Sleeping Beauty was received with indifference by critics and languished during a dismal time for the American box office, becoming unable to recoup the (at the time) huge costs of its decade-long production. The film's failure led the Disney studio to dramatically downsize its animation division and abandon more ambitious films for three decades. Similarly, 1000 Arabian Nights did badly enough to convince UPA to exit the theatrical business.
The Fractured Fairy Tale replaced the Animated Musical as the go-to story genre during the 2000s thanks to the success of DreamWorks Animation's Shrek in 2001, resulting (as the Disney musical had in the 1990s) in numerous copycats. Unfortunately, the genre's reliance on crude humor, big-name celebrity voice talent, and dated pop culture jokes turned it stale within a few years. And by the time 2007's critically-panned Shrek the Third came out, the market had become overcrowded with them. Happily N'Ever After concluding that year with a thud and the next major DWA project, Kung Fu Panda, changing that studio's animation strategy, signaled the beginning of the end for the genre. The (perceived) financial disappointment of Shrek Forever After in 2010, a year that otherwise saw a rather successful resurgence of more traditional animated films (Toy Story 3, Tangled and DWA's own How to Train Your Dragon) and the arrival of Illumination Entertainment's Despicable Me, ended up turning other animation studios off of using the formula, and the box office failure of Hoodwinked! Too! Hood vs. Evil in 2011 seems to have killed the genre off for good.
The Plague Dogs is known for being one of the most depressing animated films ever made. The Western audience wasn't ready at all, so the concept of dark, almost entirely un-comedic animated feature films was shelved in the aftermath. It wasn't until the late 2000s until the concept found a revival with works such as Persepolis and Waltz with Bashir. Even these, however, were not widely released in the United States.
Disney's theatrical short subject development came to a screeching halt following the massive failure of Olaf's Frozen Adventure, which Disney controversially attached to initial screenings of Coco, being mostly reviled by its half-hour length, to the point exhibitors pulled the featurette after continued protests at showings (Disney then retired it, with the face-saving excuse that it was planned to run only until the special aired on TV). It got so bad that even Pixar, which had played shorts before all of its movies since A Bug's Life, stopped doing it after Bao (shown before Incredibles 2).
In general, traditional animated films were dead after a one-two punch in that number of years with the 2003 release of Finding Nemo and the 2004 release of Shrek 2 the former of which became the best-selling DVD of all time and the latter of which was critically acclaimed at release. After the release of those films, future animated films that were not CGI were based on TV shows such as The Sponge Bob Square Pants Movie and Teacher's Pet. Disney would try again two more times to make animated films in a 2D style with 2009's The Princess and the Frog and 2011's Winnie-the-Pooh, but their mediocre box office performances (especially when compared to the later Disney CGI-animated movies such as Tangled and Frozen (2013)) pretty much put the last nail in the coffin for traditionally animated films.
Coraline ended up being a quite successful movie but at the same time it worked too well to the point where it effectively killed children's horror movies for the foreseeable future. While still overall kid-friendly, the movie became quite infamous for pushing the limits of its PG rating too far to the point that there haven't been that many children's horror flicks since. It's creators' direct follow up ParaNorman while still retaining horror elements, considerably downplayed the scare factor in an attempt to alleviate this, but the damage was already done. The inferior reception to ParaNorman, along with the lackluster reception to Frankenweenie that same year sealed the fate of the kid horror genre. Horror movies today are more aimed at mature audiences rather than PG audiences and children, and time will tell if there will ever be a serious attempt at kid-friendly horror again. Even the Goosebumps movies, based on the books that more or less invented and popularized the kid-horror genre, had their horror elements greatly downplayed. The 2019 Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark movie, also based on a series of Children's books, deliberately went Darker and Edgier to stay out of this territory.
In 1928, there was a double-header of Genre Killers so extreme that it took out the entire Canadian film industry. The federally-funded National Film Board of Canada was founded in 1939 in an attempt to revive it, but only in the '70s with cultural sponsorship projects from Pierre Trudeau's government did independent Canadian cinema begin to reemerge.
The first Genre-Killer was the 1928 Canadian film Carry on, Sergeant!note No relation to the 1958 British film of the same name, a World War I silent epic about Canadian soldiers in the trenches of France. Thanks to its Troubled Production, soaring budget (about half a million dollars, as large as comparable Hollywood films like The Jazz Singer), controversial subject matter (an affair between a soldier and a French prostitute), the fact it was a silent film when talkies were ascendant, and attendant box-office failure, it destroyed Canada's largest independent film studio and made Canadian financiers extremely leery of financing similar big-budget efforts, playing a huge role in reducing Canada's native film industry to an outpost of Hollywood.
The other one was the Cinematograph Films Act of 1927 (which came into force the following year), a law in the United Kingdom that placed a quota on foreign films in order to protect British film studios. Canada dodged the quota by technically being a part of The British Empire, but rather than nurturing and protecting the local film industry, it instead caused Hollywood studios to set up Canadian subsidiaries that vacuumed up the small pool of local talent for the production of "quota quickies", cheap and often wretched films made for the British market to get around the quota. The scourge of the quota quickies also affected the UK itself, but owing to a larger market and greater distance from the US, their film industry recovered in far less time. While more recent scholarship has reevaluated the quota quickies as the birth of the British B-Movie, a way for aspiring filmmakers to get their foot in the door with low-budget flicks, the Cinematograph Films Act of 1927 is still seen as a textbook case of short-sighted legislation having precisely the opposite effect than what was intended.
Pearl Harbor killed the space travel serial; it's believed to be the reason why the Sequel Hook towards the end of Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe was never followed up on. The fact that the attack took place a mere three years after the infamous War of the Worlds radio broadcast doesn't appear to have helped matters, either.
