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Lights, camera, cash in!

For the film industry, the summer season at the box office can be the most profitable period. While all-time box office record lists are created primarily by superheroes or digital effect spectacles, we can see a trending priority that has over run today’s film market.

In recent years, the idea of a big budget summer movie has evolved into a film designed around a franchise money-making scheme. With movies ranging from family animated films to live-action superhero recreations, there’s potential excitement for everyone. Not always, however, do these films reflect the necessary tools for a successfully entertaining film.

In the past two years, we’ve seen franchise films set and break their own box office records. During that time span, the all-time highest grossing weekend by a single film was broken twice. First we witnessed the sequel to “Pirates of the Caribbean” garner over $135 million in just two days. The very next year, the highly anticipated “Spider-Man 3” raked in $150 million. However, their success was short-lived. While these films and many others like it may gross extraordinary earnings, they reflect little relation to how they were received by audiences and critics.

Looking closely, we notice the films that gathered the most money are two of the most pleasing and recognizable films of all time. “Titanic” and the original Star Wars surely featured their handful of dazzling special effects, but it was their use of an ensemble cast creating lovable characters that helped the films reach their status of legendary box office triumphs. If, years into the future, we were to look back on today it’s safe to say that neither Spidey 3 or Pirates 2 will be remembered as classic films, as they are considered the worst in their respective franchises.

Franchise films first took a drastic turn in 2005. That year, “Batman Begins” made minor footprints at the box office. Only earning just under $50 million in the first weekend, “Batman Begins” gained the bulk of its change near the end of its long run at the cinemas. With such a strong emphasis on character, “Batman Begins'” director, Christopher Nolan, injected his film with a level of quality that no other superhero films have been able to capture since the original Superman film. Given the strong word of mouth and positive reviews, “Batman Begins” grew its legs and sustained a healthy tenure that earned a total over $205 million.

Much like Christopher Nolan, we have thankfully started to see more directors taking note to such a profoundly unnecessary overuse of digital effects. This year already, “Iron Man” boasted strong character development that drove not only admirable characters, but worthwhile action sequences as well. “Iron Man” alone, has already earned nearly $100 million in its opening weekend. Even though that’s double the size of “Batman Begins,” you can look for “Begins'” sequel, “The Dark Knight,” to possibly rank a considerable all-time high as 2008’s most anticipated film of the summer.

Depending on how many of these high-budget and high-audience films continue to promote quality substance alongside non-conflicting visual effects, it’s only a matter of time before the worldwide movie-going audience is able to catch on and the fullest potential for box office domination is realized.

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