This is a symptom, I think, of the fast, rolling changes in the industry that see studios put more and more pressure on a number of big, big, big movies, rather than spread the load across a wider array of varied pictures. "The old way" might have seen a good number of these tentpoles replaced by a number of mid-scale pictures spread across the calendar.
So, here's a roll call of the big tentpoles, brand name adaptations and franchise pictures that American movie studios have lined up just for that one year.
A good number of these could very easily pull in gigantic box office – but how many dollars are there to go round?
- Avengers: Age of Ultron
- Ant Man
- Star Wars Episode VII
- Jurassic Park IV
- James Bond 24
- Pirates Of The Caribbean 5
- Independence Day 2
- Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 2
- Finding Dory
- Assassin's Creed
- Fantastic Four
- Inferno – the Da Vinci Code threequel
- And then there are slightly smaller or less exciting propositions, such as Kung Fu Panda 3, Smurfs 3, Alvin and the Chipmunks 4, Cinderella.
Something's got to give, surely? It looks like 2015 is the grand championship of studio bluster and super-huge releases. Either a lot of these films will crash and burn at the box office or Hollywood is about to get filthier stinkier richer.
I can't see Star Wars failing to pull in a massive crowd, Avengers is a pretty sound bet, and it should provide plenty of momentum to Ant Man too.
But will the Hunger Games audience have moved on by then? Is there really a demand for another Terminator?
I'd think that the video game pictures, Assassin's Creed and WarCraft, might be on the wobbliest footing. Sure, there's a very big fan base… but does anybody really want these stories to be stripped of their interactive elements?And can they crossover to non-gamers in the way Marvel have grabbed non-comics readers?
I certainly hope so, because there's real talent attached to each of these films.
I think the first of these films to be pushed back will be Fantastic Four… or could it be pulled forward?
Anyway, we're just two years out from the most brutal Summer smackdown the multiplexes will ever have seen. Here's hoping that the quality of the films isn't in anyway throttled by the need to compete.
My expectation is that this density of AAA-title monster movies, all trying to appeal as huge spectacles in the cinematic colosseum, will be the norm from around 2018. Smaller films? Well, I expect they'll mainly live on VOD by then, and the group-viewing experience will be there mostly for epic-scale genre pictures.
I don't think I really like this future… I don't think it's healthy.