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Fading Relevance of the Science fiction genre?

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ninXeno426

Jun-06-2017 2:27 AM

It's goes without saying that Alien Covenant's Box office numbers are more than a little underwhelming,but if you look over the past few years then you'll notice with the exception of Star Wars,the New Planet of the Apes films,or Movies like The Martian or Gravity,sci fi has not been doing that great.This year already saw Ghost in the Shell and Life underwhelm critically and financially.Last year Star Trek Beyond became the poorest performing of the new Star Trek films despite solid reviews.Other sci fi revivals such as Terminator Genisys,Independence Day Resurgence,Tron Legacy were even less impressive,both failing with critics and the box office.Even Mad Max Fury Road while Being the most successful Mad Max movie didn't draw much of a croud.Other original films like Edge of Tomorrow have been met with a similar fate.And some films just plain suck(John Carter,Chappie,Jupiter Ascending or The recent Passengers to name a few)So what has happened to Science fiction?I know I've kinda been over this before but is the world's fascination with super heroes to blame?After all when a sci fi movie does make an impression,it's a movie Like Guardians of The Galaxy,a movie that's still technically a super hero movie,or god help me The Transformers movies.It's just seems as if sci fi has ran out of gas at the box office,can't forget other sci fi stand outs like Pacific Rim more or less floped(not hard enough to stop a sequel though)Same goes for Dredd,great movie but nobody saw it.Could Alien Covenant's weak box office numbers been predicted?Does this cast doubt on movies next year like The Predator,Alita:Battle Angel and Ready Player One or even this summer's Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets?Is Sc Fi dying?What do you guys think?

Nothing the God of biomechanics wouldn't let you in heaven for 

23 Responses to Fading Relevance of the Science fiction genre?

Blackwinter-witch

Jun-06-2017 5:15 AM

Sci-fi is being crushed by the superhero movies, there's NO doubt about that, and I'm just repeating what many have been saying for years.

People don't like to think, they just want simplistic plots, even more simplistic writing and lots of action.

So, because of the overall dumbing-down of people (here's a clue, a study recently revealed that over 25% of people in North America believe the SUN revolves around the Earth, and will argue against the Facts that prove otherwise!)
Sci-fi is now back-burner genre.

*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

Bubba Zanetti

Jun-06-2017 5:36 AM

If you trace its history in both literature and film, science fiction has always been a fringe genre. Star Wars is a sort of exception to the rule, but I say never underestimate the genre. It has a depth and richness that speaks to many and it will always be around in some form or fashion...much like punk music :-)

One main reason it will stay around is its the ONE genre that still allows artists to satirize and skewer a cultures sacred values regardless if they are liberal, conservative or centrist. For that reason alone I cant see it going anywhere other than going into the background until the right film or book launches it back into the spotlight.

BZ

MonsterZero

Jun-06-2017 5:46 AM

Yup. Nice write up! Very true.

I don't know anyone who's into sci fi..especially hard sci fi!

My 80 year old dad watches super hero movies. Easy to get into...easy to understand. 

Talking Space Raccoon?! Here's your 500 million! When's the sequel?!

 

Capt Torgo

Jun-06-2017 8:28 AM

SciFi has got potential and people do respond positively when the shit is well made. Beating the audience about the head with pretentious pseudo-psycho babble is not going to leave a good impression, especially with box office numbers. Arrival director, Deny V. I think can bank anything right now cause the mofo has epic raw talent to tell a "SMART" engaging story. Look how successful Arrival was, it even had some SJW crap in it, which I disliked "stupid military listening to rush Limbaugh bomb alien ship" but it did not ruin the film unlike Android, android Android. Really hope the new Predator film is well done which leads to another AVP as I find them enjoyable "dumb" experiences. At least they have a coherent story with characters who actively try NOT to die. With streaming , cheap big flat screens, rising ticket prices, $20 popcorn +soda, second opening week the pirated cam version is free on www., Blu-ray=better quality than cinema almost. All these issues YOU BETTER make a clever, well crafted film to get your money back! Those directors pushing some hidden agenda so to speak can be seen from a mile away, don't care how smart you try to "cloak" it, will likely just repel people in the end. Not to mention the epic POWER your average Joe blow has, with telling his personal story via review, random thoughts etc on YouTube. The cards are now stacked against the old guard, wether studios or directors, they have to make Sound decisions or there is just no place to hide now.

