Credit crunch = end of the fantasy film?

The Independent ran an article a few days ago on the dire situation facing many Hollywood properties these days, especially those that require pricey special effects. At the end, it suggested that even the Harry Potter franchise might not be “totally secure”:

Its screenwriter, Steve Kloves, said recently that Warner Bros was worried about the prospects for the last three films in the series, since J K Rowling is no longer driving anticipation for the titles by producing new books.

I’m skeptical of this last bit, since it was Warner’s idea to split the seventh book into two separate films in the first place. As it is, I would be very surprised if the sixth movie, due July 17, failed to do as well as the previous films, all of which grossed between $795 million and $975 million worldwide.

But it must be admitted that fantasy and adventure films have been having a tough time lately. Disney just dumped The Chronicles of Narnia, New Line Cinema was virtually euthanized because of The Golden Compass, and Steven Spielberg — whose DreamWorks studio already has enough financial hassles to deal with in general — is now looking for someone to co-finance his Tintin trilogy.

The situation isn’t all dire, though. As the article notes, Paramount seems pretty confident in its Star Trek reboot, and Twilight has turned out to be something of a cash cow for Summit Entertainment (though admittedly, the first movie in that series had a low-ish budget, and the sequels probably will too, at least for now).

And while the article doesn’t mention it, we also have The Hobbit on the horizon, and there is no shortage of comic-book movies, too.

So I wouldn’t be too worried about the genre. Yet.

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his award-winning film column for that paper, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He has also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005) and The Bible in Motion: A Handbook of the Bible and Its Reception in Film (De Gruyter, 2016).

  • Anonymous

    Not to mention that James Cameron movie, to be released this year.

  • Mary Fagan

    It surprises me that the genre would suffer in tough economic times. During the Great Depression folks were flocking to escapist mediums like comic books and movies. I also would’ve thought CG special FX was cheaper, especially when done offshore. As a fantasy author, I gotta hope it ain’t so!