Does Birdman have a point?


So…I know that these posts aren’t typical, but there’s one scene in Birdman (Or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) that I think strikes a powerful chord with the modern-day film industry:

I LOVE this movie, but as a more “artsy” (I hate that term) director, I’m always worried when I hear that the only stuff that studios believe will be successful are franchises, fairy tales, and superheroes, Michael Bay-hem stuff. It’s not that I actually HATE action blockbuster movies (obviously, I wouldn’t be a Rocket Jump fan!), but I wouldn’t be happy if that was the only stuff that made money.

What do you guys think?


Obviously here at RocketJump we agree: everything can’t be franchise and formula.

Here’s what it boils down to. Avengers: Age of Ultron had an estimated $250+ Million budget.Nobody, nobody is going to gamble that money on anything “original” or “novel.” It’s not to say that studios always know what they’re doing (see Batman vs. Superman or Suicide Squad or 13th Warrior or 47 Ronin or Catwoman or Fantastic Four etc.), but when they’re putting up that kind of money, they really can’t lose, so they play it safe (which, ironically, sometimes results in a bland movie that doesn’t do well).

If you want original movies, don’t look at blockbusters at all. Look for the lower-budget movies that are off the beaten path!


Boondocks Saints or Serenity, anyone? How about Memento? All awesome movies, for what they were, and not some mega blockbuster. Well, except for we Firefly fans.


Nice trio of movies! But man the list is huge, even among the famous ones. Here are some better-known under-$10M movies (some way under $10M).

  • Snatch
  • Best in Show
  • Garden State
  • Lost in Translation
  • Juno
  • Saw
  • Dogma
  • Brick
  • Little Miss Sunshine
  • 28 Days Later
  • American Psycho
  • Once
  • Donnie Darko
  • Shaun of the Dead
  • Moon


Wow! This is pretty encouraging. You can make truly great movies with a small budget, if you’re smart enough.


@knifebladepresents definitely! Dude, those are just 15 movies made in the last ~15 years that are well known. The vast majority of films that get made are “low budget,” and of the masses of said films, there are plenty of good ones to enjoy.

Do you mostly get to watch the blockbusters that come out in mainstream theaters?


Rip “Ben-Hur 2016” Hollywood’s formula sometimes doesn’t work… 100 million dollar budget, 4 million opening.


Ouch. That’s gotta hurt. Seriously though, I didn’t even know about it coming out until I spotted a review for it.


The other thing to keep in mind, which @Daniel’s list includes a couple examples of, is that a lot of big franchises start with a low-budget film that just happens to really connect with and find its audience. Perhaps the most obvious example was a lower-budget space fantasy film that a lot of people didn’t believe in, where the director had to start his own visual effects company just to get those shots made, called “Star Wars.” I mean, it’s kinda not so popular nowadays and nobody talks about it anymore, but… :stuck_out_tongue:


Ooohhh, that sounds painful…


Good point!

I think maybe Birdman was trying to point out how studios feel about audiences, THINKING that all they want is just action and blood. But in reality, Birdman itself grossed around $125 million, which is VERY good for an arthouse dramedy.