Twenty-five years ago, Roland Emmerich captivated audiences when he blew up the White House in Independence Day, cementing him as a leader of the disaster film genre. But since then, the movie landscape has changed greatly, especially for tentpole films. During an interview with Den of Geek promoting his latest apocalyptic adventure Moonfall, he gave his opinion on the state of today’s film industry.
“Oh yes,” Emmerich tells the outlet when asked if the disaster genre has changed in recent years. “Because naturally Marvel and DC Comics, and Star Wars, have pretty much taken over. It’s ruining our industry a little bit because nobody does anything original anymore.”
These comments do not come as a surprise, as Emmerich has remarked in the past that he puts on Marvel movies on planes to fall asleep.
Emmerich points to his German heritage as the cause for his disinterest. “There were [The Adventures of Tintin comics], but they were very childish, and there were no superheroes. So that’s why at the very beginning, superheroes didn’t work in Germany. They needed 10 or 15 years [of movies] to get to the same level as the rest of the world…. But I just have never found any interest in that kind of movie.”
But these comments go further than disinterest. Emmerich has watched his beloved genre ebb and flow for over two decades and has observed the superhero genre take over. His arguments are not baseless, and Marvel is releasing up to four films a year, not including the Disney+ series, conditioning audiences to enjoy the familiar characters and plots. Why would they risk their money and time on an unknown project?
This fall’s movie season also bolsters his claims as Spiderman: No Way Home has grossed $1.7 billion while Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story and Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel both flopped, even though they were critically acclaimed.
His anger comes from the desire to create original content, something difficult when studios only want directors and writers to take from existing IPs.
“You should make bold new movies, you know?” Emmerich told Den of Geek. “And I think, actually, Christopher Nolan is the master of that. He is someone who can make movies about whatever he wants. I have it a little bit harder, but I still have a big enough name—especially when it’s a disaster [movie] or has some sort of disaster theme.”
Emmerich believes he got the funding for his idea for Moonfall because of his name recognition, but also with a chilling notion based on the conspiracy that the Moon is actually a superstructure.
Moonfall arrives in theaters this Friday.