This summer we have and will continue the witness the usual summer of blockbusters. Although the release of successful film sequels in the peak blockbuster season of summertime, is nothing new and unusual. This year we are witnessing a larger amount of not only sequels and prequels, but most significantly our new commercial cinema friend the ‘Franchise Reboot.’
The most notable cinema reboot of recent years was the franchise of ‘Batman’. In Time Out magazines article entitled ‘The Art Of the Film Franchise Reboot’ they distinguished the need for a reboot in the following way:
‘The original Wobbly batmobile; unpersuasive Gotham; agreeable but randomly selected leading man.
Updated because Mr Freeze’s ‘Cool it!’ puns; global neon shortage.’
This article highlights the fact that several sequels later and a franchise can loose its way, bearing little to no resemblance to the original (the whole reason the following films were made in the first place). This is dangerous territory economically as well as critically as these films not only alienate the original fans but taint the perspectives of new viewers, who have just watched only this latest installment and therefore scaring them off seeing the original. Time Out’s example of Batman shows how a franchise can do a go 360 degrees over time and a reboot can help to be put it back in alinement with what the fans love about the a film. Batman began as a camp series in the sixties, then the mind of Tim Burton created a surreal and gothic vision of this universe that proved most popular with fans. A few sequels later however and Joel Schumacher had taken Tim Burton’s creation and made something that was outrageously camp like the series, but in a Tim Burton format. It was no surprise then the fans were thrilled when the first installment of the reboot from Christopher Nolan took it back to its dark roots. This went on to make the second installment in the reboot series ‘The Dark Knight; which was one of the most commercially and critically popular films this side of the millennium. This summer we will see the last installment from this reboot series from Nolan and I am not alone in the excitement felt for this film, in fact I have never witnessed such hype and speculation about a film, before its release.
The reboot of Batman eight years later, taking it back to its sinister roots was necessary and gave the character a new lease of life, which felt organic to the viewer, as the direction the films were heading previously was somewhere uninspired, cliche and just plain terrible. However the reboot of the ‘Spiderman’ series, entitled ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ does not have the same organic feel about it, in fact quite the opposite. Only five years after the final release from the original film series, this reboot is in the shortest time period from its successor to date. Sam Raimi’s ‘Spider-Man’ had the largest box office takings in an opening weekend for its time. The third installment from this series is still ranked as the fifth in the largest grossing box office weekends ever with the third installment still holding a respectable 6.3 rating on IMDB from critic reviews. The production team is still the same, so is the look and feel of the film from the trailers. All these factors make the reboot of this franchise difficult to see as anything but for financial gain off the back of the last series, rather than an interesting new take on a character and therefore a credible film in its own right. ‘The amazing Spider-Man’ will be released nationwide in cinemas in the UK from July 4th.