John Landis is a director whose work you’d definitely recognize, from his comedies (The Blues Brothers, Animal House, Trading Places, Coming To America, Three Amigos) to his horror offerings (An American Werewolf In London and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video). This week, Landis granted an incredible (and incredibly long) interview with Entertainment.ie, in which he said exactly what he thinks about many movies and the state of the film industry.
While talking about shared universes and remakes, he pointed out that they aren’t a new thing and gave his brutally honest opinion about the Marvel Cinematic Universe:
I’m bored sh*tless with the Marvel Universe now. All the superhero movies tend to be interchangeable, you always have these mass destruction of cities and huge computer-generated extravaganzas to the point where you could take a reel from any of the Marvel superhero movies and put it any of the others and nobody would notice. They’re very well-made, it’s just they’re the same thing over and over again.
What’s happening is the studios now will make a film for $150, $200 million but they’re afraid to take risks. You asked me about the Dark Universe, if you’re gonna make a movie of The Mummy, why the f*ck do you need Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe?! As soon as you announce that Tom Cruise is in The Mummy, you know you’re not going to see a horror picture! It’s not gonna be The Mummy, it’s going to be the Tom Cruise Show. I don’t know. What no one understands, ideas are a dime a dozen. An idea has no real value. It’s all about the execution of the idea. The best film in two years is probably Moonlight. […] Moonlight, with all its acclaim, what it’s gonna make? $25 to $30 million? They’re not in that business. […] I realize how lucky I am to have worked in the ’70s and ’80s when studios were still run by individuals. […] Now, every studio has a green-light committee and it has a great deal to do with marketing.
He estimated that a full third of the movies in his filmography could not get made now. He also pointed out how the technology to make movies has dropped in price, but marketing has become cumbrously expensive: “[H]ave you seen Get Out? […] Great movie. That cost a little under $5 million. Know how much they spent to open it? […] $38 million.”
It wasn’t all critical, of course. He complimented Wonder Woman, especially Gal Gadot’s performance, along with the aforementioned praise for Moonlight and Get Out as well as lauding Bridemaids while discussing underrated genres: “People forget that comedy and horror are the two genres that get the least respect and are by far the most difficult.”
There was a lot more to the interview, and you can read the whole thing over at Entertainment.ie.