"Hard" science fiction and the future of movies

There’s a science fiction movie called Europa Report, and when I say “science fiction,” I mean real sci-fi, not an action thriller, franchise or horror crossover special effects extravaganza summer blockbuster blowout.

This movie uses real science to back up its tale of space travel. At least, that’s what I’m hearing, and I hope it’s true, because I miss this kind of science fiction. We sure don’t get a lot of it at the box office these days. I plan to see it as soon as I find a theater showing it.

The reason we don’t see a lot of this is simple: It doesn’t draw big audiences. It’s those summer blockbusters that get sweaty butts in the seats, and this is indicative of a huge shift we’re seeing in the movie industry.

I predict over the next five years most theater movies will be huge, big-budget action and special-effects thrillers. The more story-centered, “smaller” films will stop showing up in theaters and be released through HBO, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc. In the next few years, not even Spielberg would be able to get a “Lincoln” into theaters.

Ticket prices will go up, and the big budget movies (which will increasingly be franchise pictures because the studios will take fewer chances on products that don’t guarantee a return) will have much longer runs, and there will be fewer of them.

Meanwhile, we’ll be staying home more.

This may not be a bad thing — I think we’ll see even more good movies, more stories, maybe even more “hard’ science fiction on screen, because even though they have smaller audiences, the home networks are able to get more return on investment. They’ll take more chances, like the cable networks are taking more chances on TV series like Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, and The Walking Dead, that the broadcast networks won’t touch.

I just hope some of those might be the classic space travel “hard” science fiction I grew up on. If a network decides to take a chance on a serious miniseries based on Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” books — I’ll die a happy man.

Here’s the trailer for Europa Report:

One thought on “"Hard" science fiction and the future of movies

  1. bakedmoviereviews

    I think your predictions is completely accurate. I go to the cinema a lot less than I used to now because of the prices and because all the blockbusters seem to be so samey. I hope you’re right that staying home will improve the quantity and availability of quality movies!

    Reply

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