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Space movies: Where do we go from here?


Staff Writer 

Movies that explore the stars beyond Earth are becoming increasingly more popular each decade and the bar is constantly being raised for what these film should be in terms of scope and quality. There are many factors that have heightened these expectations and caused film makers to be so drawn to creating these bold adventures.

As technology is improving, there are more and more space related films being released by different studios. For the past five years, there has been one huge space movie that towers above many other films. These films do well at the box office and receive critical acclaim more often than not. Infamous directors like Christopher Nolan, Ridley Scott and Alfonso Cuarón are all known for their major contributions to this small but impactful type of film.

There are several plausible reasons why these directors are interested in setting their film in the dark reaches of space. It may be because everyone is a space fanatic now. The space fanatics from the 1970s grew up watching films like “Stars Wars” and “2001: A Space Odyssey,” which were produced with limited technology in comparison to the technology we have now.  Filmmakers desire to create even more realistic, more captivating and more mind-bending space films. Who would not want to make their own “Star Wars” movie?

Another cause for the increase in space films is money, a powerful tool in Hollywood that has benefitted science fiction movies as of late. Space films can and often do garner millions of dollars at the box office. However, as the number and quality of these films increases, so do the critics’ and fans’ expectations of those films. The audience will not be fooled by producers intending to make a box office hit out of a space film. They have to work harder than that with new stories, new scientific possibilities and great special effects.

Box office hits like 2013’s Gravity with a budget of $100 million grossed 723.2 million dollars and from there people will constantly want more.

space movies
Space movie box office gross, courtesy

A challenge that directors face is the difficult task of impressing the generation of space nerds from the 1970s and the ten-year-old kids that are just learning about space. It is hard to balance that sense of awe along with maintaining a compelling narrative. Space films are only impressive if executed properly, for the story has to be a 10/10, the actors have to make it all seem believable and the aliens cannot look cliché.

Over the last decade, we have been introduced to the many possibilities that space can bring us as well as the fears that come from being away from earth. In the years to come, the audience will only become more skilled at differentiating amazing space films from mediocre space movies. Also, our knowledge and understanding about space will broaden and these movies must keep up with these discoveries. It will be interesting to see if directors and studios run out of ideas, if audiences will grow tired or if space movies will fall off altogether.

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