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I just made the comparison, and it’s absolutely shocking.
Here are the top 10 box office films of 1968, domestically, in descending order.
2001: A Space Odyssey, Funny Girl, The Love Bug, The Odd Couple, Bullitt, Romeo and Juliet, Oliver!, Rosemary’s Baby, Planet of the Apes, and Night of the Living Dead.
Among those, there are three Best Picture nominees (including the winner), plus the winner for Best Editing, two classic horror thrillers, and two sci-fi masterpieces.
A pretty fine bunch of films (plus The Love Bug).
And in 1969, you had Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Midnight Cowboy, Easy Rider, Hello, Dolly!, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, Paint Your Wagon, True Grit, Cactus Flower, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and Z.
That’s four Best Picture nominees–including the winner–back when they only had five nominees!
Plus the films that won for Actor and Supporting Actress.
The public liked what the awards groups liked! And Hollywood was turning out a lot of original films (though On Her Majesty was part of the Bond series).
Well, here are the top 10 of last year.
1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 $381,011,219
2. Transformers: Dark of the Moon $352,390,543
3. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 $281,287,133
4. The Hangover Part II $254,464,305
5. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides $241,071,802
6. Fast Five $209,837,675
7. Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol $208,881,637
8. Cars 2 $191,452,396
9. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows $186,711,434
10. Thor $181,030,624
The top nine were sequels! More of the same! Spare parts of franchises!
The 10th choice might as well have been.
Except for a few technical categories, none of these were major Oscar contenders.
No Best Picture nominees or even Actor, Actress, Director, Screenplay, etc.
Obviously there is a huge disconnect between what today’s public wants (loud blockbuster sequels) and what the critics like (quality).
And it didn’t used to be that way!
The sky is falling!