Here at Wonderful Cinema we tend to avoid writing about current blockbusters because, let’s face it, who needs another review!
We are more about finding those hidden gems you might not have heard of…
Sometimes, however, something big and expensive comes along which is so magnificent that we just must – we absolutely have to – add our voice to the chorus.
History of the Blockbuster
The term ‘blockbuster’ became commonplace following the massive success of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws in 1975. Until then, the American press and studios referred to a movie as a ‘blockbuster’ only if it became a big financial hit. Following Jaws, the definition morphed into a type of genre which represented a significant cultural event, whereby a ‘blockbuster’ was not only a financial success but also something that was thoroughly talked about. Films such as Star Wars (1977), E.T. (1982), Jurassic Park (1993) and Titanic (1997) spring to mind.
Jaws was a huge hit, taking $200 million in ticket sales (almost $1 billion adjusted to current prices), and Star Wars was even more profitable. This proved a watershed moment for the major Hollywood studios and suddenly every high-level exec wanted a ‘Summer Blockbuster’ hit. The majors started throwing more and more money at projects to try and emulate such successes. Huge marketing budgets became the norm, as did ‘saturation booking’, the strategy of opening new movies simultaneously in hundreds of cinemas across the country. With this mindset change in the American film industry, so the definition of ‘blockbuster’ also changed to mean a big-budget production aimed towards mass markets.
Nowadays ‘blockbuster’ is an amalgamation of the definitions mentioned above and can be used to describe a film with a huge budget, a film that has become a big hit, and an ‘event film’ such as Avatar (2009).
Blade Runner 2049
Blade Runner 2049 is a film of immense beauty and strong narrative, and it is packed with superb actors delivering their fascinating character’s lines wonderfully.
It is a film that can stand alone, without any prior knowledge of the original Blade Runner (1982). Unless you are allergic to science fiction, this is a film you must see. And, you should hurry, because this is a movie begging to be seen in a cinema. The incredibly powerful soundtrack alone warrants this treatment. And a word of warning: don’t watch the 3D version. The film’s cinematographer, Roger Deakins (surely one of the finest alive), warns that the incredible colour palette is diluted quite drastically in 3D. I have seen both versions and I can confirm this. Plus, the film’s visuals in no way lend themselves to 3D, although I am sure many of you will be surprised to here this.
Blade Runner 2049 has, unfortunately, been something of a box office flop, which is something the original film also suffered. This is probably because, considering the $150-$185 million production budget, the film can be considered a niche market product, aimed at cinephiles. The film has up until now taken $260 million in ticket sales worldwide, but film studios calculate on a film doubling its budget in sales for it to be considered a success.
Although Blade Runner 2049 has not been a box office success, we can still refer to it as a blockbuster due to its huge budget and because it is a significant cultural event.
Wonderful Cinema strongly recommends you to not ruin the impact the director meticulously planned for you by watching trailers or reading spoilers. For those of you who cannot resist:
Title: Blade Runner 2049
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Year, Country, Language: 2017, USA, English
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Jared Leto (click here for full cast)
Screenplay: Hampton Fancher, Michael Green
Based on: Characters from Philip K. Dick’s novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968)
Cinematography: Roger Deakins
Editing: Joe Walker
Score: Hans Zimmer, Benjamin Wallfisch