The 3-D Movie genre has been killed three times in the past several decades:
The first culprit was The Moonlighters, a forgettable Warner Western starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray, in 1953. It didn't help that it had to compete against The Robe, a flat classic in CinemaScope, during its run. The film did the least damage to the genre, though, as it only took Kiss Me Kate later that same year to put 3-D back on the map and keep the Golden Age 3-D Craze going.
The second culprit was Phantom of the Rue Morgue the following year, which was just as mediocre as, if not more so than, Moonlighters was. Its accomplice was The Mad Magician, a cheap House of Wax clone involving stage magic instead of a wax museum, which did well at the box office but earned a sorry reputation. This time, though, the "Golden Age 3-D Craze" went out not with a whimper, but with a bang: the last classic '50s 3-D film, Revenge of the Creature, capped off this craze with a successful 3-D run, which still wasn't enough to save the craze.
A second craze, the "Spectacular 3-D Craze", was ended nearly thirty years later by Spacehunter: Adventure in the Forbidden Zone, a 1983 flop with a budget similar to the highly successful Star Wars, with accomplices including The Man Who Wasn't There, Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn, and Amityville 3-D.
Since 2009, there have been numerous false alarms about the "Digital 3-D Craze" dying, brought about by the likes of Battle for Terra, Clash of the Titans, The Last Airbender, The Nutcracker in 3D, and Conan the Barbarian (2011). Despite all the rumours of the dying craze, though, it was kept afloat by 3D theatrical re-releases of several classic movies, including a couple of Disney animated features and a few Pixar movies. That said, studios have more of a vested interest in keeping 3-D around this time — 3-D movies are much harder to pirate, a feature that the industry appreciates very much. Additionally, digital technology has greatly reduced the costs of producing 3-D movies.
And now, for only the second time, it's been over thirty years since the last 3-D craze had been shot down, and 3D movies are once again in grave danger of going the way of the dinosaur, this time no thanks to a court ruling stating that 3-D film as a whole could not be patented, as Disney had intended to by suing Real-D. Yep, you probably know where this is headed. As a result, Disney lost interest in 3-D outside of Marvel-related and animated productions, resulting in a nosedive of the number of stereoscopic releases beginning in 2014. In addition, 3D-TV (which was once considered to become commonplace by 2015) became too impractical and not worth the cost, Disney's abandonment of 3D home video making matters worse, and TV manufacturers eventually shifted towards larger formats and 4K.
The final blow for 3-D film outside superhero and cartoon films may have come with the success of Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk, an entirely 2-D 70mm war movie that proved to be much more successful than any of IMAX's 3-D presentations in Q2 2017, prompting IMAX's aforementioned move away from 3-D. 2-D IMAX presentations of the 3-D animated films The LEGO Batman Movie and Cars 3 were just the beginning; when IMAX announced its decision to do more 2-D than 3-D screenings in late July of 2017, it was specifically mentioned that Blade Runner 2049 wouldn't be playing in 3-D in North American IMAX theatres, either. So, at least in North America, 3-D can be considered down for the count as of 2020. The coronavirus may have dealt 3D another death blow, as Onward, another Pixar film, saw a limited 3D release that specifically excluded IMAX theatres worldwide.
On the other side of the coin, The Wizard of Oz and Gravity were so successful in their post-converted versions, they managed to kill native 3D live-action films. Before they were released, most 3D films were filmed with 3D cameras. Afterwards, very few use 3D cameras, with the latest being Gemini Man.
Black Narcissus killed the genre of films where white protagonists find the meaning of life in Asia - by deconstructing the imperialist and colonialist attitudes and having the white characters driven out of the environment by being unable to adjust to their new surroundings. Other films featuring white characters in Asia or Africa would be straight-up adventures or incorporate the Culture Clash into the story.
Imitation of Life (1959) killed off the 'tragic mulatto' films featuring mixed-race characters who would end up suffering because they couldn't fit into either the white world or black world. Imitation of Life basically deconstructed the genre by focusing on the mother of such a character, highlighting how awful she was treated by her daughter trying to pass for white and having the daughter's attempts to pass making her life even worse - only accepting her heritage after her mother's tragic death. Changing social values meant that the previous narratives (such as I Passed For White, which was released the following year and flopped) became unpalatable.
Many film historians consider Psycho to be the movie that killed Film Noir, as the purpose of the first hour or so is to continuously set up and subvert the tropes of that genre.
The World of Suzie Wong arguably killed the Mighty Whitey and Mellow Yellow plot being played for Melodrama - illustrating how impossible it would be for two people of different races to be together - by turning it into a romantic comedy, acknowledging the underlying racism and sexism in such a pairing (and having the male lead overcome it in favor of love), presenting a white rival as the Romantic False Lead who never had a chance, and having the Asian woman played by an actual Asian actress (Nancy Kwan in this case) as opposed to a white actress in Yellowface. It shares this in common with Sayonara, which also cast Asian actresses as the Asian love interests (although had a Japanese man played by a Mexican) - and both films ended with the couples happily getting together, showing that people of different races being portrayed as Star-Crossed Lovers wouldn't cut it anymore.
Shakespeare film adaptations have always zigzagged between being surprise hits or commercial failures. But the Laurence Olivier film Hamlet (1948) and Orson Welles's Macbeth were financial successes - and Franco Zeffirelli made the genre bankable with his versions of The Taming of the Shrew and Romeo and Juliet (1968). However, the commercial failure of Roman Polanski's Macbeth in 1971 put an end to the perceived commercial viability of Shakespeare films.
