I'm annoyed by the monopoly: Ari Aster on MCU films
American filmmaker Ari Aster says he is "annoyed" by the monopoly of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films but believes expressing any opinion on the spectrum will invite a new controversy. Earlier this month, filmmaker Martin Scorsese had likened the MCU movies to "theme parks" experience rather than true cinema, sparking a huge debate in Hollywood with noted names like Francis Ford Coppola and Ken Loach joining him in criticising the superhero dramas.
Aster, known for helming acclaimed horror films, "Hereditary" and the latest "Midsommar", said monopoly of any kind is unhealthy. Asked how he views the MCU movies as a filmmaker who makes remarkably different films, Aster told PTI, "I am annoyed by the monopoly. But it's probably safer for me to not present an opinion given that it's a scandal every time someone does. But I think any monopoly is unhealthy and certainly that applies to this one."
Aster said today people aren't rushing to the theatres anymore to see a USD 50-60 million movie "unless they're based on IP". "So that's a shame. I don't know what will help that because studios and executives are being told by the audiences that the way to make a lot of money is to make a film that's based on an established IP. That's how it is right now."
The director was speaking at the ongoing JIO MAMI 21st Mumbai Film Festival with Star, where the filmmaker gave a masterclass. Aster, along with producer Lars Knudsen announced earlier this year the launch of their new production company, Square Peg.
The filmmaker said the current environment in Hollywood is not as conducive as he would like for the content that deviates from the "typical path". "I love the idea of movies being made that are unique. More than anything, I, as a viewer want them. They are happening everywhere but it's certainly harder to get them made on a big scale in the United States," he said.
"The mid-budget movies have evaporated. They were flourishing in the '90s and they started dying out after that. It seems to be more or less dead," he added. The 33-year-old director said even though he makes low budget films, he lucked out.
"They are bigger at scales than most, but these are still low-budget films, they are both under USD 10 million. But I have not felt like I have been blocked for doing what I want to do. I was lucky to have the budgets I had on 'Hereditary' because that was my first film. "On 'Midsommar' we needed more money but we were able to do what we wanted to for most parts. I am sure because I am making films that are personal and strange. I am always going to want more money than I have to make the film," he added.
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