Thursday 13 June 2013

Beards on Hollywood Implosion

Interesting story doing the rounds right now about Steven Spielberg and George Lucas at E3 discussing how Hollywood continues to eat itself (link to Empire's coverage).

They talk about how the current trend of remakes, reboots and increasing budgets is essentially unsustainable and, while I still love me my summer movies (so long as they are GOOD), it's perfectly true.

Many of these big movies are not about directors, they're about Hollywood execs trying to prove to each other that their dick is the biggest by spending more money. There are even some, I hear, who will replace practical effects with unnecessary CG because they think it means something, that it shows that they;re not afraid to throw money around in the face of rivals, when it's entirely possible they have no real understanding of what makes a movie really work, which Mr Spielberg and Mr Lucas (accept it, yes the prequels were poor but he did a few things before them) plainly do. Summer blockbusters are now the domain of the suits. Star Wars, Jaws, ET, and Indiana Jones were all made with honest intentions and by guys who wanted to see those films themselves.

Something else which bugs me as well is the insistence on calling every big summer release a "blockbuster". Because they're not. A film used to only be a "blockbuster" if it did well, the phrase coming from how they broke records, crushed the competition and became cultural phenomena. Now, they're crafted by the suits to a formula and are called "blockbusters" regardless. A movie like Green Lantern or other John Carter (which I had a lot of time for) would not have been called a blockbuster back in the day. You didn't earn money, you were a bomb. Simple as. Based on the enormous profit it made, My Big Fat Greek Wedding was a blockbuster - how many news outlets would consider that? Could Once, with it's huge profit margin, be classified as a blockbuster? Or are they not percussive enough for the quick pre-sell or quick cut, noisy TV feed amongst the empty celebs?

Hollywood and brainless, lazy entertainment "journalism"has lost sight of what that really means; but the entertainment journalism industry tends to rely on bigging up these things so people will continue to watch their own bilge. Because, just like the execs, they're afraid they won't be first past the post the minute the gates open. It's a playground mentality and it will be biting them on the ass pretty soon.

Hollywood execs know dick compared to these guys. Lucas and Spielberg didn't create blockbusters; anyone who continues to claim this needs to either get their head out of their ass or do some balanced research. What they actually did was make work that the public responded to overwhelmingly and the greedy money men saw their chance and have been at it ever since.

Movies will change. They always do. Something similar happened in the late 60s when giant flops like Doctor Dolittle and Cleopatra almost wiped studios out. I'm not saying for one instant that we're about to watch the current system fail and usher in a new era reminiscent of the early to mid 70s, but something is definitely going to have to change. And for the better, I think.

While there is an art there, it's also a business. And if there's one thing business knows how to do, it's adopt, adapt and survive.

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