The Greatest Story Ever Told, a 1965 All-Star Cast production of Jesus' life that received mixed reviews and bombed at the box office, was the beginning of the end for the mainstream success of the religious epic. Changes in film censorship (in the era of the Hays Code, religious epics were notorious for taking advantage of their unimpeachable message to push the envelope in terms of sex and violence) and the general politicization of artistic work with religious themes have further removed religious epics from the standard menu of film genres. When modern examples do appear, however, they're often big hits due to being perceived as novel.
The triple-threat of Doctor Dolittle, Camelot, and Hello, Dolly! between 1967 and 1969 knocked out the "big Hollywood musical", and dealt a deathblow to the common "roadshow" practice as well. Lost Horizon was the final nail in the coffin, flopping so badly it was often sarcastically named "Lost Investment." Musicals as a genre still survive, but prior to this, they were seen as chart-topping audience-appeal blockbusters and routinely received massive budgets and promotion. The next really successful musical was Cabaret, which was a very different animal (more than a few people have called it "the musical for people who hate them") and a lot of its successors have followed suit.
The epic romance largely disappeared after Ryan's Daughter and Nicholas and Alexandra flopped in the early '70s. While occasional epics cropped up through the '80s and '90s (eg. Out of Africa, Titanic) they're now typically one-off events rather than the box office staple they once were.
Titanic's success itself created a very specific epic romance subgenre of "absurdly big-budget love story used to chronicle a historical disaster", which was followed by the first imitator in Pearl Harbor sending it six feet under. A belated imitator that arrived some years later, Pompeii, only confirmed that it wasn't coming back.
Titanic was also an example of killing off a specific subject matter by making what came to be considered the "definitive" film on the subject. While many films regarding the Titanic had been made previously, James Cameron's film becoming the highest-grossing film of all time - a position it held for a solid decade before being usurped by another Cameron film - meant that, save for some Italiananimated knockoffs in its immediate aftermath, nobody has touched the subject again except for the specific purposes of parodying the 1997 film.
Before The Wiz, black-casted movies had been dealt a mortal blow by the demise of Blaxploitation. Ironically, it wasn't the failure of a film in that subgenre that killed it as it was the success of a film with an all-white cast from a different genre: The Exorcist. When Hollywood saw that black audiences were going out of their way to see it, to theaters in white neighborhoodsnote much to the consternation of some residents of, and businesses in, those neighborhoods and in the process passing up blaxploitation movies on screens closer to home, they both made sure The Exorcist was booked into theaters in black neighborhoods and concluded there was no longer any financial reason to make blaxploitation films; further entries in the genre after 1974 were largely made independently.
The "porno chic" movement of the 1970s came to a screeching halt with the critical failure and overwhelming controversy of 1979's Caligula. Known more for its incredibly heated production, characterized by constant infighting between writer Gore Vidal, director Tinto Brass, and producer Bob Guccione of Penthouse magazine, the film was chastised as being directionless and exploitative due to the immense Creative Differences between Gore (who wanted to make a film that strongly focused on homosexuality in a time when mainstream LGBT acceptance was still painfully low), Brass (who wanted to make a political satire), and Guccione (who ordered rewrites to remove Gore's homosexual elements and wanted to make a Porn with Plot film that paid homage to the campiness of 1950s historical epics). Roger Ebert infamously walked out when he saw the film— one of the only times in his career that he did so— and slammed it as "sickening, utterly worthless, shameful trash." While the film was a commercial success and has started to become Vindicated by History with the help of recuts that reorient the film closer to Brass' vision, the combination of the sheer vitriol directed towards it and the emerging conservative revolution in the Anglosphere put the kibosh on the mainstream fashionability of pornographic films.
The 1970s saw many British TV sitcoms adapted into feature films, including Porridge, Are You Being Served?, a pair of Steptoe and Son films, and a trilogy of On the Buses films. But by the end of the decade, the genre was exhausting itself, and the death knell is generally regarded as having been sounded by the critical and commercial failure of the 1980 film spinoff of George & Mildred, which critic Julian Upton, writing in 2002, described as "one of the worst films ever made in Britain ... so strikingly bad, it seems to have been assembled with a genuine contempt for its audience." The film threw aside everything that had made the television series popular in favour of a bizarre plot about the title couple celebrating their anniversary at a posh hotel and George somehow being mistaken for a hitman.note As if to add insult to injury, actress Yootha Joyce, who played Mildred, died of liver failure just before the film's release, making it her last screen appearance. It wasn't until 1997's Bean that the idea of adapting a British comedy series for the big screen would be re-visited.
Though The Western was already struggling before due to a variety of circumstances for about a decade, the point cited by most film geeks and historians as the ultimate bullet in the genre's head was Heaven's Gate in 1980. That film was such a Box Office Bomb that it killed its studio and its director's career, and Hollywood became very reluctant to release big-budget Western films for several years afterward. Even successful reconstruction films like Silverado couldn't jump-start the genre back to its original prominence. While westerns are still fairly common, they have never returned from their virtual omnipresence of yesteryear. It's also telling that most modern examples subvert some aspect of the genre, as the straight western is still basically dead.
The subgenre of "White Hat/Black Hat" or "Moral" westerns - which dominated the first couple of decades of televisionnote Think of any cowboy TV show from the 1950s or any John Wayne western before 1970 - was already being slowly pushed out of favor of the Spaghetti Western and edgy deconstructionist fare like The Wild Bunch. But it hit an absolute brick wall in the form of 1974's Blazing Saddles, which took apart the tropes of the genre so thoroughly that no one could take it seriously anymore. With the possible exception of Gunsmoke, and even that venerable series only lasted one more season.
It's said that Airplane! killed the Disaster Movie craze of The '70s by making audiences unable to take them seriously anymore. While the genre was revived by The '90s with movies like Armageddon, Deep Impact, Dante's Peak and Volcano, which benefited from the development of modern CGI, the airliner-in-peril/stewardess-lands-the-plane trope won't be taken seriously again. Eventually, 9/11, the Indian Ocean tsunami, and Hurricane Katrina killed the genre a second time, with very few pure disaster movies being made since then. The 2010s-era revival of the genre downplayed the "disaster" angle while focusing on the "survival" part, while reconstructed examples were thrashed by critics and audiences.
