Hollywood Sign

We’re almost four months into 2008, and something has been missing. We’ve all noticed it as we’ve wandered around, homeless from the subprime housing meltdown, searching desperately for something to take our minds off the rumble in our stomachs, the war we still seem to be fighting, and the Senators that keep trying to tap our feet in bathroom stalls or pay us exorbitant amounts of money for exotic-sounding sexual acts. Run-on sentences aside, what we’ve been missing is a good movie.

So far, the studios haven’t put out anything into wide release that was worth much after January’s Cloverfield phenomenon. In most jobs, if you don’t produce quality work for a third of the year, you get fired. In Hollywood, however, you twiddle your thumbs and wait for Summer.

That’s right. Like Jesus riding a winged, ice cream-flavored Unicorn down from the Heavens, Summer will come and save every Studio Executive’s job.

Perhaps they deserve it. Audiences have responded to the dearth of good films by not showing up to the box office lately. This probably also has something to do with gasoline costing a first-born child per gallon, but for the most part, it’s Vantage Point‘s fault. Fortunately, Hollywood has glutted Summer with blockbusters, seeking a come-from-behind victory.

As The Hollywood Reporter points out, Iron Man, Indiana Jones, Prince Caspian, and Speed Racer are expected to top $300 million at the mega-multi-plex. They also mention that only one film, Horton Hears a Who!, has topped the $100 million mark this year, compared to four at this time last year. A mix of good and bad news that makes it uncertain as to whether 2008 will match up to its predecessors. It seems likely, though, that all those great Summer releases will boost sales and give audience’s faith again.

The way I see it, Hollywood has another thing going for it: escapism. Even though we’re edging toward recession (and we are), and we have less money for movie tickets, people have a lot of heavy news in rotation that we need to get away from. We’re going to need more than just two hours inside a darkened theater to get our minds off the cost of rice and the death toll in Iraq. Seeing Tony Stark fly will be a starting point (an awesome starting point), but we’ll also need Indiana falling into a pit of snakes, Batman staring down The Joker, Racer X passing Speed on a straightaway. We won’t have a choice in handing over our price for admission. We’ll need to in order to survive the real world.

That’s the magic of movies – the escapism. Which is why I’m thankful that Execs loaded up the Summer with incredible films. I wish they would have spread them out a bit more, but I’m thankful nonetheless. We may have had to wade through several months of One Missed Call and Roscoe Jenkins, but the good news it that it’s going to be a great summer. For the Execs and for the fans.


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