If you take a look at the list of highest grossing films all time, it becomes obvious that the film industry has recently seen some drastic changes. Currently, of the 100 highest grossing films ever, only nine were made before the year 2000, and more than half have come since 2010. Clearly, more money is being spent at theaters now more than ever before, but is this influx of money actually a good thing for film?

From a mass, global audience perspective, absolutely. Movie fans around the world now have greater access to a wider selection of films than they ever have previously. This reflected by the huge growth in box office growth coming from audiences outside of the United States. While this is an exciting aspect of films now making more money than ever, these increased profits are not truly opening up the world of film to new possibilities and potential. Instead, film is becoming increasingly narrow-focused and self-referential.

In general, major studios are not interested in creating unique or interesting movies. Instead, they are concerned primarily with a project's potential to recoup its cost and make them money. This mindset is understandable in many ways for sure. After all, these studios are spending unimaginable amounts of money on these films, so losing lots of money on a movie can be a massive setback. Unfortunately, however, this is an absolutely terrible approach to take with any creative endeavor because it hampers innovation. For art to be its most interesting and worthwhile, it needs to present something unique and original.

These huge profits have major studios going largely in the opposite direction, though. Instead of working to create their own vision for their films, they are eyeing their neighbors' successes and then trying to replicate it through imitation. While this has potential to work, when a film applies pieces like tone and thematic elements from a film and then has their own take on them, frequently what this leaves us with is a disjointed mashup of ripped off ideas that are a poor imitation of much better movies.

The best example of this comes from the most embarrassing dumpster fire of a movie in recent memory--Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The largest wave in film over the last decade has surely been from the rise in superhero and comic book movies. Obviously, these films owe part of this success to the comic books they draw their stories and characters from. Opinions are mixed, however, if this success has, in turn, gone the other direction and positively impacted comic books. Batman v Superman showcases what can happen when a film is entirely caught up on imitating its competitors, but also presents another very serious issue that arises from chasing huge box office returns--a complete betrayal of source material.

In my search for something positive to take away from this movie's very existence, the best thing I can come up with is that it will hopefully serve as the cautionary tale needed for Hollywood to stop chasing past success long enough to come up with new ideas again. It imitates Marvel's massively intertwined superhero film universe and the darkness of Christopher Nolan's Batman films in the most amateurish and obvious ways and gives nothing substantially worthwhile in return.

Christopher Nolan's trilogy of Batman films absolutely deviates from the comic book at times, but does so in ways that still remain true to the spirit of the source material. This is because, regardless of these deviations, Nolan never crossed any lines that go against the fundamentals at the core of the Batman character. Zack Snyder, however, has not been faithful to the characters of these films. Batman literally has one rule, and Syder disregards this with gusto in the film. For his version of Batman, it seems like Snyder wondered how he could outdo Nolan's darkness, and decided that accomplishing this was more important than staying true to the character.

In theory, I love the idea of movies making more and more money. Watching movies religiously has been ingrained into my existence for as long as I can remember, and some of the most and joyous memories are of seeing a movies in theaters. As I grew older, I became intensely obsessed with the discussion and critique of film, so I love the concept of more people seeing movies and the global discussion of them growing with this audience.

Unfortunately, there are other consequences brought on by these massive box office numbers, and they are not so positive. Instead of studios being concerned about their films having compelling stories and interesting or innovative filmmaking, they are most interested in getting global audiences paying to see their films by capturing whatever is popular or trendy at the moment. On the rare occasions that we see truly innovative films garner huge financial success, we can expect to see a wave of imitators in the years after.

A huge part of my film-obsessed soul wants to mourn this current state of film. In reality, I'm not surprised enough by it anymore to actually let myself feel all that disappointed. Fortunately, this allows me to be pleasantly surprised when films either go against or transcend the limitations of these trends.

I have no delusions of things changing in the film industry. Global markets are only going to continue getting larger and inflating box office numbers across the board. For me, the best way to respond to this is to truly celebrate and support films that do interesting and innovative things, that take risks. Films that aren't created with solely box office returns as the central focus. Films that do these things but still manage to stay truthful to source material and what fans love instead of betraying them in the name of imitation.