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Opinion: Are we at risk of blockbuster burnout?

The sun is shining and the mercury’s rising so obviously the majority of us film fans are ignoring the weather and filing into our nearest air-conditioned auditorium.

That’s nothing new of course. Ever since Jaws took a multi-million bite out of the box office back in 1975, the summer has traditionally been cinema’s silly season; a regular shop window into which every tentpole movie, franchise filler and big budget blockbuster is crammed.

But is it just me, or is this summer starting to drag on a little?

After all it’s been almost three months since the release of Iron Man 3 , the Marvel threequel that for many people was the starter’s pistol for this summer’s blockbuster season. Since then we’ve seen the likes of The Great Gatsby, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Man of Steel, Pacific Rim, World War Z, Fast and Furious 6 and The Hangover III make their way into the multiplex.

And yet it’s still not over.

By the end of August you can also add the likes of The Lone Ranger, Elysium, Kick Ass 2 and The Wolverine to this summer’s bloated box office. It all adds up to more than four months of films, a summer season that now lasts for almost a third of a year. We should be delighted of course. But to be honest I’m just starting to feel a little burnt out.

Part of the problem is the cost. The average ticket price in the UK is £6.47 but once you throw in a 3D premium, some salty snacks and a sugary drink, your trip to the multiplex can cost anything up to £15 - and sometimes even more. That’s around £240 if you watch a film a week over the course of the summer season, a hit to the pocket few of us can afford in these chastened times.

It wouldn’t be so bad if the films lived up to their hype. But for me anyway this summer’s spectacles have all started to roll into one. They’re all mega budget franchises, origin stories and adaptations of geek-friendly properties where CGI heavy action sequences take precedence over characters.

That’s all well and good when you’re safely ensconced in the cinema, but by the time my buttocks have un-numbed after the two-hour plus running time I’ve already started to forget what actually happened. In fact sitting here writing this I can’t honestly remember where Man of Steel’ s destruction of Metropolis ended and Pacific Rim ’s onslaught in Hong Kong began.

There’s simply too many movies and not enough to set them apart. Perhaps that’s why the profits have started to stall. Sure, the summer started with record-breaking business for the likes of Iron Man 3, Man of Steel and World War Z . But with The Lone Ranger tanking (in the US, at least), Pacific Rim failing to deliver big bucks ( other than China ) and R.I.P.D also flopping; the box office could very well go from boom to bust in a matter of a few short weeks. A wane in quality is of course partly responsible, but audiences are clearly losing their appetite for summer cinema.



I realise this could make me sound like a spoiled brat – having too many films to watch is the type of problem I’ll no doubt wish for come a rainy October evening when I’m forced into a Bizarro world Sophie’s Choice between James Corden’s Britain’s Got Talent biopic and the fifth instalment of a Paranormal Activity franchise that started to groan under the weight of its own monotony some time ago.

But surely there’s an argument to space these films out throughout the year rather than bombarding us with them all summer long?  
 

Daniel is a freelance film writer; you can help him piece together which CGI action sequence goes with what film over on Twitter @danielbettridge .

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Total Film

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