Steven Spielberg saw it coming. In June, speaking at a University of Southern California event with George Lucas, the Lincoln director said, “There’s going to be an implosion where three or four or maybe even a half-dozen mega-budget movies are going to go crashing into the ground, and that’s going to change the paradigm”—forcing the industry to rethink its reliance on gargantuan spectacles. A month later, the first part of Spielberg’s prediction has already come true: The latest high-profile calamity at the box office is the ill-buzzed R.I.P.D., which followed such heavily marketed titles as Pacific Rim, The Lone Ranger, White House Down, and After Earth in failing to attract its expected audience. Meanwhile, The Conjuring, a smaller, Exorcist-style chiller from Saw director James Wan, more than doubled its production budget in just one weekend.
I was pretty much bored with the latest Star Trek which was mostly loud and noisy full of mind-numbing decibel excess. I loved the Lone Ranger when as a kid I lay on the floor in front of our big Wards Airline console( a radio!). It was a piece of furniture full of vacuum tubes, a 78 record player and a big monaural speaker. Alas, I didn’t even try the latest Lone Ranger. The previews were enough. It wasn’t Depp’s more savage Tonto that got to me, but the locomotive taking flight and plummeting into oblivion from a bridge. And Trigger landing on top of a moving box car was the final cap for me. Too much, too much. At my age I don’t need it nor want it.
I hope the small film returns, big time. But then my “demographic” is totally irrelevant. David Milliken