Xanadu and Can't Stop the Music effectively killed the musical, which was already crippled during the 1970s and by then was only kept afloat by the now-extinct disco craze. The genre didn't stay dead forever, however; Moulin Rouge! in 2001 and Chicago in 2002 sparked renewed interest in musicals. Various other films since then have had mixed success, but in general, musicals are not considered particularly standard. Trailers for some musicals will even disguise the fact that the film is a musical. However, the genre seems to be making a comeback with the combined critical and commercial successes of Into the Woods (2014), La La Land (2016), and Beauty and the Beast (2017).
Quest for Fire in 1981 effectively killed the serious caveman movie by setting the bar so high that nobody could hope to compete. Also not helped by the not-serious-at-all Caveman also being a success that year.
Female-led superhero movies suffered two major blows.
First came the 1984 film Supergirl, testing the waters for the concept in the wake of the fantastic success of the Superman films. It suffered terrible Executive Meddling and was so horribly received that it took two decades for any studio to try again. (The below-mentioned temporary death of the entire superhero genre during that time didn't help.)
The result was the one-two punch of Catwoman and Elektra, which were both instantly ridiculed as among the worst comic book movies ever made and sent the studios right back to the safe embrace of male heroes. Even the much-ballyhooed success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe took ages to attempt another, with its most prominent female hero Black Widow notoriously relegated to an occasional supporting role despite massive demand for her to get her own film and no less than infamously meddlesome Ike Perlmutter notoriously using those two films as his ostensible reason for not wanting to make a female-centric superhero film, which came back to bite him in the ass when the projectshe preferred crashed and burned. Eventually they came back on TV first, with the highly acclaimed MCU series Jessica Jones and (ironically enough) the Arrowverse series Supergirl finally showing tangible support for more female heroes. By this time the MCU had already set up their first foray in film with Captain Marvel, but were beaten to the punch by the newcomer DC Extended Universe and Wonder Woman (2017), which became able to finally reverse the trend, immediately becoming one of the best-reviewed comic book films ever made and a smash box office success.
While successful, the negative critical reception that Police Academy received severely hurt the slew of "crass" comedies that began in the late 1970s with The Kentucky Fried Movie and Animal House. Police Academy itself went towards a more family-friendly direction after the first movie, and comedies oriented at a mature audience in general wouldn't recover until the 1990s, although the use of gross humor only became popular again with the Jackass trilogy (and probably just because of the show's popularity).
The genre was revived in 1996 by Scream. Ironically, Scream was an attempt by Wes Craven (creator of A Nightmare on Elm Street) to do this deliberately, burying the slasher genre once and for all by making a movie that picked apart and lampshaded the tropes of the genre, which he felt would make it impossible to take seriously anymore. It backfired, though — Scream was a Sleeper Hit that spawned three sequels and a host of copycat films. Given the fact that the genre was relaunched by a deconstruction, however, it should come as no surprise that the genre quickly plunged back into self-parody. A number of lampoon movies, such as the Scary Movie series and Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the 13th, were released, and even some of the older franchises joined in (Jason X, for instance, took the Friday the 13th franchise into space and heavily riffed on the series' formula). The finishing blows came in 2002 with the release of The Ring and 28 Days Later, a pair of horror films with adult protagonists that eschewed the slasher formula, both of which were highly successful. While ultraviolent horror films would soon come back into style thanks to the Torture Porn boom, traditional slashers made since are mostly either remakes or Genre Throwbacks, the latter usually either going Direct-to-Video or running the indie/arthouse circuit.
Film journalist Stephen Metcalf argues that the wretched production excesses of Days of Thunder in 1990, and their attendant impact on the film's profits, killed the kind of blatantly commercial "triumph" movies that producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer had made so much money for Paramount with during the 1980s, films that were sort of a backlash against the auteur-era movies that had prevailed before Heaven's Gate. Afterwards, studios would let directors assert themselves creatively again (enabling a wave of "auteur revisionism" led by Quentin Tarantino, Steven Soderbergh, and Robert Rodriguez), and it's no coincidence that Days director Tony Scott's critical reputation improved over the course of the '90s.
Jaws 3D and Jaws: The Revenge not only killed any attempt to continue the franchise centered around the Jaws, which fans generally disregarded as blatant cash grabs of Steven Spielberg's masterpiece, but ensured any further movies centered around killer sharks would not be taken seriously anymore beyond over-the-top horror. Jaws itself is also partly to blame for killing the genre because many shark-centered films following it couldn't shake off accusations of taking cues from the film, as following the release of Jaws public awareness of the rarity of shark attacks began to grow, to the point where the idea of a "killer shark" became redundant. The only serious, shark-centered film to have received a worldwide theatrical release since Jaws: The Revenge was Deep Blue Sea, which despite being a box office success ended up suffering the same problems many post-Jaws films got pinned with, and another serious killer shark movie wouldn't come to worldwide theaters until 17 years later, with The Shallows. While that movie was surprisingly well-received and moderately successful at the box office, it wasn't enough to generate interest, so it seems that the "killer shark drama" genre is staying dead. Even 2018's The Meg emphasizes the B-movie tropes of the genre rather than attempt to portray itself as serious.
Jurassic Park in 1993 is another example of one film's smash success making it impossible for subsequent films to live up to it. Sequels tothe originalfilm notwithstanding, no-one has bothered to make a serious dinosaur movie since; and all films and video games that have happened to feature dinosaurs have, without exception, contained conscious nods to the franchise. Even the 1998 American Godzilla film riffed on it in trailers, and featured suspiciously velociraptor-like chase scenes with baby Godzillas.
