If you have seen a Marvel movie in theaters recently, you know that if you stay through the credits there is one or two bonus scenes that hint at the future of the Marvel cinematic universe (MCU). You also know that the credits take about 15 minutes to scroll through the names of every one who worked on the movie. The editors, crew, cast, engineers, artists and producers only make up a fraction of the list. There are thousands of names that scroll through the screen to make sure everyone gets credit for the film.
While I think it is great so many people can contribute to a movie, I think we have gotten to a point where it is a little much. The movie business, at least big budget films have become an assembly line, much like what Ford did with the car. Yes, this does allow movies to be done faster but that is not necessarily a good thing. Most people by now have heard of the “Disney” formula because all of their movies follow the same general line in terms of story and production. Disney and the other big studios have fallen into this routine because they know what works and what makes money.
No big budget movies today are original, everything is a remake, a sequel, or loosely based on another movie. This has happened because no major studio wants to take a chance on a new idea because of the risk of loosing money. I don’t blame them, why take such a great risk when a tried-and-true formula makes big money. After all these production studios are simply businesses making a profit.
In the past, successful movies were so great because of their originality and willingness to take chances. Two examples from my experience are Star Wars and Star Trek (I am sure there are more examples from genres outside of sic-fi as well). Star Wars came from a young George Lucas who had a vision and spent years pursing that vision to create “Star Wars”, a universe we all know and love to this day. Star Trek constantly took chances by exploring controversial topics like communism, racism, and ethical dilemmas. The show was not afraid to boldly go where no show has gone before. Both these examples took big risks that led to high rewards.
I am not saying every risk will lead to a great reward. I believe that by taking risks, at least a few of them will pay off in huge ways that make up for the failures. Disney, Universal, and 20th Century Fox should take risks on young visionaries and give them the ability to create to movies and universes that could be a big hit. Unfortunately, these companies are content in their current state and don’t have the desire to explore risky ideas. Because of this, the movie “assembly line” has been created where each person has a very specific job that results in an end product that works, but doesn’t do anything new or exciting.
In my business class we discussed “Marketing Myopia”, where a business looses sight of how to innovate because their current product works in the current condition but may not in the future. I think Hollywood is reaching this Myopia and will learn soon enough that the same formula will get tiresome and in order to stay ahead, you must be a “future-thinker”.
Basically as long as we have this assembly line of movies, we wont see anything really innovative for a while.