By Anthony Kaufman | ReelPolitik May 15, 2005 at 5:33AM
Studio executives, entertainment journalists and celebrity wranglers are spinning their wheels this summer season, pretending to ignore the inevitable: the bloated Hollywood blockbuster is done for. I'm no student of the big studio machine, but I'd like to think the weak box office figures for early tentpoles like "XXX: State of the Union," "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and "Kingdom of Heaven" will drill the nails in the coffin of Hollywood's derivative summer movie slates.
The era of knock-offs, sequels and remakes may finally come to an end with "Revenge of the Sith," which more than one critic has called "Revenge of the Shit." The "shit" reference is everywhere, making it the favorite pun of headline writers these days: "Holy Sith"; "Sith for Brains"; "When the Sith Hits the Fans." This is not a marketing hook that Lucas Film can be enjoying.
Attending a promotional party for "Star Wars" last week, I encountered a life long fan whose patience with the series remains ever-faithful, but stretched to the limits. He's bought his ticket for opening night, of course, but he knows he'll be disappointed. Will this looming sense of dread finally take down the review-proof juggernaut? And if "Star Wars"'s final installment doesn't kickstart theatergoing like the industry is counting on, as Leonard Klady writes in his MovieCityNews column, "you can be certain that industry folk will be contemplating hari kiri." And would that be so bad?
Imagine it: Hollywood finally undergoes a paradigm shift after nearly 30-years of the same-old, same-old. Could moviegoers finally--finally!--be tiring of formula schlock? Of course, the entertainment machine that supports Hollywood efforts -- from EW to Premiere to Entertainment Tonight -- can only go so far as to hint at troubles brewing within the Empire (sound familiar, Dan Rather?). But perhaps it's time for a major overhaul of the entertainment industry. Because just like the unchecked power of the U.S.A., and for that matter, "Star Wars"'s Republic, all imperialist forces are doomed to fall, especially when they overextend their resources and fail to think outside the box.