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Tag: Avengers

Editorials

How Cinema Attendance Hit Record Levels In 2018

February 7, 2019

In a world of streaming and affordable home media, the death of cinema distribution is often talked about. A belief that many would agree with. After all, why go to the cinema when you can watch a film multiple times at home for a fraction of what they would pay going to see those films at the theatre?

It’s therefore interesting that according to the UK Cinema Association, UK cinema attendance in 2018 was at its highest since 1970, with 177 million admissions. This is impressive considering all the factors going against cinema in 2018, including a boiling summer and competition from the World Cup.

UK Cinema Admissions (UK Cinema Association)

But why did cinema attendance decline during the 1970s? And what was it about this past year that encouraged people to return in larger numbers? Well, join me as we dive down the rabbit hole and try to find out.

1970: Starting to decline

1970 was the year the UK saw the general release of many perennial favourites, including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Kes and many others. It was also the year when cinema audiences began to decline dramatically in numbers, going from 193 million admissions in 1970 to 176 million in 1971. By the end of 1980 admissions only reached 110 million.

Many blame the expansion of television and the video recorder for the decline. And with Hollywood going through major changes at the time due to several large flops, the big crowd-pleasing spectacles that had been largely used to showcase its superiority to home viewing quickly dropped off. These pictures then took a back seat in the UK, replaced by a mix of personal and experimental projects that appealed to niche audiences as well as television adaptations and sex comedies. From there although attendance was not always in continual decline, and tentpole blockbusters returned, the audience figures never reached the numbers they once had – until 2018!

In 2018 attendance numbers rose with huge hits like Bohemian Rhapsody, Mamma Mia Here we go again, Avengers: Infinity War and Black Panther.

The biggest UK film hits in 2018

2018: What has changed?

There are of course many factors that could have contributed to the rise in cinema attendance. Some insiders put it down to the value of the cinema experience. Going to the cinema is not just about the film anymore, it’s about the communal experience. The ability to buy food, drink, alcohol and enjoy a film with your family and friends on a large screen with luxury seating without having to spend as much as you would for a night at the opera or a football match.

The number of venues dedicated to showing films across the UK is also growing, in different geographical areas. This means that it is easier for audiences to get to cinemas, no doubt helping to encourage repeat visits.

On the other hand, the rise could be a result of Hollywood using their old hits formulas with a new approach. The big hits of 1970, M*A*S*H, Love Story and Airport all had pre-existing fanbases, all being based on novels (some specially written to drum up interest for the movie) and stars with name recognition. Airport having Burt Lancaster and Dean Martin, M*A*S*H having Donald Sutherland and Love Story having Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal. Hollywood often used these tactics in the past, but these films also covered a range of genres: disaster, romance, war/comedy and demonstrated an attempt to appeal to different tastes. Airport focused on Hollywood spectacle, Love Story on personal character drama and M*A*S*H on anti-establishment humour rampant at the time. Helping to attract different audiences.

All these elements can be seen in the big hits of 2018. The genres range from musical to superhero and biopic. And all demonstrate a commitment to bringing in broad audiences through either brand recognition or having a big name attached to the project.

But these films also tackle modern issues that help them appeal to different audiences. Instead of focusing exclusively on white straight men we now have stories about black superheroes, LGBTQ icons and women exploring their sexuality and coming to terms with their own identities. With a lot of money spent on these projects, it must be an attractive prospect for underrepresented groups to see representation on the big screen. All the aforementioned films are also rated 12a. And with cinemas being more easily accessible it makes it easier for every member of the family to watch these diverse tales. The issues of today are being told with old school Hollywood spectacle, which seems to have struck a chord with people, regardless of your opinions on the films.

A long way to go

But despite rising attendance figures, these must be viewed within context. Comparing the populations of the times the average person in 1970 would have visited the cinema around 3.5 times a year. In comparison the higher population the average person will only visit the cinema around 2.7 times a year. Which makes a difference when considering box office takings


UK population estimates and projections, 1951 to 2041 (Office for National Statistics )

With the average ticket price in the 1970s being £6.83 (45p, adjusted for inflation) the total box office takings of 1970 reached £1,318,190,000. Beating 2018’s takings of £1,277,122,327 despite the higher average ticket price and higher number of cinemas.