While the ultra-violent films of the 1980s were already in decline by 1993, Last Action Hero pretty much accelerated their death (also weakeningArnold Schwarzenegger's headliner status) mostly because of its unbelievable storyline (which had been a chief criticism of early-'90s action films, even if the film carried some sense of self-awareness), but partly because of finding itself competing head-to-head with Jurassic Park, which didn't have a name of the Ahnold's caliber.
Showgirls killed any chance of an NC-17-rated movie being seen as anything more than porn to the mainstream movie-going crowd. The rating is now limited to art-house fare such as The Dreamers, Lust, Caution, Killer Joe, Shame, and Nymphomaniac. Nowadays, serious movies that would likely be rated NC-17 just forgo being rated altogether.
In addition to launching the CG animated movie craze, the original Toy Story in 1995 was also largely responsible for ending the "kid empowerment" movie trend of the early-mid '90s. After Home Alone, there was a glut of kids movies which either ripped off that movie (Mr. Nanny, Camp Nowhere, 3 Ninjas, etc.) or placed kids in absurdly powerful positions and situations (Cop and a Half, Richie Rich, Blank Check, Little Big League, Rookie of the Year, etc.). When Toy Story, which featured a perfectly normal kid doing perfectly normal things, became a much bigger success (both critically and commercially) than any of those movies, the "kid empowerment" style was gradually phased out.
Toy Story also marked the beginning of the end for the live-action family film as a prominent genre, now overshadowed by the greater potential CG offered. The failure of many adaptations of classic TV and film properties (such as Car 54, Flipper and Mr. Magoo) made no favors. Later family films became more cynical, racier, or in the case of Adam Sandler's Happy Madison Productions, both (alongside from occasionally blending in with other genres). While there were attempts to revive the genre during the mid-2000s like Cheaper by the Dozen, RV and The Pink Panther, these were mostly unsuccessfulnote The Pink Panther 2 carried more adult humor because of the first film's underwhelming numbers, and a slew of financial failures in 2010-11 (with Furry Vengeance, Gulliver's Travels and Mr. Popper's Penguins being the most notorious examplesnote Gulliver and Penguins did break even thanks to international grosses, much like CGI hybrids Yogi Bear and the third Alvin & the Chipmunks film, while The Muppets and Hugo struggled at the box office as well), traditional live-action family comedies were eventually banished to low-budget direct-to-video affairs in the 2010s, with the occasional exception and the odd box-office success (the final Night at the Museum film, released in 2014, being the most recent example). On the other hand, family dramas have seen a renaissance with Disney filming live-action remakes of its animated films like Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, the rise of semi-religious films like Miracles from Heaven and adaptations of best-sellers like A Dog's Purpose becoming successful.
Pirates of the Caribbean is itself an example of the tough-act-to-follow franchise. Those movies have both cost and generated so much money that a rival studio would have to make a major commitment just to play in the same league, and risk a financial catastrophe if audiences say, "Johnny Depp isn't in it? Pass." About the only other pirate-themed franchise that's still doing well is One Piece, albeitfor different reasons. Also, both Pirates of the Caribbean and One Piece have very heavy fantasy elements that make them rather different from the pure swashbuckler. Add to that the major underperformance of Dead Men Tell No Tales at the domestic box office (though mitigated by strong overseas box office), which is no good sign either for the franchise or the movie genre POTC maintained alive on its own.
Mary Reilly in 1996 killed the "prestige horror" boom of the '90s that The Silence of the Lambs and Bram Stoker's Dracula kicked off, which saw many studio horror films (many of them new adaptations of the classic Universal monsters) done as Oscar Bait. Furthermore, as noted by Patrick Willems, it marked the final blow for the lavishly-budgeted, auteur-driven, adult-oriented genre film at the major studio level, with big-budget genre films in later years being taken instead by "mini-majors" (most notably Miramax and later on The Weinstein Company) and eventually streaming services. Meanwhile, big studios would only allocate large budgets to summer blockbusters (generally with PG-13 ratings) aimed at either teenagers/young adults or an all-ages family audience.
The genre of films with humans being paired with fellow great apes besides gorillas achieved some popularity with Project X in 1987, but was in serious trouble by the time Dunston Checks In was released to critical and commercial thrashing. But the film that really, truly killed the genre was Ed in 1996, which didn't even feature a real chimpanzee (it was just a human in a mechanical chimpanzee head) and was plagued with clichés and unfunny jokes that made it one of the worst-reviewed comedy films of the 90s. Since then, no studio has bothered making a film pairing a human with a great ape that isn't a gorilla, and even that genre has had only mixed success since then, ranging from hits like the 2005 King Kong remake and Rampage, to flops like Buddy and the 1998 remake of Mighty Joe Young.
Batman & Robin and Steel, both from 1997, are credited for being the reason why Super Hero films were a dead genre for some five years. They might have even killed a planned Sailor Moon adaptation at Disney (though its underperformance on the small screen, not helped by clumsy syndication scheduling placements, certainly didn't help matters, either). More importantly, they killed the superhero movie as a form of all-ages family entertainment. Joel Schumacher's Batman movies had undergone heavy Executive Meddling to make them more family-friendly and Merchandise-Driven, which played a huge role in their negative reception by fans, critics, and moviegoers. As a result, the next generation of superhero films in the mid-'00s excised all traces of camp and went the Darker and Edgier route — Christopher Nolan's Batman films were essentially gritty crime dramas featuring Batman, while even more lighthearted films like X-Men and Spider-Man had substantially darker storylines (and, in X-Men's case, costumes) than past superhero films. Ironically, the fact that by the late 2000s the "dark superhero" era was becoming somewhat of a joke made these kinds of films as difficult to take seriously as the campy ones, not helped by the acclaim received by the Dark Knight trilogy making it hard to make a "dark" superhero film without being accused of ripping it off (at least until Logan). Around the same time, the newly-formed Marvel Cinematic Universe began to explicitly target superhero films at families again with much of the genre's colorful conventions kept in
Superhero films went through a near-miss in 1987, where the box office and critical disaster of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace would have likely signaled the death of superhero films, if it wasn't for RoboCop becoming a Sleeper Hit that same year and Batman becoming a success in 1989.
