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What makes a movie great? Elements of award-winning summer blockbusters

June 1, 2016
<p>The crew prepares to do a scene Sept. 19, 2014, while filming the movie "The Cager" at Potter Park Zoo in Lansing. The movie was written by MSU basketball senior guard Keenan Wetzel. Erin Hampton/The State News</p>

The crew prepares to do a scene Sept. 19, 2014, while filming the movie "The Cager" at Potter Park Zoo in Lansing. The movie was written by MSU basketball senior guard Keenan Wetzel. Erin Hampton/The State News

Photo by Erin Hampton | The State News

These are the three characteristics that a summer movie usually has. Trailers should tie the movie together and make prospective movie-goers think constantly about going to see the movie, and the excitement should be radiant once the ticket is purchased.

These are the four characteristics that make a summer movie. The genre has to match the season. Summer is a season of fun and spontaneous activities. Blockbuster movies should reflect that same feeling on the big screen.

Superheroes and comic book movies are perhaps the biggest summer movies that premiere. The action, adventure and comedy combination is the blueprint for what a summer movie must have.

The leading actor or actress plays a role in the movie’s success. Big stars like Robert Downey Jr. and Jennifer Lawrence draw in a crowd just by having their names in the trailer.

Summer movies are a complete contrast from fall and winter movies, where there are dark dramas, horror and thrillers. Summer films showcase light-heartedness and frivolity

The reason why movies like “X-Men,” “Suicide Squad,” “Tarzan” and “Neighbors 2” continue to be big hits in the summer is because they are sequences. They also have action, are centered around comic books or childhood stories, have some kind of comedy that appeals to the audience and are marketed in the summer to produce more revenue.

“Summer hits can be a lot of things, but at a certain level something just entertaining enough to get you in the air conditioned seat and can be a hit. If it can challenge the audience beyond that basic level, all the better. Of course an original idea tends to be hard to come by these days in the land of sequels, prequels and reboots, so a movie actually trying something original is even more welcome” Peter Johnston, a film professor at MSU, said.

What makes a summer movie so successful is the energy. Summer is electrifying and memorable, and a summer movie must fit into that equation. The movie should make the audience happy that they went to see it and should make them want to see it again. A happy memory is what the perfect summer movie should be.

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