While investing in Cuaron was by no means as simple as good business sense he hasn’t made a commercial hit outside of “Potter” it was a move by Warner Bros. to trust that quality filmmaking can perform just like something with brand recognition, and in the case of “Gravity,” be more memorable for it. It Doesn’t Take $250 Million Part of the trade-off of funding a movie based on an original concept from an acclaimed director with largely untested box-office drawing power is that the budget doesn’t balloon as high as it does for something like “The Lone Ranger.” “Gravity” cost $100 million to make, and the money was spent in the right places. Cuaron cast two of today’s biggest stars and essentially everything else went into state-of-the-art technology. And all the effects were essential to the story and innovative enough to make audiences feel like hadn’t seen anything like it before. It Doesn’t Take Two And A Half Hours Here is probably the easiest lesson for other studio films to learn from. A movie can seem even more impressive if it tells a compelling story within the span of 90 minutes. The non-stop tension of “Gravity” combined with its tight running time affected the overall experience of watching the film because the immediacy of the danger wouldn’t have felt as real if you were checking your watch at the two-hour mark, trying to figure out when this thing would end. Making a film that is as big as “Gravity” in only 90 minutes shows that Cuaron wanted this story which in essence is pretty simple to be stripped down only to the essential elements. People Will Come… Marketing departments for film studios have been programmed to believe certain things about their intended targets. Often TV ads are edited in a way to make the film appear to be something it’s not. A recent example even caused a lawsuit, when the moody “Drive” suddenly became a “Fast and Furious” clone in 30-second spots. The ads for “Gravity” presented the movie accurately and used its own imagery to let everyone know just how suspenseful the end product will be.
It’s embarrassing to have seen it at all. And yet the two movies layer on each other and morph into this big creepy mass that keeps you from feeling safe in your house even though one of those movies clearly didn’t earn your fear. 2. The Blair Witch Project (1999) The Blair Witch Project isn’t really a bad movie. In fact it’s so good that it paved the way for a lot of other movies. After it came out, other movies allowed their monster mythology to be vague, instead of explaining every detail. Other movies used the found footage technique to give people a sense of immediacy during the experience and reality after it. Other movies threw out the formula that said “the girl lives,” in favor of killing everyone and leaving the audience alone with the monster at the end. The problem is, we’ve had fourteen years of movies doing exactly that. After all these years the Blair Witch should have uncoiled her hairy fingers from our psyche. It should be nineties nostalgia by now. But do we watch it when we’re going camping? No. No we don’t. Because there is going to be some night when we have to leave the tent to go to the bathroom, and we want to be able to do that instead of cowering in our sleeping bags and holding it in until dawn.