When Wild Wild West reared its ugly head in 1999, it was torn apart by critics and the audience. Roger Ebert gave it a spot on his most hated list, it became an Old Shame to Will Smith and Warner, and pushed ideas of westerns that crossed over into sci-fi/fantasy into the far background for over a decade. Eventually, Hollywood tried again with Cowboys & Aliens, which got a better reception but still mixed reception and bombed heavily. Disney had their own fantasy-esque western in the works, a reboot of The Lone Ranger, and nearly pulled the plug on it. When they finished it, studio chairman Rich Ross had been sent packing, and the film bombed even harder and got worse reviews than Cowboys And Aliens, giving the third strike to the idea of making a western with superfluous sci-fi/fantasy/mystical elements in it. No attempt to try this idea again has materialized since.
In an odd twist, The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle also heralded the above sub-genre being shortly succeeded afterwards by the similar "live-action/CG character" sub-genre; with the industry seeing a boom in live-action films aimed at families/kids that featured non-human characters presented in CGI (with the majority of them being adaptations of popular works in other media). While this style of films had first taken its roots with Casper (1995), the genre only really took off with the commercially successful 2002 Scooby-Doo adaptation, which was then followed by a glut of similar films throughout the Turn of the Millennium. By The New '10s, however, audiences' perception of these films began to fall in line with reviewers; who (with rareexceptions) largely panned the subgenre for their increasingly repetitive formulas of narrative beats, Shrek-inspired low-brow, pop culture-heavy humor, "realistic" depictions of characters, and — concerning adaptations — having little to do with the source material. Combined with increased competition and popularity of CGI animated films (especially due to Illumination's successful entrance into the industry, and Disney's return to form following their 2000s-era Dork Age), the declining popularity of live-action family films, and the success of Ted (an adult-geared Deconstructive Parody of the subgenre), the collapse of the genre had a firm grip in the industry until Peter Rabbit in 2018 got okay reviews and was a financial success, along with Pokémon Detective Pikachu a year later, so the genre could live on.
The Nostalgia Criticargues that the flop of 2001's Monkeybone killed the '90s trend of dark fantasy comedies that tried to imitate the style of Tim Burton. Burton himself, of course, would keep making films in this vein, but beyond him, the style wouldn't come back into vogue until Coraline towards the end of the decade, which was ironically helmed by the director of Monkeybone, Henry Selick. Then in 2012, a three-way race between Burton's Frankenweenie, Laika's Para Norman and Sony Animation's Hotel Transylvania would end with the latter ahead, while the other two were trounced at the box office in spite of being far better-reviewed, drying up interest on the genre in the animation industry. Three years later, however, Goosebumps, a live-action adaptation of the book series, became a commercial success.
While, in hindsight, the writing was on the wall for the VHS format as a viable platform for major home media releases from the moment DVDs took off, the VHS release of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in 2004 is said to have sped the process along by several years. To wit: the film was made using Super 35, an extremely open film format that allowed for a variety of compositions, and yet the pan-and-scan VHS release was just that — panned and scanned from an anamorphic Scope print, and horribly so, by some videophile accounts. It's telling that releases for the niche D-VHS format stopped shortly after, and major label releases on VHS stopped by 2007. It's been said that director Alfonso Cuarón hated the Academy ratio so much he deliberately sabotaged the 4:3 composition on the VHS release, with some theorizing Cuaron wanted to give DVD the shot in the arm he felt it needed to definitively secure its then-recent lead over VHS.
In 2004, the films Fat Slags and Sex Lives of the Potato Men proved so bad that there was actually concern in the UK that the entire British film industry was going down the tubes. The £1 million grant that Potato Men had received from the National Lottery through the UK Film Council was especially criticized. It turned out to be a false alarm, with British cinema surviving into the present day and thriving during the early-mid 2010s, but it takes a special kind of film to make an entire country think that its film studios are in trouble.
If you're wondering why these films caused such concern, well, it was because the British film industry had been in a similarly dire spot two decades earlier, with Revolution (1985). Not only was it a huge critical and commercial failure, but its very concept was considered so insulting to American audiences that it resulted in moviegoers and cinema chains actively boycotting British-produced films. This caused UK investors to abandon the industry, which in turn caused the government of Margaret Thatcher to pull the plug on the long-standing tax reliefs related to the industry and redirect them to the financial sector. The end result of all this was that the UK's film industry was left effectively dead as anything other than a production base for American films (plus a handful of independently-produced films which had budgets that would have been considered pathetically small even for an American TV Movie of the Week), until a decade later when Trainspotting and The Full Monty managed to get it up and running again.
The overwhelmingly negative reviews of 2004's one-two punch of Christmas with the Kranks and Surviving Christmas dried up interest in doing Yuletide comedies, which had been popular ever since Home Alone came out 14 years earlier, the only year two Christmas films have competed at the box office since was in 2006 with Deck the Halls and The Santa Clause 3, with both films being ravaged by critics, who have mostly shunned any attempts to do another holiday movie. During the second half of the 2010s however, Christmas-themed films aimed towards mature audiences such as A Madea Christmas, Krampus and A Bad Moms Christmas have become popular.
