Bond, Spectre and "event movies"

in Bond Movies Posts: 4,541
I was recently reading Kermode's book "The Good, The Bad and The Multiplex". In one of the chapters, he talks about the rise of the hollywood "event movie". Basically, these are massive productions with massive visuals and big casts. They are hyped up massively in advance and become "must see" movies before the date of release. They aim to make their profit very quickly. Kermode's criticism of these movies is that they dont encourage quality content and great scripts as the money has been made from the first sitting and that Hollywood has become very lazy as they are making movies that are easy to market and hype up but the content in terms of characters and screenplay is weak: there is little effort in making something of lasting quality.
Without drifting into another SP bashing thread, when you review the hype of the movie (the Guiness explosion, the new Aston, cast members who were hardly in the movie, trailers that MAY have been more exciting than the movie itself), is there a danger that the Bond franchise starts to creep into this trend as it competes with more "event movies"?

Comments

  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    Posts: 9,020
    Skyfall was THE event movie if there ever was one.
    And the script is the worst in the series so I think Kermode is right.
    Spectre was the biggest event movie ever in Switzerland putting even Star Wars TFA to shame and by a large margin.
    I doubt there will ever be a movie bigger than Spectre here.

    We will see if the quality of the movie will stand the test of time but it will be remembered very fondly for decades by several generations.
  • Posts: 4,325
    I get Kermode's criticism and wouldn't disagree. obviously there are exceptions to the rule. But it is so easy, and lazy to make yet another remake, another franchise film. But on the other hand, the revenue from these so-called tent-pole movies does allow studios to make lower budget films that are better quality wise and content wise - one needs the other.
  • Posts: 4,541
    Another point he was making that the "event movies" have left a gap in the market as studios are less willing to go for the mid-budget movies as they dont want to take the risk and they would rather just go for a big sci-fi or another remake. And that leaves the low budget, art-house movies at the other end. Its easy lookinga the past with rose coloured specs but, looking at the cast of something like Glengary, Glenn Ross, would that movie get made now? I'm not so sure. The more we get distracted by these massive budget blockbusters, the less space there is for mid budget films that tend to focus more on great scripts and character. That perhaps, has a long term effect as we are bringing up a new generation of movie goers who expect an explosion every five minutes. (back to SP perhaps?). I watched The Verdict a couple of weeks ago and was totally engrossed but my wife found it tough going and "very slow" (this was a main stream Hollywood movie with top cast and crew) but from a different era. I cant imagine my two sons sitting though it: just people talking.
  • NicNacNicNac Administrator, Moderator
    edited September 2016 Posts: 7,526
    Could we argue that Bond movies invented the 'event movie'? In the late 70s TSWLM and MR were event movies full of must see stunts and flash cars, and even today not noted for characterisation or inventive plots (as MR replicates TSWLM).

    And for the record Kermode rated Spectre very highly. He had loved Skyfall and was relieved that Spectre lived up to it. So, maybe this can't be considered a SP bashing thread when Kermode (possibly) wasn't referring to SP when he made these assessments.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited September 2016 Posts: 23,883
    I agree that this is a risk, and EON has indeed taken the bait to go for the 'event' film, first during the Brosnan era post-GE, and again in the Craig era post-CR.

    I think however that it is still possible to make a plot driven James Bond film in the DN vein, and CR proves that. However, I believe such opportunities will become less likely as time progresses, and can only be 'one-off's'.

    Why? Simply put, because of the need to make a profit and maintain the marketing power of the brand name. While CR & GE (probably the most 'scaled down' productions of the past 25 yrs) were incredibly well budgeted and profitable ventures, they were also introductory vehicles in both cases. An opportunity to reset and re-establish expectations. Starting blocks after long periods away.
    ----

    In the past 20 odd years, budgets have increased, location costs have gone up, actor demands have become more irrational, public tastes and expectations have changed, and the size of the global audience has grown exponentially. That last bit in particular implies that jokes, wit, plot and dialogue must translate more readily and appeal to more cultures, and that in turn suggests potentially (but not necessarily) less quality. It also possibly means more action and larger scale stunts, but again not necessarily. The recent exception in my view was SF.

    I disagree with those who suggest that SF was a large 'event' production. On the contrary actually, as the production budget was quite scaled back in comparison to QoS in constant $ terms. It was also a much less extravagant production, with less location work (most of it was in London) and less action than its immediate predecessor. It certainly benefited from the Jubilee celebrations, the 50th Anniversary and the Olympics, but that was impressive 'marketing' and not excessive 'production'.

    It was also a superior (and different kind of ) Bond film which touched a nerve with many members of the public who had not considered Bond before. It was a distinct case of 'less is more' and focused on character play rather than action. It 'became' an event on account of its perceived quality with vast members of the public. Statistics show the film had incredible box office 'legs' and did not front load as much as QoS or SP did.
    ----

    So even though the power of the Bond brand name (a 'guaranteed money maker' in a world of uncertainty) may incentivize EON/MGM to swing for the fences with their product and get more excessive, it doesn't have to, and SF proves that.

