I amN upcoming film Anti-Life, Bruce Willis played the leader of a brazen squad of mechanics who work with saving the remains of humanity from the claws of a deadly shape-shifting alien. At another age – say, 25 years ago – there is a chance that Anti-Life became the seventh or eighth biggest film of the year. It is 2021 though, and Anti-Life looks destined to become yet another unhappy, unreleased video-on-demand (VOD) that primarily serves as the vehicle for Bruce Willis to sleep in for his paycheck. Exists for.
Or at least this will be the case for opening of theaters. But they are not, so Anti-Life finds itself on a similar pagging with every other film coming out. Because now all films, be they blockbusters or terrible late-period Bruce Willis filler items, are VOD films. Despite the quality, they are destined to flop on the same deserted streaming menu. At the time of writing, the “Top New Releases” section on Rakuten includes Wonder Woman 1984, The New Mutants, Anthony McKay / Jamie Dornan double-headers that could be anything, a documentary presenting the theory that we are a Live in a computer. Simulation, and a film titled Jiu Jitsu, where Nicholas Cage kills some aliens with swords.
This is the new film scenario, and is a level playing field. Now that we do not have to work or hire children to watch movies in cinema, all films will be judged on the same criteria. Sometimes this is the criterion: “I’ve heard good things about it.” The second time is: “Screw it, there’s nothing else out there and I’d like to see Nicholas Cage with a sword about paying his bill.”
What I am about to say is this: It is not entirely impossible to assume that anti-life will be a hit. It would make as much money in cinema as Wonder Woman, which is to say nothing, and the population stuck at home may well be so hungry of entertainment that they want to see what Bruce Willis is, if Only out of morbid curiosity.
In the spirit of public service, I should point out that this is a bad idea – because anti-life is cheap and dull, and Willis seems to be phonetically repeating all of his lines into a void. But people can still see it, as they can see eye to eye, for an upcoming John Travolta detective film that sounds like a byproduct of an administrative snafu that had spent the entire production budget on the wig by mistake. Or Willie’s Wonderland, where (and I’d like to clarify that this is an actual film that actually exists), in a haunted theme park near Nicholas Cage with a blood-stained Barrett-clad crocodile effigy bare knuckle fist is.
When all these movies land on VOD services, they will land as a blockbuster with exactly the same effect. The only thing that sets Willie’s wonderland apart, Godzilla vs. Kong is the size of its promotional budget. And, of course, even at the moment it doesn’t matter very much. Both films will be sharing a landing page on a streaming site. This is a binary decision: King Kong punches a large crocodile or a large crocodile in a cage.
With this in mind, it could become a golden era as fading heritage stars flocked it on VOD. Now that the new releases are the only way to watch, these old-time workhorses suddenly find themselves back in the game. It may have been Boss Level, a “death-loop action thriller” that would prove to be back in Mel Gibson’s A-list. Perhaps the original gangster, a film about an orphan in Gangland London, will provide a handheld shot for Steve Gutenberg who has been absent for the past 20 years. Nemesis, perhaps the most common Billy Murray flick, would take Nick Moran’s career back to the 1990s.
Of course, all of this can be a fleeting event, either because theaters have been reopened or all blockbusters are being released for direct streaming. But now, even though it only lasts another six weeks, this broken new landscape means that there is a very good chance that Nicholas Cage can regain his crown as the world’s biggest Goddamn movie star.