Quentin Tarantino believes he was at war with the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Star Wars franchise last year. The director’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood had to fight to be seen amongst the year’s big movies from Disney and other franchises. However, the movie has been able to become a frontrunner during this year’s awards season with 10 Academy Awards nominations.
This topic has been debated more than once over the past few years, but 2019 did show some original ideas making some headroom. When asked about original movies in 2019, Tarantino says, “When you say, despite the sequels and the Avengers: Endgame and all of that, I actually think a war for movies got played out this last year.”
Knives Out, Uncut Gems, Ford v Ferrari, Us, Jojo Rabbit, Parasite, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood are among some of the original movies that fought for screen time in 2019. Some of which are being rewarded during awards season, while some (Uncut Gems and Adam Sandler) are being left out in the cold. Quentin Tarantino elaborated on his war comments and had this to say.
“As far as I can see, the commercial product that is owned by the conglomerates, the projects everybody knows about and has in their DNA, whether it be the Marvel Comics, the Star Wars, Godzilla, and James Bond, those films never had a better year than last year. It would have been the year that their world domination would have been complete. But it kind of wasn’t. Because of what you said, a lot of original movie content came out and demanded to be seen, and demanded to be seen at the theaters. That ended up becoming a really, really strong year. I’m really proud to be nominated with the other films that just got nominated. I think when you sum up the year, it’s cinema that doesn’t fall into that blockbuster IP proof status, made its last stand this year.”
Quentin Tarantino was able to come out on top, even without the help of the Chinese box office in 2019. But, the argument remains about the original ideas getting lost in the shuffle when it comes to box office battles. At this time, it’s nearly impossible to compete with the Marvel Cinematic Universe and just about anything else Disney has its hands on. Tarantino believes that he was lucky this year. The director explains.
“If it hadn’t done it this year, it might have been the last stand for movies like that. This is a really groovy year. To combat something like Avengers: Endgame, which for the month before it came out and the month after, you couldn’t talk about anything else. They tried to do that with this last Star Wars and I don’t think it quite worked, but you couldn’t get on United Airlines without running into all the tie-ins, and even the safety commercial had a Star Wars scene.”
The Rise of Skywalker did not perform up to Star Wars franchise standards, but it was still able to command over $1 billion at the box office, which is should not be ignored. Quentin Tarantino was able to pull off $373.2 million with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which is also pretty big and not to be ignored, especially since Robert Downey Jr. and Adam Driver aren’t in it.
The argument of original ideas vs. the sequel, reboots, remakes, and franchises isn’t going to be going away any time soon. But, it has been nice to see some original movies get some extra recognition at the box office over the past year. Rian Johnson went from The Last Jedi to Knives Out and was able to come back with some box office gold and critical acclaim. We’ll just have to wait and see what the landscape looks like when Quentin Tarantino puts out his 10th, and possibly final, movie. The interview with Tarantino was originally conducted by Deadline.