Growing Hollywood Trends, and What They Mean For Otaku red tigress

Star Trek is responsible for a lot of things we Otaku can really appreciate. After all, some of the first fan conventions were centered on the television series. Trekkies (though as I understand it, like to be called Trekkers) were some of the first people to be known for making their own costumes and dressing like the characters in public. Star Trek’s even responsible for the rise of pre-internet fanfiction, and it was a Star Trek fic that created the original Mary Sue, a term still known to all fanfiction readers and writers today.

So now, the series is getting a reboot from J.J. Abrams, a man most well known for producing the shows Alias and LOST. Paramount, the studio funding the product and owner of the franchise practically threw money at the man with only one request: Make it for everyone.

Indeed, it seems to be just that. A thrilling, character-driven action-adventure movie that just happens to be set in space, the movie has people talking. And not just geeks. Newsweek recently featured a series of articles centered on the movie. Be honest, when was the last time you read Newsweek? That’s what I thought.

If the movie proves successful, and it’s looking like it might, what does that mean for us, as fans of Japanese animation? Star Trek is certainly not the first successful sci-fi movie, certainly. But as Hollywood branches out more and more into already existing source material, it’s only a matter of time before studios start going after anime full force. In the meantime, what can we do to establish the credibility of our fandom, ensure our voices are heard, and show to people that we don’t just watch “toons” all day?

Before I cover some of the indications we’ve already seen of this happening, let’s examine the patterns of other geek culture swept up by the Hollywood machine.

Comic book movies are probably the biggest, and the most well known. Comic book movies first kicked off in 1978 with Superman, followed later by Tim Burton’ Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies. Batman was, at the time, the largest grossing movie for Warner Brothers ever. A few other movies featuring caped crusaders did arrive in the 90s, but many were catered towards small audiences, or terrible, badly-written sequels not worth mentioning here. Computer graphics however, seemed to catch up finally with the visions directors had of their favorite heroes, and starting in 2002 with Spider-Man, we saw an explosion of superhero movies. Even the lesser-known guys like John Constantine were grossing over a hundred million dollars.

We saw this same pattern at the same time in a different genre. The success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy had Hollywood inhaling fantasy titles. It didn’t last long however, as people decided to spend their money on things other than dragons, children with magical powers, and talking lions.

red tigress
Date Published
05/10/09 (Originally Created: 04/29/09)
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