    The evidence suggests that EON/MGM realize this, and the reason they have the most successful long running franchise is precisely because they reset once in a while and 'scale back'. We are at this kind of moment again now after SP, and that's why this is an especially exciting time to be a Bond fan.
  • Posts: 4,325
    bondjames wrote: »
    I agree that this is a risk, and EON has indeed taken the bait to go for the 'event' film, first during the Brosnan era post-GE, and again in the Craig era post-CR.

    I think however that it is still possible to make a plot driven James Bond film in the DN vein, and CR proves that. However, I believe such opportunities will become less likely as time progresses, and can only be 'one-off's'.

    Why? Simply put, because of the need to make a profit and maintain the marketing power of the brand name. While CR & GE (probably the most 'scaled down' productions of the past 25 yrs) were incredibly well budgeted and profitable ventures, they were also introductory vehicles in both cases. An opportunity to reset and re-establish expectations. Starting blocks after long periods away.
    ----

    In the past 20 odd years, budgets have increased, location costs have gone up, actor demands have become more irrational, public tastes and expectations have changed, and the size of the global audience has grown exponentially. That last bit in particular implies that jokes, wit, plot and dialogue must translate more readily and appeal to more cultures, and that in turn suggests potentially (but not necessarily) less quality. It also possibly means more action and larger scale stunts, but again not necessarily. The recent exception in my view was SF.

    I disagree with those who suggest that SF was a large 'event' production. On the contrary actually, as the production budget was quite scaled back in comparison to QoS in constant $ terms. It was also a much less extravagant production, with less location work (most of it was in London) and less action than its immediate predecessor. It certainly benefited from the Jubilee celebrations, the 50th Anniversary and the Olympics, but that was impressive 'marketing' and not excessive 'production'.

    It was also a superior (and different kind of ) Bond film which touched a nerve with many members of the public who had not considered Bond before. It was a distinct case of 'less is more' and focused on character play rather than action. It 'became' an event on account of its perceived quality with vast members of the public. Statistics show the film had incredible box office 'legs' and did not front load as much as QoS or SP did.
    ----

    So even though the power of the Bond brand name (a 'guaranteed money maker' in a world of uncertainty) may incentivize EON/MGM to swing for the fences with their product and get more excessive, it doesn't have to, and SF proves that.

    The evidence suggests that EON/MGM realize this, and the reason they have the most successful long running franchise is precisely because they reset once in a while and 'scale back'. We are at this kind of moment again now after SP, and that's why this is an especially exciting time to be a Bond fan.

    @bondjames the average major movie budget is around $100 million. Skyfall's budget was between $150-200 million. In terms of Bond it was a scaled back production. In terms of movies at large it still had a sizeable budget. Bond movies are big budget event movies.
  • M_BaljeM_Balje Amsterdam, Netherlands
    edited September 2016 Posts: 4,182
    Every movie i have seen since Goldeneye. But with Casino Royale and Spectre with much les pleasure. QOS give me some pleasure back, but then Skyfall disapointed me again.

    Overall it not be with much fun as with Brosnan era. It be les of event.
    The four year between Qos and Skyfall i also blame to that.
  • edited September 2016 Posts: 1,817
    Well what do you see as an event movie? By the given definition I label almost all the Bond films "event movies". Except maybe DN and FRWL, when the Bond hype hadn't truly begun, and the 80s films, where it sort of petered out. And the Bond films GE-onwards are ALL event movies, bar none.
  • Posts: 4,325
    Here's another thought though. To what extent can any movie be considered an 'event movie' now? With the Blu Ray/DVD/Digital release often coming only about 4 months after release, movies themselves are not events in the way that they once were when your next chance to see the film would be further in the future. And way back in the day only then in cinemas with repeat showings and double bills.

  • doubleoegodoubleoego #LightWork
    Posts: 11,135
    patb wrote: »
    Another point he was making that the "event movies" have left a gap in the market as studios are less willing to go for the mid-budget movies as they dont want to take the risk and they would rather just go for a big sci-fi or another remake. And that leaves the low budget, art-house movies at the other end. Its easy lookinga the past with rose coloured specs but, looking at the cast of something like Glengary, Glenn Ross, would that movie get made now? I'm not so sure. The more we get distracted by these massive budget blockbusters, the less space there is for mid budget films that tend to focus more on great scripts and character. That perhaps, has a long term effect as we are bringing up a new generation of movie goers who expect an explosion every five minutes. (back to SP perhaps?). I watched The Verdict a couple of weeks ago and was totally engrossed but my wife found it tough going and "very slow" (this was a main stream Hollywood movie with top cast and crew) but from a different era. I cant imagine my two sons sitting though it: just people talking.

    This gap has been around for a while now and many people in Hollywood have been vocal about it. However, here's the issue: In many places the cinema/theatre experience can be costly so many people tend to only go for these event type vehicles abd it doesnt help matters when there are numerous event films that come out in a couple of weeks from each other. This is one of the main reasons why opening weekend is so important gor films; because it fosters the trajectory of financial performance. The marketing and promotion is aggressive to get you going in to tgat opening weekend because a week from then a new tentpole comes in the scene.

