Throughout the year, it seemed, moviegoers were offered little besides mediocre sequels and reboots, uninspired star vehicles, romance-free romantic comedies and jetsam from the 1980s pop culture landfill resurrected like brain-eating zombies. Ah, but we got to see so much of it in 3-D, and we only had to pay another 3 bucks or so for the privilege.
Hollywood studios, terrified of risk, stuck largely to formula this year, hoping the new wrinkle of rental spex would be enough to rescue the movie industry from unprofitability/irrelevance/Facebook/vague-threat-of-your-choice. But something weird happened on the way to the box office: the formulas failed to work. People stayed away from many of the movies that were supposed to be surefire hits and made hits out of movies that didn't fit the usual mold.
As going out to the movie theater became an increasingly costly and irksome experience, audiences demanded value. That may have frightened some in the executive suites, but if there's anything good that came out of this year's movie chaos, it may be the realization that the old ways of doing business will have to change, and that such change, if handled right, could prove an opportunity instead of a disaster.