Ultra Franchise

Kevin Bradshaw - Director, Profile Productions
Kevin Bradshaw – Director, Profile Productions

With today’s announcement of not one but TWELVE writers to helm the development of the Transformers movies into a vast cinematic universe, I think now is as good a time as any to address my thoughts and mild concerns about this new trend in movies. These past few years have seen tremendous change in the film industry and its business model has changed significantly. I know change must come but some things that have happened have been alarming to me. The success of the Marvel comics characters on the cinematic screen has made the industry think twice about what kind of movie it makes and not in any way we have seen before.

The age of the ultra franchise is upon us, we no longer go to see one story on the big screen the studios think has now gone from sequels and remakes of known commodities with their built in audiences to ‘ lets get the audiences looking at how this ties into a spinoff character’s line of movies.’ Speaking as an independent filmmaker, this cross pollination of movies doesn’t feel threating so much as I think it homogenizes it and affects what are looking to see at the local theatre.

If things are tied together and the characters are based on reality, then where do the whimsical, goofy things fit in? If the beautiful computer generated, green screen fuels our imagination then where will the ugly, grittiness come from? My beef is that while they can be quite entertaining, these pictures make Hollywood think THIS is all people want to see. What happened to variety? There has been speculation about other popular movie franchises being spunoff to develop cinematic universes (DC Comics, Star Wars, Ghostbusters etc,.) I don’t know if they will work, Disney/Marvel seems to have cornered the market on this trend but that won’t stop the studios from trying its damnedest to duplicate it.

Personally, I could never see how Grand Budapest Hotel or Dallas Buyers Club could fit into any cinematic universe. That’s probably why I like them so much.

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