BigDave

Jun-06-2017 9:23 AM

Excellent Post....

And as BWW had mentioned it seems Hero/Action Movies are all the Rage Nowadays... with established Characters/Heros and also Re-hash 80's Movies. (which seem to not do the Originals Justice).

Ghost in the Shell is not a established Hero Franchise not many would know it was based of a Manga Cartoon, and i felt it was not to bad a flick but it did not do so well.

It seems Super Hero and Action Hero movies are the RAGE, the Marvel and DC ones doing Fantastic....  Guardians of the Galaxy is not a established Super Hero Franchise as the others but this movie was done in a way that was aimed at all Ages, it had the same effect that AVATAR had on fanbase... where as on Paper GOTG could have done as bad as the Green Lantern or to twist that round Green Lantern should have done as well as GOTG.... But GOTG had that Green Lantern type Super Hero movie with some also Family like Pixar Characters thrown into it

TRANSFORMERS is  a Sci-fi but based of the Popular Toy Range and 80' Cartoon and it is a Super Hero movie where the Robots are the Super Heroes.

Pirates of Caribbean is a Action Movie where Jack Sparrow is a established Hero of sorts.

These are the movies that seem to do well indeed.... i think other flicks like TERMINATOR movie had suffered from the disappointment of the Previous 2 before Genisys as they simply did not do as well as the First TWO so the Terminator Franchise is kind of like the ALIEN One only it never suffered as much from a Comic Cross Over Action movie... Yep Imagine the Damage to the Terminator Franchise if we had a ROBOCOP VS TERMINATOR

Terminator Genisys did quite well but was considered to not be a great sucsess due to how much they spent on Marketing meant they just about broke even.

As far as Judge Dread Goes, the same is with Punisher, they are not as established as Batman, Spider and Hulk etc... and they are Dark/Serious Movies which does not appeal to as many people as the Marvel movies do.

Logan did well because the success of the X-Men Movies made a Name for Wolverine/Logan, The Dark Knight Batman did well because of how much of a Iconic Character Batman is.

I feel Star Wars works because its not Sci-Fi not really, it is set in a Sci-Fi World but Star Wars is a mix of a Action Hero type Movie and a Super Hero one... and also One of the Most Well known Franchises of all time.

Star Trek does not quite come across as Super Hero as Star Wars movies.

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017

QueenElizabethShaw

Jun-06-2017 9:33 AM

I think it's also a generational problem to some degree. There were a lot of boomers and a fair number of gen-x who grew up reading sci-fi novels because they didn't have all these gaming consoles and devices to get sucked into to occupy their time.

It was one of the best ways to stimulate the imagination. That being said, sci-fi was still always fringe (as has been stated by others). So you take the small percentage that would be inclined to sci-fi and you reduce it further with all this other stimuli and you end up with the fringe of a fringe.

This combined with other issues mentioned in here (such as superhero obsession, societal dumbing down, short attention spans, etc) and you end up with a situation where sci-fi is now in very low demand. Low demand then translates to low supply, and we all suffer unfortunately.

Funny thing is, we're entering an era where Sci-Fi is going to be more relevant than ever, yet it's popularity is at a low.

PickleBack

Jun-06-2017 9:56 AM

Just get a good story. Since millennials grew up with Sci-Fi films, it is hard to impress us anymore. Everything seems like a remake or a copy of the originals. If a Sci-Fi film has a good story that promises the audience something new and exciting then the film will do just fine. Franchise films like Terminator and Terminator suffered from mixed reviews and rehashes recently because they're too familiar. Edge of Tomorrow suffered from poor marketing. The concept of the film "Life" seemed too familiar although I haven't seen the film.

