Moonfall Director Roland Emmerich Is Skeptical About The Future Of Non-Franchise Movies [Exclusive]

Anyone interested in the state of filmmaking these days — or even before the pandemic shook up the theatrical landscape — can't miss the fact that only a very specific type of movie on a very particular budget level has continued to thrive at the box office in recent years. With the sole exception of low budget horror, only the biggest and most expensive IP-based blockbusters seem to stand much of a chance at succeeding in theaters with current audiences. Any number of factors may contribute to this new status quo, stemming from popular franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe training moviegoers to expect a certain "event movie" status every single time out (sort of like "theme parks," if you will) to, perhaps, an increased need for escapism given the state of, well, everything. Perhaps it's a combination of several various forces at work.

Wherever the truth of the matter may ultimately reside, the bottom line is filmmakers who are hungry to tell original stories on a larger scale are sadly out of luck, more often than not ... and many established names throughout the business are taking note. Director Roland Emmerich is well aware that "Moonfall," the latest disaster epic from the mind behind movies like "Independence Day," "Godzilla," "The Day After Tomorrow," "2012," and many more, is coming out during a very fraught period of time in the industry. As you might expect from the very vocal filmmaker, Emmerich has thoughts about this current blockbuster landscape and whether productions that aren't part of franchises can actually survive in the coming years. Read on for his honest perspective and frank assessment on whether non-superhero or "Star Wars" movies made for the big screen have any real future.

"It's Difficult. I'm Very Skeptical."

When someone as successful in navigating the rigors of filmmaking for as long as Roland Emmerich voices concerns about the future of non-franchise films, the rest of us would probably be well-advised to listen. In an interview with /Film's Jacob Hall, Emmerich opened up about the constant superhero movies and "Star Wars" products flooding the marketplace, the increasing tendency for movies to end up on streaming services rather than in theaters, and the kinds of movies he'd personally love to make (but doesn't have much hope for). Check out Emmerich's response to a question about how he envisions the future of sci-fi and what the "next big thing" may be for the genre at large.

"I would love to make a movie of the book 'The Forever War,' or 'Childhood's End' would be also a great film, but I don't think they will be getting made. Maybe as a TV series, I don't know, because people stay away from these single fiction ideas. And then, just as long as they can do Marvel movies, and DC comic movies, and keep going with the 'Star Wars' saga, they will be happy. The studios want to make money, and the streamers want to make money. So the only way I can see that is [you have to work] with the streamers, which defeats the purpose of making a movie for a big screen, and then maybe have it only in a couple of theaters playing and then get streamed. So it's difficult. I'm very skeptical [about] where we go from here, because it can come back to old movie experiences, swing full back to the movie theaters, but I don't believe that will quite happen."

In case anyone might worry that Emmerich will himself pivot towards streaming services, as titans of the industry like Martin Scorsese or David Fincher have done, you can put those concerns to bed. The director caps this remark by definitively stating, "I'm working for the big screen." His mentions of Joe Haldeman's sci-fi book "The Forever War" and the Arthur C. Clarke novel "Childhood's End" are particularly intriguing, given the genuinely thought-provoking ideas and concepts at the heart of those stories that would lend themselves to cinematic adaptations. Here's hoping the future will be somewhat brighter than Roland Emmerich predicts.

"Moonfall" arrives in theaters on February 4, 2022.