The average viewer just does not visit the cinema enough to equal the 1970 numbers. So, if cinema is to return to the high attendances it once had, there is still a long way to go. And with the predicted continuing increase of the population, cinemas will need to do all they can to encourage visitors to return or attendance will continue to fall. This could result in cinema closures or another rise in the average ticket price.

What now?

Despite this, the high attendance figures of the past few years indicate that if cinemas continue to appeal to audiences, through showcasing big films that can be viewed by diverse audiences at affordable prices, then maybe we will reach the attendance figures of cinemas heyday again.

Editorials

Three franchises ending soon: my hopes and fears for each

January 13, 2019
Avengers, Star Wars & Jurassic World

Good things come in threes (unless you’re an only child like me, in which case the BEST things come in ones), so this week I’ve picked out three film series that are coming to an end in the near future – one of which will wrap up in the very near future, I might add – and have laid out some of my hopes and fears for each.

Full disclosure: these are three film franchises that I adore, so apologies in advance if this gets emotional.

Let’s do them chronologically, just to keep things simple.

Avengers: Endgame

Avengers: Endgame (Teaser)

The Endgame title was revealed just last month, along with a decidedly threadbare teaser trailer. We saw Tony Stark saying his goodbyes to his beloved, a clean-shaven Captain America concocting a plan, and the reappearance of some faces notably absent from Infinity War. This next (and very much not final) entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be the 21st in the series since Iron Man kicked it all off in 2008, which is in itself a remarkable achievement.

Hopes and fears:

The Avengers find themselves in a sticky situation, with a significant portion of their team (along with half of all beings in existence) wiped out by the jolly purple giant Thanos at the end of Infinity War. Plenty have speculated, but no-one really knows exactly how everything’s going to work out fine in the end for our superheroes, though Ant-Man and his quantum tunnel machine thing surely have something to do with it…right?

Personally, I’m excited to see how Captain Marvel fits into this increasingly-complex puzzle – is she the key to defeating Thanos? More importantly, just where did everyone go after The Snap? I hope the Russo brothers can deliver another perfectly-balanced visual spectacle to follow on from the first film, with solid performances from a very talented cast and plenty more breath-taking MCU action. My only fear is that Endgame won’t live up to expectations, and that the weight of eleven years-worth of interwoven narratives and characterisation finally collapses in on itself.

Fingers crossed we can make it beyond April without that happening…

Star Wars Episode IX

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Trailer)

The as-yet-untitled final episode in the new trilogy is perfectly poised to surprise, I believe. The Resistance has been reduced to a handful of rebels stuffed into the Millennium Falcon, with the ever-angry Kylo Ren now the Supreme Leader of the First Order hell-bent on wiping them out. Han’s gone, Luke’s gone, and, as a result of tragic real-life circumstances, Leia probably won’t feature for long in the new movie. That leaves us solely with the new cast, as well as Lando Calrissian, who is due to make another appearance in that galaxy far, far away.

Hopes and fears:

I’m pretty hopeful for the final act in the Skywalker saga since J.J.Abrams retook the reins. The Force Awakens was excellent, while The Last Jedi was marmite (I loved it, for what it’s worth). Abrams is one of the best currently in the business, and with the story right on the brink of something truly special, I’m already getting excited about seeing how the inevitable Kylo-Rey-Finn love triangle pans out (don’t lie, you were thinking it too).

My fears for Star Wars always stem from Disney’s control over the final product. The worst part of The Last Jedi (ie. the middle bit at the casino) had clearly come about based on the advice of executives who wanted to retain a fun, child-friendly element in what was otherwise a darker and more interesting storyline. If Abrams and his writing team can keep the pesky Mickey Mouse meddlers out of production, we could have an epic space opera on our hands that’s worthy of George Lucas’s original vision, before pod-racing and Jar Jar Binks.

Jurassic World 3

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (Trailer)

I know a lot of people didn’t like Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and I understand why. I also know that, as a long-time fan with rose-tinted glasses fused to my face, I will always find a silver lining in every velociraptor-shaped cloud that floats my way, so I’ll do my best to be objective here.

The Jurassic World movies, though clearly not as expertly-crafted as the original movie, are fun to watch, and have introduced a whole new generation of movie-goers to the classic cloned reptiles. And I think that’s great.

