Can The King of Rock and Roll Save Theaters, Too?
There are a few things in life I’m absolutely positive of and this is one: I would have gone feral for Elvis.
In another life, I was born to be a roadie. Going on tour buses with bands across the country, living my best life with my rockstar boyfriend.
That lifestyle isn’t new – Elvis started all of it indirectly. He mesmerized people with hip-shaking dance movements and promiscuous lyrics. He made both men and women want to be freer when it came to music.
Over the years there have been plenty of odes to Elvis Presley. Many have played the crooning heartthrob, but few have done it with success. Filing those blue suede shoes is an incredible daunting project – there’s so much to get right, and so many opportunities for error and criticism.
People want an Elvis that makes them feel like he’s still with us; still an unfound symbol; still impacting the music industry as we speak. They want a star they can continue rooting for after the credits roll. For Baz Lurhmann, Austin Butler was everything and more.
All Shook Up About Austin
We’ve seen Austin Butler in The Carrie Diaries and Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood, however he hadn’t quite achieved the level of stardom he deserved. That is, until he was cast as Elvis. The buzz around Butler and the movie itself has been noteworthy on its own. From an accent he can’t quite shake, to an honorary member of the Presley family, Butler is on everyone’s feed.
While the general public has only been allowed sneak peaks of the movie through trailers and short clips, that hasn’t stopped the entire world from paying attention. It seems we’re all on the edge of our seats to see what Butler and Tom Hanks have in store for Elvis.
Everyone is crazy about Elvis again.
Feel The Beat
Not only does the movie look phenomenal, but it comes with a soundtrack featuring some of the hottest names in music right now. Doja Cat’s Vegas, written specifically for the movie is an instant bop and top-charter.
Doja Cat isn’t the only name to look out for on the soundtrack. Artists like Tame Impala, Stevie freaking Nicks, Diplo, and Eminem are all featured, so you know it’s going to be absolutely fire.
The soundtrack has a mixture of original music and covers of Elvis songs, some done by Austin Butler himself. Since Elvis’ music changed the industry so much, you already know that the soundtrack has to be equally as iconic and groundbreaking.
Although we have only heard snippets of other songs, Vegas sets the tone. This movie is huge in every aspect - a large production for a large audience.
The Battle With The Box Office
While the hype is there, the real question is if Elvis can really spur putting getting people back in the theater. During lockdown, streaming services took over the world. Movies were not only released on subscription platforms like Netflix and Hulu, but they even started making their own, eliminating the need for people to go to an actual theater.
Much like other aspects of life that we’ve grown accustomed to during lockdown, this trend didn’t die once restrictions were lifted. We returned to semi-normality and instead, streaming services continued to flourish – we need look no further than Netflix themselves releasing Oscar-worthy movies and increasing their subscription fees.
Big name movies with big name actors continued to be released online and in theaters, with theaters taking a major hit. The 2021 global box office was down 50% from pre-pandemic years, showing just how little people were willing to leave their homes for the sake of a movie experience. However, with major movies like Spiderman: No Way Home, West Side Story, and now Elvis, the box office is looking to see major improvements.
‘Coming to a theater near you’ has never been more relevant. No one saw a need for going to the theater when you can bring the theater to you. That is, until theaters started closing for good. Now, we risk losing movie theaters and one the ultimate date night spots if people don’t start showing back up.
For those who may be thinking the MCU saved cinema, I’d like to preface that it’s a little different. Superhero movies and action-packed heavy hitters are all but guaranteed to get seats filled in theaters. However, any other movie that doesn’t have an already solidified and motivated fan-base isn’t going to get as much foot traffic. The two biggest movies in the post-pandemic box office are Spiderman: No Way Home – a superhero movie – and Top Gun: Maverick – a sequel to an all-time classic film.
Elvis will be the real test. A movie drawing this much buzz has the potential to pack theaters, potentially drawing in the biggest numbers since Marvel – perhaps a new foe for the MCU after all.
Not only did Elvis receive a ten minute standing ovation at Cannes Film Festival this year, but Lisa Marie Presley herself even gave Austin Butler her stamp of approval as Elvis. With the myriad of Elvis impersonators out there, I’m going to calm any Suspicious Minds and say this is the highest level of praise any Elvis can achieve.