Good afternoon! It seems like most of my favorite genres are struggling in the literary and cinematic world with the exception of superheroes. Even Star Wars is receiving some animosity. The post-apocalyptic and dystopian genres were incredibly popular for many years, but a sharp turn occurred in 2018. Suddenly, Barnes and Noble carried fewer dystopian books on their shelves, post-apocalyptic films bombed at the box office, and it generally seemed like people were tired of the genre. Is this the beginning of the end of apocalyptic stories? I'll give my thoughts below.
First of all, I'm not sure what people want to watch or read anymore because a lot of genres appear to be losing popularity. I guess superheroes, horror, and Disney's animated films are in demand, but that's about it. You might completely disagree with me, but I'm having a hard time finding popular genres outside of those narrow exceptions. There hasn't been demand for Medieval fantasies since the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies concluded. Space operas don't have a huge following anymore. Even the Star Trek films were axed recently. The Han Solo movie also flopped hugely in theaters. Rom coms seem to be a thing of the past, even though studios try to release them periodically. It's pretty rare to see authentic Westerns in theaters. I don't see many Noir films on the big screen either. So, the post-apocalyptic genre is in good company. It's just another genre that's fading out.
Luckily, post-apocalyptic video games are still popular and A Quiet Place made a really good profit last year. Apparently Bird Box had a lot of viewership on Netflix as well. I'm pretty sure audiences want to see something different. They're probably tired of the YA dystopian formula with rebellious teenagers who overthrow a corrupt government or monarchy. The formula worked for The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Maze Runner, but releases in 2018 like The Darkest Minds and Mortal Engines failed to obtain substantial revenue. The zombie craze is dying out too. I'm surprised AMC keeps renewing The Walking Dead because the show's ratings go down every season. When are we getting a sequel to World War Z? Never! I heard the project was cancelled. If post-apocalyptic media is going to thrive, it needs to bring something new to readers and viewers. That's why A Quiet Place was successful. It was a unique concept with blind, nearly indestructible aliens that used their keen hearing to hunt. Therefore, humans learned to live in complete silence or risk being slaughtered. It's a very similar concept in Bird Box. Alien creatures took on the form of people's worst nightmares and caused a series of mass suicides. Survivors covered their eyes to manage their new reality. We don't see these types of concepts in post-apocalyptic and dystopian media very often, so it's very refreshing.
Why do post-apocalyptic games maintain their popularity? Honestly, familiarity works quite well in gaming. You have an avatar with a multitude of weapons and he or she kills a bunch of enemies. This formula works for most types of games, including military, steampunk, Medieval fantasy, cyberpunk, survival horror, etc. Therefore, the same formula works for post-apocalyptic games as well. It doesn't need to change.
Overall, I don't think 2019 is going to be a successful year for post-apocalyptic and dystopian works. I might find a couple exceptions, but there's definitely a lack of interest from mainstream audiences. Alita: Battle Angel came out this weekend and it doesn't appear to be a box office smash. It will make more money than Mortal Engines, but I'm still not expecting much. At best, it might make a decent profit outside of the United States.
I'm still a huge fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, but a lot of people are disinterested with the genre. What about you? Are you a fan of post-apocalyptic and dystopian works? Leave a comment. You can support my own post-apocalyptic work by purchasing it on Amazon in either paperback or ebook formats. My books tend to get buried underneath a lot of other post-apocalyptic works, so you're better off finding my series titled The Post-Apocalyptic Society on my Amazon author page. I'll leave a link for you guys. Thanks for visiting and come back next week for another cool post. Bye!
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