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Archive for November 10th, 2012

By Bob Clark

In the past 50 years, there have been about 23 Bond films, give or take the ones not produced by EON. That’s a rate of a movie almost every two years, and each one at a scale and scope that would dwarf most other pretenders to its action adventure mantle. A few other franchises have been as productive, in their shorter span on the cultural horizon– the X-Men film series, launched by Bryan Singer in 2000, has managed a healthy five films so far in the past dozen years, with at least two more currently on the way. Others have been a bit more limited in their output– in 35 years there have been only six Star Wars episodes (versus at least 18 Bond films over an equivalent span), though after Disney’s purchase of the franchise that restrained approach will likely vanish at the drop of a Mickey Mouse eared hat. Plenty more have done whatever they could to milk every last ounce of audience interest in their various flagging series of spectacles, pulling whatever kinds of narrative tricks and gimmicks they could come up with– we’d probably still be seeing Pink Panther movies coming out if it weren’t for Peter Seller’s death, and that still wasn’t enough for 3 different attempts to reboot the series. With all the longest running and longest active franchises there’s inevitably been a sense of diminishing returns both in terms of creativity and general interest– you can almost track the moment the  Star Trek series ran out of steam at the point when even fans stopped calling the movies by their titles and nicknamed them “The One With the Whales” and so forth.

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