water, scanning the surface to see if a silver fin is emerging from the depths.

Throwing lots of money at a summer movie to make sure it succeeds has never worked. A great story narrative will cover up the holes in  a movie’s special effects budget. After all the shark in Jaws wasn’t even real and the Star Destroyer in the opening scene of Star Wars : A New Hope was a model but still dominates the screen to this day.



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