The Californian

Hollywood in it for the money, not art

Mason Allen, Staff Writer

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If you look at the 10 highest grossing movies from 40 years ago in 1977 and compare those with the 10 highest grossing movies of 2017, you’ll notice some differences. 

First of all, 1977 was a great year for film. Some of the movies among the top 10 highest grossing films of the year include classics such as “Star Wars,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Smokey and the Bandit,” “Saturday Night Fever,” “The Spy Who Loved Me,” and “Annie Hall.” 

These films have become important parts of pop culture and film history. 

But there’s also something else you might notice: almost none of these films were part of bigger franchises. The only sequel on the list was “The Spy Who Loved Me.” 

In fact, six of the highest grossing movies of that year were completely original, not based on any pre-existing works. Out of the four that were based on pre-existing works two  (“The Spy Who Loved Me” and “The Deep”) were based on books, “A Bridge Too Far” was based on a true story, and “Saturday Night Fever” was based on an article entitled “Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night” from a 1976 issue of New York Magazine.

Not only were these movies beloved by audiences but also by people in the industry as well. 

At the Academy Awards that year, the most golden statues were given to “Star Wars,” which was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director (George Lucas), and Best Supporting Actor (Alec Guiness as Obi-Wan Kenobi). The film managed to win Best Sound, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, and Best Film Editing.

Although it won the most awards, it was beaten by Woody Allen’s surprise romantic comedy, “Annie Hall” which won Best Picture, Best Director (Allen), Best Actress (Diane Keaton), and Best Original Screenplay (Allen).

Of the 10 highest grossing movies of that year all but one were nominated for Oscars and four won Oscars that year. Compare that with the 10 highest grossing movies of 2017. 

Out of the 10 highest grossing movies last year, none of them are original franchises. Instead, they are seven sequels, four comic book movies, two reboots, and a remake. 

Their profits combined to rake in more than $10 billion, which exceeds the GDP of Madagascar. 

These movies did not do very well during this year’s award season. At this month’s Oscars, only three of the 10 highest grossing movies were even nominated for awards, and none of them were nominated for one of the big five awards (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Screenplay).

But  these trends might reflect changing tastes of moviegoers. Keep in mind that one of the 10 highest grossing movies of 1977 was “Annie Hall,” a romantic comedy directed by and starring a man who wasn’t very famous at the time. 

The idea of a movie like that even coming close to reaching the top 10 highest grossing movies list is absurd in this day and age.

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