Big-budget Movies Proliferate, Sprawl Out of Summer

   April 28, 2017-The Wall Street Journal newspaper says that Hollywood’s major studios are ramping up “event” films, which are frothy action, adventure, sci-fi and fantasy films that can cost $350 million in production and marketing costs. These films--also called "tentpoles"--export well, since their visual pizzazz don’t encounter language barriers.
   “This year, studios are releasing about 35 event movies, up from 27 in 2012, and 41 are planned for 2018,” writes WSJ’s Ben Fritz. “The

huge films with production budgets that can exceed $250 million and marketing budgets of $100 million or more, can create hundreds of millions in profits and spawn sequels, spin-offs, and consumer products tie-ins when they are global hits.”
   The event films used to be concentrated in the peak summer season, but there are so many that some premiere outside of summer. “The change has been welcomed throughout Hollywood and the cinema business, as it gives more movies room to succeed without directly competing and helps to even out revenue during the year,” says the WSJ article. “Another key advantage of the summer season was that movies typically become available on DVD three-to-five months after their theatrical debut. So releasing big tentpoles in summer ensured they’d be available for the crucial holiday shopping period.”
   The WSJ also notes that raunchy R-rated movies are on the upswing, after past releases proved the restrictive audience classification is no barrier to blockbuster boxoffice. An example is Paramount Pictures’ just-opened Baywatch, which is a raunchy R-rated adaptation of fluffy TV series, and violent female actioner Atomic Blonde starring Charlize Theron from Universal’s Focus Features July 28.
   “Studios used to insist on [less restrictive] PG-13 ratings for their big summer movies, in an effort to appeal to the widest audiences possible for their tentpole films,” Fritz writes in the second WSJ article.
   Yet another WSJ article observes female buddy films are also mushrooming. “A string of films that started with “Bridesmaids” in 2011 has morphed into an entire genre about funny women,” says the article.
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