Steven Spielberg has seen it all. The days when movies like “Close Encounters,” “Schindler’s List,” and even “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” could earn upwards of hundreds of millions of dollars might seem like a distant memory to the likes of you and me. But, remember, it wasn’t even that long ago when historical epics like “Lincoln” could gross almost $300 million worldwide. The widely-proclaimed “death” of adult dramas would seem to be a very recent phenomenon.
But that doesn’t mean the greatest filmmaker of our time sees no light at the end of the tunnel. In an interview with Deadline, Spielberg offered up some reason to hope.
Referring specifically to the theatrical marketplace, he said, “I think it will come back, but it’s coming back slowly, especially for dramas.” It’s possible we’re already seeing the very beginnings of this, as this year’s crop of Best Picture nominees happen to be made up of quite a few breakthrough successes. But as for reasons why we’ve found ourselves in such a precarious place, Spielberg pointed the blame squarely at COVID. “I think the pandemic really encouraged a lot of audiences, not just middle-aged audiences, but younger, to stay at home and watch on the medium screens in their houses.” But even while acknowledging the reality of life post-2020, Spielberg noted that:
“We have a social need to be together in the world, I don’t think that will be stopped by a pandemic. It can be frustrated by the pandemic, but eventually we’ll see more adult films doing decent numbers in movie theaters.”
“Decent numbers” might not be the most ringing endorsement, mind you, but it’s better than nothing! For those willing and able, it’s rarely felt more important to support the art we love on the big screen.