1. Welcome to the Fantasy Writing Forums. Register Now to join us.

Has high fantasy become mainstream?

Discussion in 'Film & Television' started by Dwarven Gold, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. Dwarven Gold

    Dwarven Gold Minstrel

    With the success of the Lord of the Rings films, and the upcoming Hobbit franchise, has high fantasy finally become mainstream?

    If so, why aren't there more high fantasy films in the pipeline?
  2. Elder the Dwarf

    Elder the Dwarf Maester

    I think it depends on what you consider mainstream. Fantasy games are certainly become mainstream, and everybody loved TLOTR, but after that, not so much. As far as literature goes, most guys I know read thrillers and most girls/women I know read ridiculous self-help, teenage girl, or other type of relationship book. So perhaps one reason that more fantasy films aren't being made is the lack of an established fan base for specific works. The other, more important, reason is one that was mentioned in another thread: fantasy films are expensive. They often require extensive CG work, as well as lots of time and work to shoot. Most action movies and comedies are much easier to make.
  3. Thalian

    Thalian Scribe

    I think the reason it hasn't become fully maintsream yet is because most fantasy novels contain a lot of weird creatures and settings that would require extensive amounts of CG and special effects. Also, the amount of crappy, low budget fantasy works that are out there no doubt have tarnished the reputation of fantasy films and their potential for success.

    With that being said, I would not hesitate to think that a lot of filmmakers are hesitatant to step into such a demanding role and such a high standard bar that Peter Jackson has set for everyone. The Lord of The Rings were so successful and perfectly done that it is hard to try and live up to it, considering EVERYTHING that hits the big (or small) screen that is remotely fantasy will be directly compared to The Lord of The Rings.
  4. I think the main reason it's not mainstream and likely never will be is because most people don't have the "what if" nature that lovers of SF/F do. I don't know whether it's instinctive or learned, but in point of fact most people do not find "what if" scenarios all that interesting. They are happy to be entertained by things that are much closer to home.

    I'm not judging anything by any of this, I just think that it's a consequence of our society and culture. It doesn't necessarily need to change, and it probably won't. Even after LOTR's huge success, the number of new fantasy audiovisual media projects did not increase significantly.
  5. mythique890

    mythique890 Sage

    I think well-done high fantasy movies are mainstream, and with A Game of Thrones, maybe we're seeing some mainstream high fantasy TV, but I don't think high fantasy books will ever become mainstream. Main reason? TL;DR.

    Lighter YA fantasy on the other hand has been mainstream since Harry Potter got big I think, especially with teenage girls. But I don't think it segues often into an interest in high fantasy. Most stick with YA forever (moms who read Twilight with their daughters) or sort of grow out of fantasy books completely, IMO. Only a handful seem to move on to adult fantasy.
  6. xerolee

    xerolee Scribe

    I don't think so, they are mainstream if you are willing too look.
  7. Shanatos

    Shanatos Dreamer

    Depends on what you define as "mainstream". Books in general are less mainstream than television and film.

    I think medieval style fantasy is less mainstream than Harry Potter/Twilight modern fantasy because it's closer to their own experiences.
  8. gerald.parson

    gerald.parson Troubadour

    Think of how long it took LotR to get to that format. Same with Game of Thrones. LotR was published in the 50's? GoT in 96? These things don't happen over night. Besides, the main reason those two have been adapted is their worlds are not too far fetched and are realistically fashioned so they can be converted to other forms of media.
  9. Aravelle

    Aravelle Sage

    I think for a fantasy genre it has become mainstream to a degree. Superheroes and urban fantasy are moreso; I believe high fantasy is overused in the actual writing industry more than anything.
  10. Wolfram

    Wolfram Dreamer

    It will be mainstream when they make a Legend of Drizzt Do'urden movie.
  11. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    Someone made a low-budget live action movie of it. Like a home made film.

    If a major studio ever makes a movie of it, chances are it will suck.
  12. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

    I think the main reason we don't see many big fantasy movies or tv shows is budget constraints. Most high fantasy would be effects intensive and studios aren't going to sink that kind of money into a project unless a profit is guaranteed. This means that only high fantasies with massive preexisting fanbases will get films or live action tv shows.

    Animated movies and tv shows however have lots of mainstream high fantasies, mostly aimed at kids. Avatar TLA and Korra, Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon, ThunderCats, the list goes on.
  13. Shockley

    Shockley Maester

    I don't think high fantasy has become mainstream.

    I think high fantasy has been co-opted by a money-making machine looking for the next cash cow.
  14. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar


  15. Sheriff Woody

    Sheriff Woody Troubadour

    Look at the numbers...

    The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
    Budget: $155,000,000
    Gross: $104,383,624 (USA)

    The Golden Compass
    Budget: $180,000,000
    Gross: $70,083,519 (USA)

    The Spiderwick Chronicles
    Budget: $90,000,000
    Gross: $71,148,699 (USA)

    Most people won't watch fantasy films unless they are based on outrageously popular books like Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings, and Hollywood won't make them if they are going to keep losing money.

    The Eye of the World has been in the pipeline for ages and has still not seen any progress. And that doesn't surprise me, either. It's a box-office flop waiting to happen.

Share This Page