Entertainment

Ben Affleck no longer believes in the future of cinema: “There will soon be only 40 films a year”


The releases of blockbusters at a frantic pace, the difficult recovery following the pandemic and competition from series could, according to the 49-year-old actor, dig the grave in the seventh art.

Scream , Matrix , Where Spiderman: No Way Home . This winter is loaded with remakes or sequels to decades-old saga. A trend that exasperates some, like Ben Affleck. The actor and director shared his pessimism about the future of cinema, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly . According to him, “a thriller like Argo wouldn’t be in theaters these days. And it didn’t come out a very long time ago (in 2012, Editor’s note) ! It would be a mini-series. I think cinema films are going to become very expensive, and will only be events. They’re going to be mostly for young people, and will be kind of what Marvel does. Soon there will be only 40 films a year in theaters, mostly franchises, sequels, animated films.

This observation, the actor draws from the film The Last Duel , which he produced, scripted and in which he plays Count Pierre II d’Alençon. Released in October, this medieval drama flopped at the box office, and didn’t receive the reception it felt it deserved. “I have had ovens with bad films. It made me neither hot nor cold. I know why people didn’t go – they weren’t very good. But I like what we did with The Last Duel. I like our post. I am very proud of it. It is therefore very destabilizing. Then, I realized that the movie worked much better in streaming. This is where our audience is present ”, explains the 49-year-old actor.

A reality heightened by the pandemic and the new habits it has engendered? The price of tickets? Surely. The actor also mentions the increased competition from TV series, which have become works of art in their own right in recent years. “We were talking about Narcos: Mexico, Succession, Mare of Easttown. There are these amazing things that are done on streaming platforms. Roma ! It’s not just stereotypical television like when we were kids. And, back then, you could only watch him like my dad, on an 11-inch black and white TV.

Marvel and Netflix, the scarecrows

Words far from being marginal among the stars of the cinema. Already in 2013, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg gave a lecture to students at the University of Southern California. The latter predicted that“There will be an implosion the day when three-four, even a half-dozen of these films with huge budgets will fail, and the model will change again” as noted BFM TV .

In 2019, Martin Scorsese went in the same direction, opening a debate that has never been closed since. He felt then that the Marvel films were “no cinema” corn “amusement parks“. Faced with the volley of green wood he had received, the director of Taxi Driver and Casino had published a long column of explanation in the New York Times . “Movies [de franchises] are made to meet a specific set of demands and are designed as variations on a limited number of themes, he wrote. These are sequels in the form but remakes in the spirit (…). This is the nature of modern film franchises: they are studied by the market, tested by the public, verified, modified, approved and remodeled until they are ready to be consumed.

A few weeks before the release of his film The irishman on Netflix, Scorsese proclaimed that contemporary cinema was nothing more than an opposition between two visions. “There is global audiovisual entertainment, and there is cinema. They still overlap from time to time, but it is more and more rare ”, regretted the filmmaker. Before concluding : “And I fear that the financial dominance of one may be used to marginalize and even belittle the existence of the other. ”

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