Box Office Blues: Why Today's Movies Don't Sell

There have been a lot of discussions in the entertainment press and on social media about how to fix Hollywood’s lackluster 2024 box office. People are not going to the movies. Critics are blaming everything from cellphones to noisy and dirty theaters. 


My solution is simple: let great writers write challenging, complicated scripts that are wordy, digressive, and deep. It worked for Barbie and Oppenheimer. And the only film that has made real money in 2024 is Dune, which is based on the 1965 novel and is overflowing with ideas. ...

I still remember the comment my brother, an award-winning actor, made after seeing 1982’s action masterpiece Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior: “That was Homeric.” Yes, The Road Warrior is about postapocalyptic car chases in the Australian desert. Yet there is a poetic voice-over throughout the entire film that holds it together and gives it depth. The film is well-written. 

And more than 40 years later, Furiosa, a sequel to The Road Warrior, has been released. Like most movies these days, it is underwritten. Unsurprisingly, it has flamed out at the box office. 

Ed Morrissey

There's an even simpler step Hollywood could take. Rather than throw hundreds of millions of dollars on comic-book IPs, why not use great literature instead? Dune is a great example of this in a direct sense, even if it was costly. So is O Brother Where Art Thou, a less-direct and enormously entertaining retelling of The Odyssey. For that matter, Ten Things I Hate About You retold Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew and did a pretty good job of it, in the teen-movie context. It may not have been a blockbuster hit, but it didn't cost $300 million to make either. 

Garbage in, garbage out. It may be just as simple as that. 

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