A Look Back on the Films of the 2010’s

Julius Perez, Reporter

The 2010s are over. Those years are now just another decade in history, marked by their own cultural themes, trends and values. Of course, one of the best ways to get a sense of a decade is by analyzing its most notable films.

Giant media conglomerates, such as Disney, have risen and dominate the current theatre experience. Disney owns 20th Century Fox, Marvel, Pixar, Lucasfilm and, obviously, Walt Disney Studios. Its strategic ownership of these companies means that any films they produce Disney gains profits directly. In 2019, Disney’s revenue was $69.57 billion, a $10 billion jump from a revenue of $59.43 billion in 2018. In all, the company’s annual revenue has doubled since 2009.

According to Rotten Tomatoes, out of the top 20 highest grossing movies of all time, Disney owns 13. The top four are “Avengers Endgame”, “Avatar”, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Avengers Infinity War”, all Disney owned films.

This decade also brought about an entirely new way to experience movies. Cinematic universes were pioneered by Disney with the creation of the MCU by Marvel in 2009. This method of media production was a massive hit, earning $22.5 billion in the global market and creating a new avenue of filmmaking that production companies found was much more profitable than conventional methods of film making which relied on stand alone movies. Industrialized media production has become so engaged with the model of pre planned films that Disney has announced movie release dates five years before they debut.

After the 2010s, independent films were at a disadvantage at the box office because they do not have the engaged followings that pre-established cinematic universes like Star Wars, Marvel, and DC have.

However, this hasn’t discouraged independent filmmakers from producing their own movies. According to Stephen Follows Film Data and Education, the number of non-studio film releases jumped from 450 in 2010 to well over 750 since 2016 most likely due to the increased access to better quality and cheaper film equipment to more people.

Young filmmakers are bringing a revitalized energy to the filmmaking industry. 34 year old Damien Chazelle directed “La La Land” which won six Oscars and holds a record for the most Golden Globes won by a single film. He is also credited with directing “Whiplash” and “First Man,” films that also received Oscar acknowledgements. Another rising star is Ari Aster, a horror movie director whose debut film “Hereditary” became A24’s highest grossing film ever.

Films such as “Moonlight”, directed by Barry Jenkins, and “Get Out”, directed by Jordan Peele, commented on the social hardships of LGBT and black communities faced from perspectives that had not previously been explored. “Moonlight” went on to win Best Picture of the Year at the 86th Oscars and a Golden Globe award for Best Picture Drama. “Get Out” won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

In 2012, a movie studio called A24 was established, and it has been a way for independent and artistic filmmakers to get their movies produced. The studio releases about 18 to 20 movies a year and is known for granting its filmmakers almost total creative freedom. Since its foundation, the studio has received 25 Academy nominations and won six Oscars, including Best Picture for “Moonlight” in 2017. Conglomerate media companies might have moved closer to production-line style media, but the increasing success of smaller studios has shown that the credits have yet to roll on independent films and the minds of creative filmmakers. With the availability and quality of filmmaking resources becoming more accessible we are likely to see more independent films emerge and more filmmakers contribute their unique voice to the movies that will define the 2020’s.