stevne spielberg Lincoln

The Steven Spielberg Brand Has Become Diluted

I remember a time when Steven Spielberg’s name alone was enough to sell me on a television series or movie. I’m not going to lie, I will still see anything this filmmaker makes, but I’ve become a bit more hesitant especially in the television arena. The Spielberg brand has taken a hit with barrage of crappy television projects featuring a Spielberg producer credit. These television shows make great use of Spielberg’s name in the marketing materials, but the filmmaker’s influence seems almost nonexistent in these projects. The quality of these television productions is taking a toll on the Spielberg name brand.

Spielberg used to be associated with the magic and wonder of the old Amblin films and the adventure and thrills of movies such as the Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park franchises. But as Spielberg evolved as a filmmaker, he decided to make more serious dramatic films. Some of these movies have been really great, but the diversification of his art has complicated the public association with the filmmaker’s brand.

I’m honestly not sure if there are many directors today that can sell a film based on their brand alone. The first two that come to mind are Christopher Nolan and in a smaller respect Quentin Tarantino.

Ready Player One cover

Ready Player Spielberg: A Look at the Future of Spielberg’s Blockbusters

Only the future will tell if Spielberg has indeed “lost his blockbuster touch,” but the kind of stories he is surrounding himself with gives me hope. The following three blockbuster film projects seem to indicate that the filmmaker’s tastes might not be out of tune with the modern general audiences.

Tintin and The BFG were probably not the best choices, but the filmmaker’s next film Ready Player One feels like the selection of a younger Spielberg. The story seems to have all the ingredients that audiences could want from a Steven Spielberg film, and unlike The BFG, it has greater star power (Ben Mendelsohn, T.J. Miller, Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Simon Pegg) and an exciting topical high concept that should attract a larger audience. This film is in production now and the only one we know for sure is getting made but Spielberg’s potential blockbuster future shows promise.

Spielberg’s adaptation of Daniel H. Wilson’s book Robopocalypse also sounded very promising, but who knows if he’ll ever make the film. Its a science fiction story told after the robot uprising, a tale many people have likened to the work of late Jurassic Park author Michael Crichton. Adapted for the screen by Drew Goddard (Lost, The Martian, Cabin in the Woods, Cloverfield), the film was once gearing up to be filmed in summer 2013 with Chris Hemsworth, Anne Hathaway and Ben Whishaw before Spielberg put the project on hold indefinitely.

And of course there’s Indiana Jones 5 which will reunite Spielberg with Harrison Ford. It seems that Spielberg has something to prove after Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and while the filmmaker says his friend George Lucas will be involved, it will likely be in a minimal capacity.

While I’m not sure the Steven Spielberg name brand is enough to sell a movie these days, I think it’s too early to make assumptions about Spielberg’s blockbuster prowess. The next few years will tell us a lot, and I would never bet against the legendary filmmaker.

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