Reel Talk

Success of “Get Out” shows future of movie industry

Story by Andy Fialko, Entertainment Editor

At the 90th Academy Awards, Jordan Peele, (yes, from Key and Peele), made history as the first ever African-American to win an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, for his comedic horror-thriller Get Out. But, beyond just breaking a statistic, his victory opened a door.

Film snobs like to separate moviegoers into two categories: those who watch movies for fun and those who watch for artistry. These “casual” moviegoers represent the majority of us: people who go see popular movies when they come out and rarely go out of their way to see an Oscar nominated drama. Throughout the last few decades, the gap has grown to the point where most blockbuster movies, such as Black Panther or Wonder Woman, which may be more fun than nuanced, are never given a second thought by “serious” movie buffs. Jordan Peele, and Get Out are a step toward bridging that gap.

Get Out has a black protagonist and, in addition to being a horror thriller, is a powerful social commentary about black stereotypes. It hit the spotlight last March when it unexpectedly led its opening weekend at the box office. It gained universal acclaim, being referred to by the Los Angeles Times as a “cultural phenomenon.”

And it’s a cultural phenomenon in more ways than one. The power of Get Out lies in its endlessly wide appeal. With a black director and black star, it reaches a wide African-American audience, (though it says something altogether about Hollywood that those are uncommon occurrences), as 38 percent of viewers on opening weekend were black. Its combined funny, exciting and suspenseful nature attracts all of the white people who see movies for fun and its depth and social commentary catch the eyes of film snobs and critics who would otherwise brush aside a black-led “horror” movie. It checks all the boxes.

And now, it has won an Oscar. The Academy Award is seen by many as a universal measure of the quality of a film or performance. Get Out winning an Oscar forces elite filmmakers and producers in Hollywood to take a serious look at it. It sets a precedent for potential future films like it. As with classics like The Godfather, Star Wars and Alien, Get Out has the opportunity to jumpstart a whole new genre of movies.

This opportunity cannot go to waste. Let the comedy horror-slash-thriller become a staple of the Oscars every year. Show studios that these are the types of movies we want. Not Geostorm or Transformers 5 or a reboot of some overdone franchise from the 90s. An actual film. A thought provoking, exciting, funny movie with nuance and attention to detail. One that will bring in every audience and unite moviegoers everywhere. Because of Get Out, we know it can be done. It can happen and it can happen often.