The 40-Year-Old Virgin in 2005 and Superbad in 2007 are often credited with killing the teen Sex Comedy. On one hand, the success of The 40-Year-Old Virgin proved that sex comedies aimed squarely at grown adults (with teenagers playing only supporting roles) could be just as successful as teen-oriented films like American Pie. On the other, Superbad mocked and deconstructed the genre so viciously that viewers could no longer take it seriously, cementing the public view of teen sex comedies as being weird, pathetic, lowbrow schlock that toed the line between sexy and sexist. The rise of internet porn, allowing such films' target audience to easily access far more explicit material than what could be shown in an R-rated film, merely read the genre's obituary.
Adult-geared sex comedies remained wildly popular for the rest of the decade, stricter MPAA guidelines and changing mores post-2010 made it even harder to sneak more intense material. Subsequent attempts at reviving the genre, like Project X, have been widely reviled while 2011's Bad Teacher and the sequels to 2009's The Hangover were subject to greater scrutiny than previous works. While 2012's Ted gave the male-oriented adult comedy genre a shot in the arm by mostly relegating the sex content to the sidelines, followed by other R-rated comedies such as Bad Neighbors, the subgenre's reputation was affected in 2016 by Dirty Grandpa and Bad Moms. The former, while doing well at the box-office, received such an overwhelmingly negative response that subsequent attempts at the sub-genre in the same year (including Zoolander 2, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, The Nice Guys, Bad Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, Rules Don't Apply, Bad Santa 2 and Why Him?) either became financial disappointments or outright flopsnote Mike and Dave and Why Him? broke even by their impressive overseas performances, while the latter was aimed specifically at women and was more successful than all of the aforementioned films. Nearly every adult comedy made thereafter was either aimed at a female audience (Girls Trip, Rough Night) or both men and women (The House, Game Night, Blockers), but a lack of interest on humor from studios because of declining box-office numbers (aside from lack of success outside the English-speaking world) has pretty much reduced comedy films to "limited release"/VOD material.
The works of Seltzer and Friedberg (starting with Date Movie in 2006) have been blamed for killing parody movies; even slightly better ones like Superhero Movie (probably not helped by being named in the same "<name of genre> Movie" style used by S&F) have been lumped in with their disasters.
In spite of doing well at the box office, the 2006 remake of 1974's Black Christmas got such horrible reviews that it convinced Hollywood not to give the Christmas Horror genre another chance for almost a decade. Director Glen Morgan blamed the studio for the poor critical reception, saying he was unhappy with Dimension Films ordering dozens of reshoots and script rewrites to the movie, though backlash from Moral Guardians regarding the film's content and release date (it was released on Christmas Day) could also be to blame. It wasn't until around 2015 when another Christmas Horror movie, Krampus, was released to theaters. Thankfully, Krampus was both favorably received and was an instant box office success, sparking hope that the genre may be headed back to Hollywood interest.
The critical and commercial failure of 2006's Zoom: Academy for Superheroes killed the idea of a Superhero School film being commercially viable after the success of Sky High (2005); to add insult to injury, this may be part of the reason Disney chose not to work on sequels for the former (the other being the fact that the box-office returns weren't as high as they'd hoped). While the genre has found success in other mediums (My Hero Academia, for example), no films in the genre have appeared since.
The twin failures of 2007's Hostel Part II and Captivity marked the beginning of the end for the Torture Porn subgenre of graphically ultraviolent horror films. The Saw series endured for a few more years as a Franchise Zombie, but the only other subsequent standalone theatrical release in the genre, 2009's The Collector, played to empty theaters, and Hostel Part III went Direct-to-Video. The Human Centipede, which was marketed as an inevitable Cult Classic, was only played at midnight in most places, and the notorious A Serbian Film had only a single theatrical showing. Driving the final nails in the coffin was Paranormal Activity in 2009, a film at the complete opposite end of the horror spectrum that, through its mounting word-of-mouth popularity, easily blocked Saw VI from the #1 spot on the weekend before Halloween despite playing in over a thousand fewer theaters than Saw VI did. The battles between Lionsgate and the MPAA over the latter's changed guidelines ensured that 2010's Saw VII/3-D would mark the end of an era (Jigsaw, a sequel/reboot made in 2017, had more in common with the politically-charged horror films of the late 2010s, and the upcoming Chris Rock-starred installment Spiral (2020) would take a different spin on the series).
2007's Bratz single-handedly killed theatrical films based on doll franchises, a fact not helped along by the frame of mind they were up against to begin with. This was shown very clearly with the fate of Kit Kittredge: An American Girl the following year. Despite critics calling it a far superior film and the franchise having been going strong since the 1980s and thus having a built-in nostalgia market, Kit made even less money, largely due to theatres not wanting to give doll-line movies another chance. Kit Kittredge was barely advertised on TV and in theatres, and it had very short planned runs. Some cinemas even waited up to a month after its release just to make room to show the thing. Since then, all future American Girl movies have been direct-to-video and have followed their modern Girls of the Year rather than the flagship historical line; later Bratz movies are also direct-to-video and do not follow the live-action theatrical movie's canon. Monster High was apparently going to get a theatrical movie in the 2010s, but that hasn't been heard from in a long time and it too is only releasing DTV. The box-office failure of the Live-Action Adaptation of Jem and the Holograms only confirmed it was dead.
Not one film in particular, but the 2000s trend of remaking Asian horror films for Americans ended soon after 2008, which had no fewer than three movies of this type reach wide release — One Missed Call, The Eye, and Shutter. While they turned a profit, all three were poorly reviewed (especially One Missed Call, which has 0% on Rotten Tomatoes) and none were what you'd call big hits. This, combined with the fact that the found-footage horror trend had started that year with Quarantine and Cloverfield, killed off the subgenre (the last entry was January 2009's The Uninvited). Rings, along with 2017 Death Note (2017) movie, was an attempt at a Genre Relaunch that ended up being a massive critical and commercial failure. The failure of The Grudge (2020) further confirmed it was dead.
