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Filmism.net Dispatch September 17, 2012

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News surfaced in the last week or so that movie attendances during the North American 2012 summer season were the lowest in decades. That comes in a year when The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises are both billion dollar movies still cleaning up at the box office.

There could be many reasons, but it might have been the unwitting collective message audiences are sending to studios that we're just sick of the same stuff over and over.

Men In Black III didn't light any box offices on fire. The Amazing Spider-Man was okay but redundant, too soon on the heels of its predecessor and without enough to set it apart. Wrath of the Titans and Prometheus made money but weren't beloved even among hardcore film fans. The Bourne Legacy was a fairly empty action spectacle, Brave was like Pixar with most of the staff on holiday, and the less said about the results of Battleship and John Carter the better.

The year's not over yet though, with great things expected of Django Unchained, Twilight, Breaking Dawn Part 2 and The Great Gatsby. But Tarantino has flopped before (with Grindhouse) and Baz Luhrmann overstayed his welcome with the kitschy Australia, especially at home in the country that shared the movie's name. Anything can happen.

Once again almost everything that's come, gone or is yet to arrive in 2012 has been a sequel, remake, prequel, reboot or otherwise. If you want to be really picky you can say that goes for Django Unchained too, Tarantino referencing his own back catalogue as much as the styles of Sergio Leone, blaxploitation, etc he usually loves. So far it seems the only truly original big scale film of the year will be Cloud Atlas (see the amazing trailer here), and that split Toronto Film Festival audiences right down the middle.

So we complain about seeing more of the same and then what movie do we propel to the top of the charts this week? Another Resident Evil movie (is it number five, or eleventy-three?). We're giving studios a strong signal we want more of the same, all the while bypassing bigger movies that are just more of the same. As Goldman so elegantly put it, in Hollywood, nobody knows anything.

To further confuse me, I quite liked a movie everyone else hated, Madonna's W.E., and didn't like a movie everyone else seems to love nearly as much as I thought I would, Ted.

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