The Changing Landscape for Blockbusters

Last summer was a relative disappointment as far as box office results are concerned. There were several flops and under performers. So far, this blockbuster season is looking very similar to last. However Wonder Woman will not be counted among those disappointments, that’s assured.

The release of Wonder Woman hasn’t had the marketing build up that normally comes with a linchpin summer blockbuster we’ve come to expect from superhero genre films. Sure, we got your usual TV spots and strategically released teasers and trailers, but for the most part, Wonder Woman’s advertising was rather quiet.


Perhaps that was because DC has figured out the best marketing scheme. It made a great movie, dropped the critic review embargo on it early, and let word of mouth advertise for them. The rising tide floats all boats and the critics this time were a tidal wave. All this comes as studios are blaming the critic community, and specifically Rotten Tomatoes, for the lack of success for blockbusters like Baywatch at the box office.


But the question is, are critics really at fault for some of the recent lackluster premieres? Sure Rotten Tomatoes has become a part of pop culture, but are your average moviegoers scouring critic reviews? If Wonder Woman reveals anything about the current landscape of blockbuster influences, it’s that gone are the days where a star can carry a mediocre film. Everyone loves the Rock, but that didn’t help Baywatch. The market is too smart for that. Gone are the days where people just flock to theaters, you know, just because there’s nothing else to do. There are too many other options that are far cheaper.


There’s no denying that sites like Rotten Tomatoes and critic reviews do factor into box office draw. But most average moviegoers quite frankly, just don’t care about the critics’ opinions. What matters now is story (and in the case of films like Transformers, just a really cool concept). Sure you’ve still got your big, break out hits. There are certainly some good films that fly under the radar at the box office. But if the disappointments of films like King Arthur and Baywatch tell us anything, it’s that brand, known properties, or big actors can’t cut it alone anymore. There has to be something more. There has to be an additional layer of appeal whether it’s concept, characters, or connective themes, to attract large audiences. And that can’t be blamed on the critics.


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