When predicting trends in the movie business, it’s important to remember two things; 1) the studio folk who green-light new projects have business and marketing (not creative) backgrounds; and 2) it takes a minimum of two years from the time a film is green-lighted to the time it hits the cineplex.
So the trends you’re likely to see on the screen in 2010 are the results of decisions made by studio brass two to three years ago, many of whom have already been fired, um, I mean are “exploring other opportunities.”
It takes no crystal ball to predict more big-budget, special effects driven fantasies, CGI animated films, comic book epics and their sequels. Nine of the top ten grossing films of 2009 fell into those categories.
Studios have long catered to the tastes of fanboys while ignoring the needs of adult women. They were shocked when 2008‘s Sex and the City pulled in $415 million worldwide, but two factors this year may signal a renaissance of what Hollywood used to call the woman’s picture: Sandra Bullock and Meryl Streep.
The 45 year old Bullock just made box office history with The Blind Side, the first female driven film to pass $200 million in domestic ticket sales. Along with her other 2009 hit The Proposal, Bullock has pulled in $372 million (and counting). 60 year old Meryl Streep has defied conventional wisdom that actresses are washed up past 40, with Julie and Julia and It’s Complicated earning $180 million to date (and counting).
All of this bodes well for more female driven films, just as the success of Moulin Rouge and Chicago brought the movie musical back from the dead (thanks for Hairspray, sorry about Mamma Mia!).
With the staggering success of The Hangover (its $459 million worldwide made it the top grossing R-rated comedy of all time), look for even more films about thirty-something man-boys gone wild. Judd Apatow spawned this genre with films like The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up, where the men are boys and the women are nags. Or strippers. Or hookers.
While it may be tougher for Hollywood’s MBA execs to recognize a good female-driven script when they see one, the raunchy bromantic comedy is a genre that can be easily replicated — and green-lighted.
So within the next couple of years, look for more from the ladies — and the man-boys gone wild.