Steven Spielberg is widely recognized as one of the most innovative filmmakers in Hollywood. When Spielberg speaks, people tend to listen…even if what he’s saying isn’t necessarily what they want to hear.
While once again warning that Hollywood’s obsession with blockbusters will lead to an implosion, Spielberg said, “We were around when the Western died and there will be a time when the superhero movie goes the way of the Western. It doesn’t mean there won’t be another occasion where the Western comes back and the superhero movie someday returns.”
“Of course, right now the superhero movie is alive and thriving,” continued Spielberg. “I’m only saying that these cycles have a finite time in popular culture. There will come a day when the mythological stories are supplanted by some other genre that possibly some young filmmaker is just thinking about discovering for all of us.”
The superhero’s time in popular culture dates back to the early twentieth century, and 2017 will be the 100th anniversary of the word “superhero.” Contrary to Spielberg’s prediction, there seems to be a renewed interest in superheroes, especially now that Marvel and DC are more eagerly embracing a diverse lineup.
As for superhero movies, the modern era began with either Blade in 1998, or X-Men in 2000. The genre has survived a few flops in the ensuing years and there have been more blockbusters than failures. If Spielberg’s prediction is going to come true anytime soon, it will be when both Marvel Studios and Warner Bros. are releasing several new superhero films in a row alongside Fox and Sony. That could eventually lead to a superhero burnout with general audiences. The recent Fantastic Four flameout didn’t do the genre any favors, and there are even some fans (and Hollywood pundits) who can’t make the distinction between Fox’s Marvel movies and the ones released by Marvel itself. Still, it seems a little early to be predicting the decline of superhero movies.
But here’s a prediction that’s far more likely to come true in the short term. Hollywood will ignore Spielberg’s warnings and continue to rely on potential blockbusters…forcing Spielberg and other “serious” filmmakers to either adapt to much smaller budgets for their passion projects or else they will move to television and embrace the longform storytelling that the medium offers.
What do you think movie fans? Share your predictions about Hollywood and superhero movies in the comment section below!
HT: Associated Press
Photo Credit: Frederic J. Brown / Getty Images