Sunday, August 03, 2008

Dark Knight, false dawn?

To quote from the latest Batman movie:

"The night is always darkest before the dawn."

And it was getting pretty dark out there for the movie business. It's been over ten years since the classic Titanic managed to get every man, woman and child excited enough to pay to see a movie at the cinema.

And now it's The Dark Knight that could pick up the mantle of being the most lucrative movie ever made.

But how, I hear you ask, can this be in an age of downloads and 500-inch digital plasma home entertainment?

Well, just as General Motors is pulling out all the stops to compete with Nissan and Toyota, the movie companies are having to put down more of their own money to ensure enough bums on seats and not couches.

But just as it may be a matter of time before people decide that buying a GM ve-hicle is just not worth it anymore, despite however many bells and whistles are added, people may eventually decide that paying to see something at the cinema, no matter how dazzling, is just not worth it either.


Make no mistake, Warner Brothers took a huge risk with the DK. At a time when everyone is paying more at the pump, leaving less in their wallets and who-knows-what happening to their home, spending over $100 million to produce a movie is enough to keep anyone up at night.

But for now, the risk paid off, right?

Well, not quite.

The Dark Knight was more than the latest blockbuster. It was an opportunity to get people back into the cinema and remind them of the value of paying to see something rather than stay at home.

And was this enough to get people coming back for more?

I don't think so.

Two unfortunate reasons are:

1) the best actor in the film won't be in any movies ever again
but more importantly.
2) the story was ridiculously bad (for your reference, my opinion of a good story can be found in anything done by Pixar, which, yes, can be appreciated just as much on an i-phone as it can in an i-max cinema).


Movie companies are always weighing up the risk of producing an expensive movie with the likelihood that fans are willing to make the expense of going to see it.

These days, that risk has become harder to justify, hence the recent lack of blockbusting material.

Perhaps in 10 years from now, the next big production will be targeted at the only audience that will matter: the home audience.