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It’s Time to Abolish the Cinematic Universe

It's time to abolish the cinematic universe
via Rotten Tomatoes

Enough is enough already. The Cinematic Universe trend – popularized, though not invented by, the MCU – needs to end. I’m tired. You’re tired. We’re all tired. It was all fun and games at first when Marvel was the only cinematic universe anybody cared about and they released 2, maybe 3 movies a year. But now, as with anything that’s enjoyable or profitable in any way whatsoever, it’s been done to death. Damn near every week some Hollywood studio announces plans to start or build or expand their most beloved franchise into a cinematic universe full of weekly homework assignments, err…excuse me…”interconnected movies and TV series” in increasingly transparent, desperate ploys to sell yet another streaming service that nobody wants and that cannot possibly turn a profit. It has gotten out of hand and it’s time we, the people, put an end to this foolishness once and for all. I propose that we ban the creation of new Cinematic Universes beginning now and that we heavily regulate existing Cinematic Universes to the point that they are once again safe for the public to consume!

Who would do this? Congress? The Supreme Court? The United Nations? Laura Dern using her power as a Board Member at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures? I don’t know! But somebody must stop this (multiverse of) madness.

The Problems with the Cinematic Universe

The DCEU proved that not every Cinematic Universe is created equal

Diminishing Returns

Why does John Wick, originally a low-budget, low stakes movie about a guy whose dog got killed, have a cinematic universe with 5 mainline movies, a spin off movie, and a tv show now? Because the rich assholes who run Hollywood studios and their Silicon Valley tech bro counterparts who run streaming services think you’re an idiot with no self control that will watch increasingly bad versions of things you used to like. “Oh wow. Millions of people love and enjoy Yellowstone? Well, these dumbasses will definitely pay us a monthly fee to watch 87 different versions of Yellowstone! F**k it, put Matthew McConaughey in one of em, they like him, right? IDIOTS!” Kevin Costner is leaving Yellowstone because this connected universe shit has gotten so far out of hand that the original show sucks now.

And that’s the main issue with the constantly expanding cinematic universe. Everything we used to like gets worse and worse as new shows and series are created to focus on random offshoots and bullshit.

Viewer Fatigue

Look, I’m an easily manipulated sucker, so I will never have so-called “Marvel Fatigue”. Disney just has to press the big red “Marvel” button and shit out some new MCU content and then I am going to fork over as much of my time and money as they require. Do I care about Hawkeye? Not really. But if you tell me there’s a Hawkeye show and Florence Pugh is gonna be in it after being in Black Widow and before being in Thunderbolts, I’m gonna be watching that shit every week! Did I know what or who Ms. Marvel was before her show came out? No! But dammit I watched every single episode to get ready for The Marvels!

Look at all this insanity coming soon to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yes, I’m going to be watching all of it. I recognize that I’m part of the problem.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 5 and 6 release timeline
There are TEN MCU movies and tv shows coming out in just 2023! What are we doing here? (I will be watching)

But you’re out of your damn mind if you think I’m signing up to watch 5 seasons of Yellowstone and THEN watch 5 different spin off series. Apparently Andor is one of the best Star Wars properties ever created, and I haven’t watched it yet because there’s so many Star Wars properties that I am physically exhausted. Please for the love of God let me enjoy your little space wizard operas without needing to to take a week of PTO to catch up with them all!

In my list of reasons I’m Not Going to Watch That TV Show You Like, the top 3 are all big problems that a cinematic universe has to overcome. And most of them simply don’t.

Stolen Valor

At this point, every cinematic universe feels like a cheap attempt to cash in on the trend that the MCU started. DC has basically destroyed its company two different times trying to ride the wave. Zack Snyder is not good at directing movies so the DCEU failed, but then they decided to try and bring him back, but now I’m supposed to just act like all of it, including Henry Cavill and The Rock linking up in Black Adam (which stinks) a couple months ago just didn’t happen? And I’m supposed to ignore that Ezra Miller has been out in the streets committing a string of war crimes? All because you stole a guy from the MCU and he’s going to make a tv show about Amanda F***ING Waller??? That’s what we’re doing? That’s what type of time we’re on??? Spare me! Abolish it!!!

My Proposed Ban on the Cinematic Universe

Ana de Armas and Keanu Reeves will be together in the John Wick universe. Why?
Ana de Armas is top 5 dead or alive but come on dawg we do not need her in a John Wick cinematic universe. What are we doing?

NO MORE!!! STOP IT!!!

Under my ban, from the moment Steven Spielberg signs it into law, no new cinematic universe shall be created under any circumstances whatsoever. Let my people go! We are so very tired!

Definitions

Cinematic Universe – A film or television property consisting of 3 or more interconnected movies, television shows, spin-offs, or specials that are not a part of 1 continuous story arc.

Franchise – A film or television property consisting of 2 or more interconnected movies or television shows that are focused on 1 character or consistent group of characters and are a part of 1 continuous story arc. Unaffected by this ban.

Grandfathered In

Look, the American public has come too far to abandon every cinematic universe cold turkey right now. So there are a handful that have earned the right to be grandfathered in. They are as follows:

  • The MCU – No explanation required.
  • Star Trek – We have to let them get to at least 60 years, they’re so close. And you nerds seem so happy.
  • Star Wars – You can pry Baby Yoda from my cold, dead hands.
  • Toy Story – You’ve got a friend in me!
  • Air Bud – No one actually watches these but I find it amusing that increasingly ridiculous Air Bud and Air Buddies movies continued to be made until 2013. After 10 years off, if they want to come back then we should let them!
  • Tom Cruise – Tom Cruise is a cinematic universe unto himself and he should be allowed to make anything that he wants to make. The man saved cinema with Top Gun: Maverick so if he eventually decides that he wants to create a cinematic universe where he’s jumping off buildings and flying spaceships in a bunch of connected movies and tv shows then damn it he’s allowed to do that! He is exempted from this ban.

Under my proposed ban, the above grandfathered in cinematic universes have the right to release up to 4 properties (2 movies, and 2 tv shows) in 1 calendar year. Unused release slots will not roll over. Any cinematic universe that releases 2 Rotten projects in 1 calendar year will be docked 1 release slot in the following year.

What Happens to an Existing Cinematic Universe?

Y’all gotta wrap this shit up by the end of 2025, man. I am not bringing the DCU with me into the second half of this decade. I simply will not do it. 3 properties a year between now and 2025 and then you are DONE. But please make as many movies in Matt Reeves’s The Batman franchise as you possibly can.


Please call your local congressperson or Meryl Streep or something and let them know that you support this legislation so we can be the change we want to see in the world. Also follow @WatchWithApollo on Twitter and Instagram and @ApolloHOU on Tik Tok for more pop culture coverage.

Thanks for reading all that. Watch movies and #SupportFlorencePugh.

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