Everything You Need In A Summer Blockbuster
Massive, massive arms
Strong dudes in films are getting stronger. In the 80s action heroes looked like Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford or Kurt Russell – fairly hench dudes, but in a vaguely plausible way. Now it’s a case of bigger-is-better – The Rock could tear Mel Gibson’s face off his skull with an effortless wave of his door-sized hand. He probably won’t, because he’s really nice, but he could.
Obviously every main character needs to be as attractive as possible. If there’s any sort of chase, why not have a bit where the characters get wet so their clothing clings to their perfectly-formed bodies? Or where one of them has to get changed in front of another? Ideally shoot it in a way where the camera ogles everyone’s flawless physiques in the same way it ogles all the guns and shit on display, making human being and object nigh-on interchangeable.
Character actors cashing a cheque
Everyone who doesn’t need to be stunning-looking should be a perfect role for a respected character actor hoping to cash a big-ass cheque for an eight-day shoot consisting mainly of quips, exposition and mild humiliation. Like when John Turturro got pissed on by a Transformer. Then you can go back to doing Shakespeare and wait for your residuals to roll in.
Dammit, it isn’t a summer blockbuster without some explosions.
Game-changing special effects
Ideally, every summer’s films should make the ones that were released the previous summer look like hot piss.
A familiar idea
Don’t waste people’s time with new stuff. The easiest way to guarantee queues snaking out of the cinema is to give people what they’ve already whown they want. The three biggest films at the 2015 box office so far are Furious 7, Jurassic World and Avengers: Age Of Ultron. That’s a part seven, a part four and a part eleven. They’ll probably be overtaken in December by another part seven, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Part seven is totally the new part one.
According to Five Thirty Eight, over 60% of blockbusters contain at least one murder. To make a killing at the box office, you need to YES THAT’S THE JOKE WE’RE GOING FOR.
Whether good (“Puny god”) or terrible (You know what happens to a toad when it gets struck by lightning?”), you need at least one quip that ends up in everyone’s reviews and on t-shirts and stuff. Bonus points if it’s in the trailer so it gets a completely lacklustre response in the actual cinema.
According to the same Five Thirty Eight study, over half of blockbusters have a surprise ending. That seems deeply strange – if it’s over half, is it a surprise? Shouldn’t that just be an ending, and then it’s a surprise if there isn’t a surprise? The twist is that there’s no twist? Bruce Willis isn’t really your father.
Ever since Marvel started doing these, they’ve become something people expect from big-budget franchise movies, which is probably good news for the Best Boy and catering staff as now people actually sit all the way through the credits hoping for an incomprehensible sneak peek of a film they haven't started writing yet.
Neither of these are actual words, but they’re massively important in whether a studio will make a film – bad reviews don’t matter if you can sell a few million duvet covers, DVDs and action figures.
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