After an action-packed April and May featuring Noah, Godzilla and X-Men: Days of Future Past, did anyone notice that the summer blockbuster boom eased a little? As wonderful as low-key comedy, Chef and romance, The Fault in our Stars are, these flicks seems to be bridging a gap in the release schedule of the bigger Hollywood productions.
We reckon this is all part of a grapple with the World Cup in Brazil – the quadrennial football bonanza that’s gripped the world. With even football-haters jiving daily to the samba spirit, who’s going to come to the cinema to see the production companies’ biggest investments? As for the Genesis, we were slam-packed with the super-successful East End Film Festival for the opening weeks of the World Cup, so didn’t quite feel the sting.
It would be wrong to say that there’s been a dip of quality in this World Cup gap, but rather a stark shift of purpose and target audience which is fun to poke around with. Since the opening ceremony in Brazil on June 13th (and one month after X-Men’s release), we’ve had slave-trade-set drama Belle, West-End musical Jersey Boys and weepy romance, The Fault in Our Stars. These are films aimed predominantly at women – women who won’t be watching the World Cup in the producers’ eyes. Last week, the balance was restored with more unisex films, Chef and thriller Cold in July, perhaps to sneak up on waning World Cup interest. Cynical as this may sound, this is a pure example of the strategic fluidity in the marketing of cinema. As the tournament enters its final fortnight, and matches die down in numbers, Transformers: Age of Extinction will be released this week. Then, the week after we get The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Then, looking even further, we get macho-man’s wet dream The Expendables 3 on the 14th August.
This quiet June contrasts to the football-less summer last year. The huge Superman production, Man of Steel was released on the 14th June and World War Z hit the big screen a week later. The Euros in 2012 had a similar effect on scheduling as this year’s World Cup. Two years ago, after the tournament’s 8th June start, the month was quiet with smaller, more niche productions like David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis and Matthew McConaughey thriller Killer Joe coming out. Then, in July, hand-in-hand with the twilight of the tournament, The Amazing Spiderman and The Dark Knight Rises came out. In the last World Cup in 2010, such releases as indie comedy Greenberg and Woody Allen’s Whatever Works contrasted to the release of mainstream action Predators and titanic thriller Inception in July.
If anything, this hits home the extraordinary pull of football and how it can alter the plans of multi-million dollar production companies.
Despite kicking off with a boxing analogy between football and movies this summer, it’s not really a contest if the forces don’t go head-to-head at the peak of their powers. Hollywood’s ducked any swipe on business from the World Cup by waiting for FIFA to retire – well, at least for another four years.
Catch Transformers: Age of Extinction from this Saturday! Book your tickets on http://www.genesiscinema.co.uk.