Mmmusings… – The Hollywood Business Model Needs a Maverick

So I got directed to an interesting article at The Hollywood Reporter in which director Steven Spielberg predicted an “implosion” in the film industry is imminent.  Just reading the headlines, it had me scratching my head.  What did that mean?

A film can be a critical success, but a box office failure.  Hollywood is constantly churning out remakes or sequels of old and beloved movies, the latest news being that Jerry Bruckheimer and Tom Cruise are still planning to do a sequel to Top Gun.  Meanwhile, we may groan at the idea of certain movie franchises not knowing when to quit but yet Fast and Furious 6 still performed well, finally losing the number one spot last weekend.

For many movie execs, it is about the bottom line.  It’s just that the business model has changed in Hollywood.  It’s been ages since the golden days of the studio system.  Up and coming filmmakers are being told their projects are too “fringe-y” for the movies.  Even established filmmakers are having a harder time getting their movie into theaters and Spielberg made a startling revelation to USC’s School of Cinematic Arts that Lincoln was very close to ending up on HBO.

The Economist looked at the Hollywood business model back in February and a section of that article was quoted in The Huffington Post.  According to that article, Hollywood big wigs’ (Disney, Universal, Paramount, Warner Bros. and Twentieth Century Fox) pre-tax profits fell by 40% between the years 2007 and 2011.  Meanwhile, television revenues have risen by 84%.

Wow… but if I really think about it, it makes sense.  As much as I try to cover as much of the entertainment industry in this blog, most of my posts have been about television.  While I hate watching the same boring old redundant crap, and there’s plenty of that both on television and in films, I’m more willing to forgive that when I see it in television programs.  After actually making the trip to the movie theaters, I had better be watching an effin’ great movie if I have to pay $20 for a ticket (yes, that’s about how much it costs in NYC).  Or else the movie execs are just going to have to wait for me to see it when they make their rounds on the movie channels.  It’s certainly a brand new world in Hollywood these days and we’ll have to see how this affects Hollywood movies as the world will be watching.


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