Hopes and fears:

My hope for the final movie in the new trilogy, which hits the big screen in 2021, is that all of the potential that’s been simmering under the surface throughout the first two instalments comes together in the way I’ve always hoped it would. No more weak writing, no more ‘filler’ characters, and no more sauropods left behind on lava-soaked docks as I try not to die inside.

Colin Trevorrow, who did a fine job of resurrecting the series back in 2015, has returned to the director’s chair after being let go by Disney (“creative differences”, and all that jazz), and I think that might be enough to get the trilogy over the line in a satisfactory way – while Fallen Kingdom was often preoccupied with trying to either scare or sadden us, Trevorrow leans more towards giving JP fans what they always wanted to see.

The bottom line

Of the three series in question, Jurassic World 3 has the most potential to crash and burn, which I desperately hope it doesn’t. I think Avengers: Endgame and Star Wars Episode IX are both in great hands and stand a much better chance of delivering, especially since both franchises are guaranteed to carry on beyond 2019 with plenty more Marvel movies in the works and an entirely new Star Wars trilogy reportedly under development.

Fingers crossed for satisfying conclusions featuring copious amounts of Hulk smashing, lightsabre clashing, and T-rex jaws gnashing.

News

60 Seconds of Film – 30th November 2018

November 30, 2018

60 Seconds of Film – your bite-sized weekly roundup of film news, presented by Jules Brook.

In this special edition, we countdown which films have been the biggest draw at the U.K Box Office so far in 2018.

30th Nov 2018 – 60 Seconds of Film

60 Seconds of Film – your bite-sized weekly roundup of film news, presented by Jules Brook.In this special edition, we countdown which films have been the biggest draw at the U.K Box Office so far in 2018.

Gepostet von Big Picture Film Club am Freitag, 30. November 2018

Podcast

60 Seconds of Film – 2nd November 2018

November 3, 2018
02-11-2018 - 60 Seconds of Film

Catch up with this week’s 60 Seconds of Film – your bite-sized weekly roundup of film news, presented by Jules Brook.

02/11/2018 – 60 Seconds of Film

Here is this week's 60 Seconds of Film, presented by Jules Brook – your bite-sized weekly roundup of film news.

Gepostet von Big Picture Film Club am Freitag, 2. November 2018

Reviews

Review: Avengers: Infinity War

September 14, 2018

Every once in a while, a film’s released that you’ve been waiting on for a long time. Maybe it’s the next Star Wars movie, or another masterpiece by Quentin Tarantino. Or maybe it’s that Fifty Shades of Grey sequel you were dying to see (some judgement here). Whatever it is, seeing it on the big screen is always a fantastic occasion, if you’re a movie buff.

Back in April, my wife and I attended the midnight showing of Avengers: Infinity War (if you haven’t been to the midnight showing of a film you’ve been anticipating for a long time, you don’t know what you’re missing). We both had work the next morning but the opportunity was too good to pass up, and naturally, with a screening packed to the gills with comic book nerds, the atmosphere was electric.

Infinity War is an incredible film by all accounts. It’s the culmination of a rich, intricately-woven narrative that began way back in 2008 with the release of Iron Man and shows no real signs of stopping, although most of the all-star ensemble cast we’ve come to love will step down after Infinity War Part 2 (working title). It’s the nineteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it starts the curtain drop that will reach the stage floor next year with the closing chapter of the story.

We grabbed it on Blu Ray this week (the day it was released, naturally) and enjoyed it again from the comfort of our living room. Less atmospheric, perhaps, but no less thrilling.

The premise

If you don’t have at least some inkling about the premise for Infinity War, where’ve you been for the last decade?!

The titan Thanos (Josh Brolin) has spent quite some time acquiring – or learning the whereabouts of – the Infinity Stones, six gems that existed before the Big Bang which were scattered throughout the universe (conveniently, though, mostly in easily-accessible locations). Combined, these stones grant the owner power over the entire cosmos. Thanos has had a left-handed gauntlet fashioned for himself to make wielding the stones more straightforward, once acquired.