Does the audience have patience in learning Sci-Fi jargon? That's a question the studio asks themselves when they're trying to make a film. In other words, is it marketable? Do we want to dazzle our audience with amazing spectacles? Or lecture them about "Time Dilation?"

Also most Sci fi films rely on the same story beats. There must be a dangerous alien species, space ships, cool planets, new technology etc. and I think some people mistake these as poor writing or a lack in creativity. 

joylitt

Jun-06-2017 10:46 AM

I just watched an awesome documentary that I recommend to everybody in this forum: it is called "Fight for space" and it is about how Nasa and the space program are going nowhere. Most shocking of all are the opinions of the children in this doc, whose political correctness is alarming; they sound like an old politicians. When man was going to the moon, it was an inspiration for the new generation to become scientists and sci-fi flourished: we got Star Trek, 2001: An Space Odyssey with exciting new visions of the cosmos. But nowadays there is no enough motivation, our leaders lack vision, and this transpires into popular culture.

Something Real

Jun-06-2017 11:10 AM

NINXENO426 - Do no trouble yourself with such thoughts. Just like the ocean, all things have high and low tides. There is a cycle. :)

dk

Jun-06-2017 3:53 PM

PickleBack Bingo!

Something Real  all things have high and low tides. True.

I like to compare this post with thrash metal- stay with me. It started on the fringe, a few bands made it pretty popular and accessible, then it went back underground- but it never lost its core fans and there are plenty of bands and fans out there carrying the torch although it has evolved. I will grant is a whole other industry and art form though.

I have said this before- attention spans seem shorter these days and so maybe it would be a good idea to have a two hour sci fi film with a half dozen well written and potent 20 minute self contained shorts. And they don't need friggin sequels. I see nothing wrong a good stand alone movie with no sequels or prequels to water it down. Thanks for indulging the geezer babbling.

 

I Raptus

Jun-06-2017 3:56 PM

dk hahaha I love the analogy between Sci-fi and Heavy Metal

dk

Jun-06-2017 4:11 PM

On the other hand, like music, newer generations keep making sci fi with their own generational stamp. They are going to make it their own like the 70s and 80s folks did. Sci Fi is not dying- it is changing and evolving.......like science. How's that for a syrupy yet honest observation from an old cranky fart?

ALIEN1979

Jun-06-2017 4:20 PM

Star wars is not really sci fi but actually fantasy with sci fi setting only.

It's core is based on knights, magic and dragons and not by science or the unknown in space. Star trek is sci fi.

ninXeno426

Jun-06-2017 4:28 PM

@Something_Real,indeed!Science fiction will always be here.I do recall the 90's with the exception of a few(Terminator 2,The Matrix)to be a particularly poor decade for the genre as well.Right now some of the best sci fi movies I've seen are Low key films such as Ex Machina and Predestination to name a couple.There is indeed plenty of life left in the genre,but for now it's losing at the box office.But every now and then movies Like Arrival and Looper have had the ability to impress critics and audiences alike.

Nothing the God of biomechanics wouldn't let you in heaven for 

ninXeno426

Jun-06-2017 4:35 PM

Funny thing is, we're entering an era where Sci-Fi is going to be more relevant than ever, yet it's popularity is at a low.@Queen Elizabeth Shaw,So very true unfortunately...

Nothing the God of biomechanics wouldn't let you in heaven for 

Ripleys_Ghost

Jun-06-2017 4:54 PM

The problem with the sci-fi genre in this era is that a lot of it is based on very old and tired franchises, from Star Trek to Star Wars.  Investors feel confident putting their cash into those franchises because they are a safe bet, but to some extent, "it's all been done".  It's hardly fresh or innovative.  Even look at Alien Covenant; colonists used as incubators for the Alien... remember the colonists in Aliens?  Remember the Alien being blown out of the airlock in the first movie?  Talk about recycling ideas.

