What Ever Happened to Baseball Movies?
I can’t tell you the last time I went to a movie theater. I don’t get wrapped up in the summer blockbusters. I couldn’t care any less about the superhero film universe–especially when Hollywood just reboots and ret-cons everything ten years later anyway. It’s spend big, earn big for the studios. So, unless it’s an animated children’s film, has awards season potential, or features the words “Marvel” or “DC” on the movie poster, your script isn’t being green-lit in 2017.
One of the biggest losers in today’s Hollywood? Baseball movies. And more specifically–kid’s baseball movies. Maybe this is just nostalgia talking, but look at this 7-year stretch run of baseball films made between 1988 and 1994: Eight Men Out; Field of Dreams; Major League; A League of Their Own; Mr. Baseball; The Sandlot; Rookie of the Year; Angels in the Outfield; Major League II; and Little Big League. Even if baseball wasn’t your thing, the 90’s still gave us Space Jam, Little Giants, The Big Green, and The Mighty Ducks.
Name one baseball movie that’s been made in the last 10 years–not named 42 or Moneyball–that you remember watching? Trouble with the Curve? Million Dollar Arm? If you don’t believe me, check Baseball Almanac’s list of every baseball film ever made here and scroll through the last 10 years. Hell, go all the way back to 2000. Nothing memorable.
Sadly, Hollywood can’t afford to choke up and hit for an average. It’s home run or bust. International box office numbers mean more now than ever, and it’s extremely difficult to market anything globally that doesn’t feature Chris Pratt on a spaceship or a CGI’d Spider Man swinging through Forest Hills.
With news today that Disney is pulling its content from Netflix to create its own direct-to-consumer content platform by 2019, there may still be hope for the future. Until then, I’ll be reserved to living out my childhood on one of the few platforms it still exists: