How The Blockbuster Ruined Hollywood

The big-budget (usually summer) blockbuster is the financial cornerstone of the American motion picture industry, and has been for much of the last 35 years or so. In all its forms – action/adventure, suspense, Western, war story, horror, science fiction, fantasy, et al – the big budget thriller’s earning power is unmatched by any other movie form. Romantic comedies like The Proposal (2009), slapstick and teen comedies like The Hangover (2009) and Little Fockers (2010), are sometimes capable of blockbuster-caliber domestic earnings, but rarely match those of the thriller, nor can they rival its attraction overseas. The performances of more adult-themed dramas and comedies – even those considered financial successes — are often weaker still. The reliance of most major thriller releases today on action-driven plots is a form of cinematic Esperanto, transcending barriers of language and cultural nuance. The blockbuster thriller is as accessible to Asian audiences as it is to Latin American audiences as it is to U.
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