Smart sci-fi loses the modern audience if it's too clever; if it's not clever enough, then the sci-fi aficionados get really irate.  It's a fine line.

Action/hero movies don't require a lot of thought... and people are lazy.  It's often simply good versus evil, but not in the manner of a sweeping epic of the original Star Wars trilogy.

I really think that movie makers play it safe, and modern audiences for the most part are lazy and want some quick, loud entertainment that isn't challenging.

I think that sci-fi has a great future; we just have to challenge ourselves.

dk

Jun-06-2017 4:59 PM

Do away with sequels and prequels. Take Ex Machina. It was good on its own. They didn't get bogged down with prequels with a back story to how it began or sequels to see what happened afterwards. I suppose it will continue as long as people pay to see them.

Batchpool

Jun-06-2017 5:12 PM

In my neck of the woods, in the UK, I have seen a growing interest in Steam Punk Sci-Fi over the last few years. Much of the scene is dominated by older and senior  Sci-fi fans, the interest tends to lean towards a Jules Verne look, with Victorian fashion and retro-fitted technology. Those who I know involved in this scene come from the ranks of metal, punk and goth fans.

I think Sci-fi has fractured into more specific sub genres, and I find that there is lots of interest in cosplay.

 

 

@dk  You were’nt hinting at Space Marines, Genestealers and Bolt Thrower by any chance?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJdGwoqq7kc

 

dk

Jun-06-2017 6:10 PM

Batchpool My comparison to thrash was just that- a comparison. However, Bolt Thrower and the imagery of the video marry up very nicely. (That song is cool- very old school thrash. Maybe it is- I had never heard of this band.)

Im Durp

Jun-06-2017 6:43 PM

I wouldn't say there's no interest, but the sci fi films we're getting that aren't doing very well aren't exactly great movies. Super hero movies may be the flavor for right now, but they're all pretty well constructed movies that are a lot of fun. We saw with movies like Suicide Squad that being bad doesn't save you, if the movie didn't have such a huge opening, it wouldn't have done anything impressive itself. I'd look more at the marketing of these movies than the movies themselves.

The Eighth Passenger

Jun-06-2017 9:02 PM

I think there will be an eventual burn-out on the Superhero trend. It's definitely saturated other genres. I'd wager that the new Robocop and John Connor in Terminator: Genisys were modeled in such a way as if you could dump them into an Avengers or X-Men flick and nobody would bat an eye. When the Marvel movies run dry, Hollywood will just seek to milk the next franchise it can find.

Science Fiction may have a stronger future in TV than film. In that format you can take time and offer the audience something more immersive. I'd cite Westworld and Black Mirror as two examples of popular Sci-Fi shows at the moment. 

I've heard most filmgoers are teens, and movies are something to do on the weekends. If so, then that's the prime demographic that Hollywood caters to. That's probably why there's an Emoji movie and less chance for a cerebral Science Fiction film. Why bother ruminating about philosophy in a space setting when there's a talking blob of poop on the big screen? (I meant the emoji, but that probably applies to some actors as well.)

Ripleys_Ghost

Jun-06-2017 9:44 PM

@Batchpool: "In my neck of the woods, in the UK, I have seen a growing interest in Steam Punk Sci-Fi over the last few years. Much of the scene is dominated by older and senior Sci-fi fans, the interest tends to lean towards a Jules Verne look, with Victorian fashion and retro-fitted technology."

I thought that steampunk had its day years ago?

Batchpool

Jun-07-2017 10:46 AM

@ Ripleys_Ghost

 

Steam Punk is certainly alive and well from what I can see of it. I think one of the reasons why it maintains a level of popularity where I am, is that the geography of the area has plenty of old Victorian mills and early industrial structures. One of the highlights coming up is the Whitby SteamPunk festival in July.  Whitby is certainly a magnet for such things as it was the place which inspired Bram Stoker. Needless to say it attracts lots of attention from Goths and vampire hunters.

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/learn/story-of-england/victorian/dracula-whitby/

 

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