Also the trend of doing PG-13 remakes of R-rated horror films was killed off by the remakes of Prom Night and The Stepfather. The former did OK at the box-office but received almost universally negative reviews from critics and horror fans alike and the latter in addition to bad reviews barely made back it's budget.
The failure of the film adaptation of Watchmen killed any attempts at more serious, literary, comic book based movies for nearly a decade. The joke among critics was "Who watched the Watchmen?". The R rating for what appeared to be a superhero film indicated that this wasn't for children and the cerebral plot (this being Alan Moore), lack of humor, and the fact that it was too slavishly faithful to the graphic novel, were too much for adult audiences expecting another light escapist action romp in the same vein as Marvel and DC films. It wasn't until the success of Logan that R-rated, serious superhero adaptations began being looked into again. Elsewhere, the R-rated superhero film has mostly been used for home releases of DC's animated films as well as an extended cut of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Black Comedy fare such as Deadpool and its sequel. A Genre Relaunch occurred in 2019 with the smash success of Joker, the first R-rated film ever to make over $1 billion worldwide.
Dragonball Evolution in 2009 tainted the very idea of a Hollywood adaptation of anime and manga for a very long time, and the failure of Ghost in the Shell over similar concerns certainly hasn't helped matters. 2019's Alita: Battle Angel was arguably only released because it was a long time passion project from James Cameron, and even before release it was already facing lowered expectations in terms of box office return, expectations, which as it would turn out, ended up being largely accurate. Though a box office hit internationally (mainly thanks to China pulling in around 3/4 of its gross), it bombed domestically, which together with James Cameron's attention turned more toward sequels to Avatar, a sequel seems very unlikely. As of 2019, the only manga/anime-based Hollywood film being developed is an adaptation of Your Name being helmed by J. J. Abrams, though it is worth noting that unlike the Sci-Fi Action epics that had come out previously it is adapting a Magic Realism based modern youth romance instead. Other adaptations have remained in Development Hell, and Pokémon Detective Pikachu is instead adapting more story-driven standalone 3DS game into an Alternate Continuity with subtle nods to the anime series.
Following 9/11, a slew of movies about the Iraq War were released with varying degrees of quality. Brian De Palma's Redacted and its embarrassing $782,000 gross (that's in total!) as well as the critically trashed Lions For Lambs and Rendition (which barely broke even at the Box Office) put an end to those films as mainstream releases. Stop-Loss got better reviews than those but it failed to find an audience, and The Hurt Locker only made money after it got a surprise Best Picture win. Zero Dark Thirty - which came out in The New '10s and therefore more removed from the war than the others - was a bigger success, perhaps emphasising the thriller genre instead of drama about shell-shocked soldiers.
The critical and box-office failures of Cloud Atlas in 2012, Movie 43 and InAPPropriate Comedy in 2013 have seemed to kill the anthology movie altogether after it had mostly been on life support for the past two decades.
YA dystopian movies would themselves fall just a few years after YA paranormal romance films with the Box Office Bomb of The Divergent Series: Allegiant in 2016. Not only was this film the final theatrically-released entry in the franchise (there were plans to turn the fourth film, Ascendant, into a Made-for-TV Movie with a much-reduced budget, that have since been stuck in Development Hell), it seems to have caused studios to take the hint that the genre had grown oversaturated. Perhaps noticing the decline in popularity, 20th Century Fox opted not to split the third Maze Runner book into two films.note That film would suffer a Troubled Production that led to its release being pushed back into 2018, though that was due less to financial pressure and more due to an injury suffered by the film's star on set. By the time The Death Cure was released, dystopian films ended up being replaced by more down-to-earth teen/young-adult romances. And if the failure of The Divergent Series: Allegiant wasn't enough to kill the genre, the disastrous box-office numbers of Mortal Engines (Which was not only considered the biggest Box Office Bomb of 2018 but is also currently the biggest confirmed box office bomb ever on record), combined with the increasing popularity of superhero films, as well the profitable results of much less-expensive-to-adapt literary works (Such as Fifty Shades of Grey) could mark the definitive end for dystopian YA films.
The failure of the Allegiant movie also put an end to the Movie Multipack trend, after an already lukewarm reception to The Hunger Games: Mockingjay being split into two parts. Shortly after that film bombed, both huge comic-book movie tentpoles Avengers: Infinity War and Justice League were first retitled to lose the words "Part 1" and "Part 2" and then announced to be shooting separately and following a more traditional model of "a standalone(-ish) movie with a sequel" instead of being a "multi-pack" experience. At this point, the only remaining announced multi-pack examples would be Avatar 2 to Avatar 5, which are currently still planned to shoot concurrently (with 2 and 3 shooting separately from 4 and 5) and release with one year between each individual movie of either pair and three years between the pairs themselves.
The "Sundance style" became not only synonymous with hopeless sentimentalism and a 21st-century version of "kitchen sink" realism, but it also marked "indie" filmmaking during the 2000s, with many a mainstream film adopting elements of it to look more respectable (either as Oscar Bait or just as a last-resource measure to get positive reviews). While this formula had eventually turned into "uplifting Christmas release" material (which is fitting considering the genre's fascination for coping with the loss of a loved one, particularly children) during the 2010s, it became completely discredited by 2016's Collateral Beauty, with most reviews calling out the schmaltzy elements of the formula (with 2018's Welcome to Marwen serving as its "obituary"). At the same time, a new "indie wave" emerged, inspired by the 90s-era wave of "auteur revisionism" that Sundance was a response to.