Why We Love Our Summer Blockbusters | 9Lives
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I can’t help but love a good old summer blockbuster movie (I think everyone can relate). There is something so thrilling about the anticipation, the buildup and the sheer enjoyment of immersing myself in another world of sci-fi or action-packed suspense for a couple of hours or so. With big budgets and big stars, Hollywood certainly knows how it’s done. But why is this movie madness synonymous with summer (Northern Hemisphere summer, that is), and why are Summer Blockbusters so popular, bringing in heaps of cash dollar?

To answer these questions, I took a trip down memory lane and dug a little deeper into the story behind how summer blockbusters became a commercial success, with such a massive global impact on pop culture.

So let’s take a minute to ‘pause’ and ‘rewind’

The year was 1975 and a revolution was about to hit the world of entertainment. The release of JAWS, directed by Steven Spielberg, was the first true blockbuster and essentially changed the world of film. Where before summer was a time to soak up some sun and spend lazy days at the beach, JAWS offered something new. With the help of clever television advertising (and we thought Don Draper mastered the art of persuasion), an enticing offer was made: a respite from the hot sun and into the cool movie theatre, where viewers could experience the exciting plot, suspense and danger surrounding a man-eating shark. Universe certainly earned every single penny of their ample advertising budget – approximately $1.8 million. Appealing to a wide audience, long queues of eager Americans were busting the cities blocks in the hopes of catching the release; and boy were they glued to the screen. Racking up a whopping $7 million just on its opening weekend, JAWS kept rolling in more and more green.


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This was only the beginning…

A lightbulb moment for studios, this set the stage for “summer franchises” that would attract a large audience; and they masterminded ways to promote these over-the-top films. By airing trailers on television, they created a massive hype surrounding their summer releases. So Jaws went on to have three sequels; Jaws 2, Jaws 3-D, and Jaws 4: The Revenge (though they were in no way near as successful as the first). This strategy became almost foolproof with the release of director George Lucas’s Star Wars on May 1977 (a household name to this day), which brought in a hefty $307 million to theatres across America. This paved the way for many ensuing Summer Blockbusters. Here are a few honourable mentions:

Let’s start off with Ridley Scott’s surprise hit Alien (1979), which certainly evoked suspense among viewers, with its tagline; “In space…no one can hear you scream”.

Raiders of the Lost Ark, a joint venture of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg portraying a more fast-paced rendition of old-school adventure serials.

A story of friendship, the whole world fell in love with, E.T the Extra Terrestrial (1982), Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi sensation.


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Spielberg’s Jurassic Park (1993) blew the minds of viewers, and its animatronic dinosaurs special effects were game changers in the world of film.

On a lighter note, one of the most iconic summer blockbuster animations would be the Lion King (1994). Now this movie evokes such fond childhood memories and ‘Hakuna Matata’ is still music to my ears.

As we hit the millennium, the likes of Finding Nemo (2003), The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003) and the Marvel and DC Superhero movie hits, from groundbreaker Spider-Man (2002), Iron-Man (2008) and the Dark Knight (2008), to Avengers (2012), are definitely worth a mention – offering something we can relate to, many of which are integral to our upbringing.

Fast-forward 2019

Nowadays we may not have long queues of people waiting to buy their ticket to the next summer release (the latest summer releases are rather queuing on BitTorrent), but we love them for the same reason. With just enough action, they are also heart-warming, relatable, sometimes light-hearted and often fun and funny (even if a tad overdone). They allow us to escape from our seemingly mundane reality to become part of a fantasy world where we are part of the challenge of overcoming imminent danger; or a story full of plot twists in which we just have to see the end, no matter how predictable it may be.

Here are a few must-watch summer blockbusters to look out for in 2019 (sourced, IMDb):

  • Star Wars: Episode IX
  • Avengers: Endgame
  • The Lion King
  • Aladdin
  • Toy Story 4
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home
  • The Secret Life of Pets 2
  • Fast & Furious presents: Hobbs & Shaw
  • Frozen 2
  • It: Chapter Two
  • Captain Marvel
  • Dumbo
  • Pokémon Detective Pikachu
  • The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters


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What do you love about summer blockbusters? Feel free to share your favourite of all times in the comment section below.


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