There's a quote, often attributed to Brian Eno, that even though only six-thousand people bought Velvet Underground & Nico at the time of its release, they all seem to have gone out and started a band.
I always think something similar can be said of the '70s Jack Kirby. Not necessarily that they all drew comics, but the folks who read The New Gods, Kamandi, 2001: A Space Odyssey, etc. did seem to become creators in higher numbers than other groups.
Obviously, Star Wars also seems to be a touchstone of aspiring moviemakers around my age. I think the jury remains out on the Star Wars Saga as a whole, in those terms, but it seems unlikely to be quite the zeitgeist that the first movie was.
It seemed that The Matrix could have taken on the mantle, but I suspect The Matrix Trilogy pushed it away from today's zeitgeist, too. I'd guess Spy Kids had the same problem for the generation below that, too. Perhaps there's a lesson in here.
Sin City will almost assuredly inspire some, but it's so specifically and blatantly tied in to the cinema of the past that I can't imagine it being the gateway to the cinema of the future... but I'm prepared to be wrong on this.
MirrorMask seems a top choice to sneak in there. Like the Velvet Underground record, it was decidedly limited in its success upon release, so it has a bit more of the "my weird discovery" quality that's so often appealing to a creator.
Having now seen it, I'm ready to suggest that Speed Racer stands a good chance. It's commercial and critical failure assure us that we'll have no sequels to cloud the water for whatever unsuspecting kids find their minds warped by this mad vision.
For whatever it's worth, I find little I disagree with in "Get That Weak Shit Off My Track!": Speed Racer (2008) by Chris Stangl, "Speed Racer is about art and commerce, though the stand-ins are racing-constantly-compared-to-art and patronage in the form of corporate driver sponsorship, with Speed Racer as a virtuoso whose work in content and form reduces crowds to tears of ecstasy."
Now, Greg Ferrara's supposition, in A Brief History of Time, that the movie is 30-45 minutes too long are indeed on target, but it somehow made less difference to me than it does in many other recent bloated Hollywood epics. Perhaps because it is something entirely different from those animals. No, I'm not entirely sure what it is. I have a feeling that we won't know for sure until that hypothetical generation of inspired youths rework into something else entirely.
In his review, Days of Speed Racer, Dennis Cozzalio wrote, "I wonder how Speed Racer will look to audiences 18 years from now."
I also wonder that, but I'm more excited by the idea that some 10 year old is sitting with a DVD of it and someday will make the next generation of movie, built on the inspiration he took from that experience, and I wonder what that will look like.