Infinity War kicks off immediately after the events of Thor Ragnarok (a strong contender for the best Marvel movie), with Thanos and his Black Order cronies decimating the remains of the unfortunate Asgardians who escaped their doomed planet. After a brief and concise encounter with Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Heimdall (Idris Elba), during which the supervillain acquires the Space stone from the Tesseract, Thanos sends the Black Order to Earth to retrieve the next two sparkly gems (Mind and Time) for his gauntlet while he heads to Knowhere for the Reality stone.

Naturally, the Black Order show up in New York (it’s always New York, isn’t it?) for the Time stone, currently in the protective hands of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), who has just bumped into Bruce Banner and Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr). Once the fists start flying, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) comes swinging in as Spider-Man to join the fray. Meanwhile, in Edinburgh, the Black Order attack Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) in an effort to prise the Mind stone from Vision’s forehead, but are thwarted when Steve Rodgers/Captain America (Chris Evans – no, not that one), Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie) arrive on the scene. Oh, and while all this is going on, Thor has bumped into the Guardians of the Galaxy (Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper).

Yes, that cast is enormous, and I haven’t even mentioned Don Cheadle (War Machine), Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther), Sebastian Stan (Winter Soldier), Benedict Wong (Wong, handily), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts), Benecio Del Toro (The Collector), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury) and, wait for it…Peter Dinklage! There’s more on top of that, but I don’t have enough space in this review for them all.

Thanos’s homicidal quest to balance all life in the universe (by wiping half of it out) brings him into conflict with most of the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, either directly (every punch he lands on a good guy will make you flinch) or through his Black Order, who are themselves formidable enemies. The film ends perhaps unexpectedly and will leave you gagging for the final showdown in next year’s sequel.

Worth the wait?

It’s taken a long time to reach this point in the Marvel saga. We’ve seen a multitude of hero origin stories spring to life, love interests come and go (whatever happened to Natalie Portman?), placeholder villains defeated, and the Earth saved dozens of times, all the while building in anticipation towards the introduction of the ultimate comic book monster Thanos. The question is, was it worth the wait?

The answer is, of course, yes.

Josh Brolin’s Thanos is by far the best villain I’ve seen in a comic-based movie since Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight. He’s menacing and ruthless, yet his intelligent and – dare I say, reasoned – approach to committing mass genocide makes you root for him on some level, which is always the hallmark of a great bad guy. He’s stronger than Hulk, more powerful than Thor, smarter than Stark, and believes just as wholeheartedly in his cause as Captain America. You can’t help but feel all the way through Infinity War like Thanos is genuinely unbeatable, which is how we should feel about this guy who’s been built up for a decade worth of superhero films.

Anthony and Joe Russo have once again knocked it out of the park from their twin directors’ chairs. I’ve loved their style in previous Marvel offerings (Winter Soldier and Civil War) and felt confident that the Infinity War double was in safe hands. Their expert blend of pacing and specific visual approach keeps the film ticking along nicely – it never drags despite its 149-minute runtime and the action is always easy to ingest, no matter how many hundreds of fist-fights are happening simultaneously onscreen.

They’ve also got the best out of their cast, which is no mean feat considering the sheer number of A-list actors in this movie all vying for meaningful screen time. And yet every one of them gets a genuine punch-the-air-type awesome moment (“We have the Hulk…Wakanda forever…bring me Thanos!”) that you’ll be talking about for a while after watching the movie. For me, the best moment of the film was the subtle flicker of confusion on Thanos’s face as a certain all-American hero matched his strength, just for an instant.

The Bottom Line

Infinity War is a dazzling spectacle of thrilling visuals, clashing egos (Star-Lord squaring up to Thor is a wonderful, hilarious moment) and satisfying story-telling. The antagonist is more than a match for the band of heroes we’ve come to love, and it’s all set up perfectly for what will hopefully be a fantastic closing chapter to this epic, ambitious story.

If you haven’t seen the eighteen films that came before, it’s worth watching them first to avoid getting very lost in the narrative – even if you’ve seen them before, you may need a reminder as there’s simply so much going on in this movie. It’ll be worth your time, though.

This is another five-star review (they come like buses, don’t they?) because I just can’t fault this movie for what it is – the complete superhero film we’ve been waiting for. It’s a lot of fun, and well worth grabbing on DVD or Blu Ray this week.

Verdict: (5 / 5)