    That being said, the Television landscape over the last 20 years has changed dramatically in the best way possible. The best writing in Hollywood is in Television and with so many great shows to choose from, it's harder than it was before to get people out of the house to see these event films never mind the midsized films.

    Right now, there are plans to try and get cinematic released movies into the homes of people who don't want to leave their house, which is of course bad for cinema/theatre chains but these are issues Hollywood are trying to adapt to because people would rather bingewatch TV shows at home. There's so much on offer from shows on Starz, HBO, Amazon Prime, Netflix etc. They have excellent writing, great production values and just look at the amount of Hollywood Film stars gravitating towards TV.

    Craig himself will be doing that TV miniseries Purity and as for Bond, I think he's already fallen into the category of those event films where so much is compromised and they need to fix that asap.
  • doubleoegodoubleoego #LightWork
    Posts: 11,135
    tanaka123 wrote: »
    Here's another thought though. To what extent can any movie be considered an 'event movie' now? With the Blu Ray/DVD/Digital release often coming only about 4 months after release, movies themselves are not events in the way that they once were when your next chance to see the film would be further in the future. And way back in the day only then in cinemas with repeat showings and double bills.

    They are still event films but that's part of moving with the times and the ever growing technological advancements of today's world. People are also more busier and our personal time is more occupied by various distractions and forms of entertainment. See my last post about TV and then if course there's the internet/social media/Mobile technology.
  • Posts: 4,541
    To add to this, yes, Bond is tricky as every Bond movie premier is literally an event due to it being Bond. But, what Kermode meant was that the event (ie the premier and performace within the first 14 days) was more important than the content of the movie. If the advance hype was good enough to get punters in to see it once, the job was done. It had made money and, almost like a disposable movie, it could be left alone and punters could then look forward to the next "event movie". Long term profit is not considered and therefore, word of mouth promotion due to great feedback or depth that is revealed via multiple viewings is not considered. If you look at other threads where people name their top ten movies, how many of these are "event movies" and how many are multi layered classics that demand genuine thought and can be viewed many times?
    The eighties is often slagged off by many as a vacuous era but I dont agree. For example, if you look at the original Robocop. This is a very clever film with deep and complex political and social threads aswell as a great action movie with some funny and ironic dialogue. Compare this to the recent remake where IMHO, its just treated as a cash cow with little or no geniune depth. Another example is Die Hrd which IMHO can be watched over and over again due to the fact that its not just action. There is character development and some interesting comments on 80s yuppy culture versus USA "blue collar" values. If they remade Die Hard now (surely it will happen?), it will be another event movie, we can be sure of that.
    So this is another attempt at me explaining the "event movie". And my concern is that the Bond production team either knowingly or just by going along with industry trends, focus on the ability to create an "event movie" with very decent profits in the first week or two ("job done, lets move on to the next one") but something that is then discarded as it has little long term value in the eyes of jo public.
    PS sorry to mention SF yet again but there is no way I see it as an event movie. It has depth and thoughtfulness. I appreciate this is a turn off for many within this community.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited September 2016 Posts: 23,883
    @patb, I agree that SF was not an event movie, at least in the way it performed in large markets, including stateside. It had 'legs' and grossed a much higher % overall in comparison to its opening weekend than either SP or QoS did. In fact, it went back to #1 at the box office in December after losing the #1 spot to Twlight for a while. CR also was a film that started small and ended up grossing a much higher % and # vs. its opening weekend than other blockbusters.

    So at the end of the day, a film must organically resonate, whether it is designed to be an 'event' spectacle or not.

    Usually, anything that is good will continue to perform well over multiple weeks and months. It's the difference between the initial 'marketing push' which all large products receive and the natural resonance with the audience being marketed to. In the music industry, albums like Jackson's Thriller (37 non-consecutive weeks at #1), Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, and Adele's 21 are examples of this.
  • Mendes4LyfeMendes4Lyfe Given the circumstances
    Posts: 7,346
    bondjames wrote: »

    The evidence suggests that EON/MGM realize this, and the reason they have the most successful long running franchise is precisely because they reset once in a while and 'scale back'. We are at this kind of moment again now after SP, and that's why this is an especially exciting time to be a Bond fan.


    Yes, a very exciting time! :)

    Bond 25 should be a very special one if Craig leaves and EON reset the clock, scale back and just give us a plot driven adventure again.
  • edited September 2016 Posts: 4,541
    As usual, bondjames, we agree but the danger is that it is clearly possible to make an action movie that does not even attempt to resonate with the audience but still make a profit. Many Hollywood movies dont even attept to resonate. They just blow stuff up, take the profit from the first two weeks and "thats all folks".
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    Posts: 23,883
    patb wrote: »
    As usual, bondjames, we agree but the danger is that it is clearly possible to make an action movie that does not even attempt to resonate with the audience but still make a profit. Many Hollywood movies dont even attept to resonate. They just blow stuff up, take the profit from the first two weeks and "thats all folks".
    That's very true, and it's really sad. Films shouldn't be 'disposable' but that is what many are these days, and it's increasingly obvious.
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