Remember when everyone was talking about Scandinavian crime drama? Remember when true crime documentaries were confined to the kind of cable channels that didn’t get much traffic? Remember when blockbusters weren’t just remakes, sequels, or franchise fodder? Remember when stand-up was all about constantly remembering things? Do you remember June 8e, 1984? Well, you might not remember the date, but you’ll know what spawned it.
On this fateful day in the history of cinema, two huge films were released in the world: ghost hunters and Gremlins. For anyone other than those with a misfit animosity for smiles and fun, these two-family favorites are popcorn masterpieces. Whether you’re an eight-year-old wild child with your finger in your nose, or an esteemed eighty-year-old retired judge also with your finger in your nose, you’ll probably at least passively enjoy both movies.
They were blockbusters brimming with fun and originality, so much so that they even helped define an era for which modern television and cinema seem to yearn with nostalgia. stranger things is rewriting the record books and it’s actually a tribute to the films of the golden age that it depicts, when family entertainment seen together in the cinema or around the same TV was all the rage.
Therefore, it seems remarkable that the two films were released on the exact same day. And this collision had sad side effects. In the 1980s, your movie memories would probably belong to the variety you might call Haribo movies, the genre that kids and adults alike love. Made in this nostalgia-soaked sugar-coated mold, movies like the aforementioned duo alongside The Goonies, The Breakfast Club, The Maze, The Neverending Story and a host of other teenage adventure tales with enough self-aware charm and sideways glances to still captivate adult audiences to this day.
In short, it represents a fad – a glorious fad, but a fad nonetheless. Naturally, these modes represent only a fraction of the film production of each era, and you would be right to point to the reverse surges of independent films and other emerging genres, even among mainstream audiences. However, when you look back, this pocket of blockbusters – who clearly drink from the same bar – stand out more than most.
While on the surface their occurrence may seem obvious; if a film is a Hollywood box office success, it is in the studios’ interest to try to emulate the success. Since the rapid commercialization of Hollywood, when fish became a box office savory dish with Jaws in 1975, profits and their sustainable generation came to the fore.
This coincided with movies like The Gate of Paradise and Revelation now where runaway writers nearly brought entire studios to ruin. In fact, six days after filming began on The Gate of Paradise, director Michael Cimino was already five days late. By week two, United Artists had calculated that at the current rate the film would cost them a million per minute of usable footage. So the studios obviously had to get things under control, and figuring out what was hot or not was part of the process.
Again, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s quite a good thing, we want what we like, and the odd taste bud test olive will inevitably crop up anyway. But on June 8, 1984, we also saw things get competitive. Two huge blockbusters clashed. Although it would seem that a Halloween release date might have been suitable ghost hunter and a Christmas date would certainly have been more appropriate for Gremlinsit was now necessary to fill the commercial places and win battles.
The story of how ghost hunters materialized is a paradigm. Dan Ackroyd pitched a very different script to the one we know to director Ivan Reitman. He admired the basic concept but knew it needed a lot of tweaking. However, he was still able to introduce Columbia Pictures chief honcho Frank Price with just a title and his three comedic stars: Ackroyd, Bill Murray, and Harold Ramis. As we now know, Price recklessly agreed, and the bet paid off. We were the benefactors of this gamble, but we are also the victims of an accompanying stipulation: the film was to be released 13 months later.
While Reitman and co have been successful, and delays are a by-product of life, the rush to get to market has reverberated ever since. Now we see half-baked garbage delivered just in time for school vacations, crews besieged by mountains of work resulting in environments not conducive to creativity at best, and dangerously sloppy, blind and intimidating at worst.
Reitman and co’s triumphant redesign was a victory for creativity and we feasted on great works like stranger things inspired by the massive influential film since. But that marked the end of such exploits. After all, when the meteoric disaster of The Gate of Paradise hit the fan, main star Kris Kristofferson recalled the first signs of the scale of the disaster in Cannes when a chance meeting in an elevator with AU chairman Norbert Auerbach led the tycoon to remark quietly: “The money must be taken from the creatives. To which Kristofferson retorted, “Who are you going to give it to?” Uncreative people? »
His question was valid and will remain so forever. In fact, it’s so valuable that it’s underpinned the entire film industry ever since. If outlaw writers interviewing 300 horses for a role were to be stopped in their wasteful ways, then films had to be crafted by committee. The problem is that brainstorming almost never works. They may have been lucky in the 80s, but yields have since declined with every step towards commoditization.
Ever since brainstorming was first scored by an advertising agency head named Alex Osborn in 1939, every study conducted on it proves that it ultimately doesn’t work. As researcher Ben Taylor writes in Why Most Brainstorms Don’t Work“Three big issues emerge from the research. First, people have a penchant for agreement and conformity. A promising idea at the start of a brainstorm tends to shape the rest of the session as people gradually align.
He continues, “Secondly, participants tend to lose their train of thought when other people are speaking out loud or sharing in front of the group. Called “production blockage,” this phenomenon actually hinders the generation of new ideas. »
Finally, he concludes: “Brainstormers have a penchant for practicality. Despite Osborn’s emphasis on crazy ideas, groups tend to favor “reasonable” solutions that seem feasible on paper. In front of so many peers, there’s too much social pressure to risk a crazy idea that might fail.
So with that last point still fresh, it often happens that modern Hollywood movies, most often concocted in a boardroom as opposed to the weathered notebook of a hope that has pondered a dream for years, ignore a crazy idea. that could fail and defend a plan that has already succeeded. ‘How do we do Tornado, but in space! People love space! And people love Bruce Willis…’ all of a sudden Tornado becomes Armageddon And so on…
Gremlins is the perfect example of this theory. In fact, you could have a lot more bedroom space. The screenplay was written by a young outsider to the industry named Chris Columbus. As he lay in bed at night, he could hear mice crawling around his loft, but he could never see them. Perhaps after a little too much cheese, it left his mind racing, and the playground of his imagination quickly threw the mice like other little beasts.
Its storyline following a pet that needs particularly specific care caught the attention of Steven Spielberg who called it “one of the most original things I’ve come across in many years” and the great one-two from the summer of 1984 cinema came gloriously to the fore. However, the notion of creative competition between the two has sadly crippled cinema to some extent ever since.
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