Monday, June 17, 2013

Reel Facts & Opinions: The Future of the Film Industry

Movie titans Steven Spielberg and George Lucas predicted a grim future for the movies last week, predicting an “industry implosion”, which would seriously alter the way we see films.
The remarks came at a forum on the future of entertainment at the University of Southern California. Lucas, an industry pioneer (LucasFilm, THX, ILM), and the creator of the STAR WARS saga, says Hollywood will eventually adopt a Broadway model, in which films would stay in theatres much longer and command higher prices. Spielberg, Lucas’ best friend and frequent collaborator, (the two have combined for 7 of the top 10 highest-grossing films in the 1980’s), said that the implosion will happen after a half-dozen or so blockbusters flop at the box office, leading studios to re-evaluate their industry.

It would be fair to say that besides their box office success in their careers, the industry has been changed forever from the efforts of Lucas and Spielberg, so when they have something serious to say about the movies, the world would be wise to pay attention. With rising ticket prices combined with a lack of quality films a serious problem in Hollywood right now, along with technology bringing convenient ways to watch movies at home, it’s not much of a stretch to think that the industry just may suffer some sort of Wall Street-type crash one day. But will it really be that bad? Will movie theatres diminish to the point where only one or two films a month can be viewed on the big screen?
First of all, the two seem to be overlooking the success of the foreign film industry over the past decade (or even two); in other words…not all movies are made in the bloated Hollywood we have today. These foreign films have had excellent success (last year’s AMOUR was a Best Picture contender), and tend to focus more on storytelling than spectacle; a trait that audiences are starting to get wise to. There is also the growing popularity and success of the independent films. With the coming of digital filmmaking, it is now easier, quicker, and less expensive for movies to be made, and more importantly…distributed.

Spielberg’s comment about the industry changing after a few box office flops feels like an odd one, because flops have been happening in Hollywood since Day One. Movies flop for many reasons; bad marketing, no interest…or just a bad production. If taking a loss is a major concern in Hollywood, then the studios need to focus on quality and give us good goddamn movies. Big-budget spectacles like THE AVENGERS (2012), AVATAR (2009), and most recently, MAN OF STEEL have proven that quality, and giving audiences what they want to see often go hand-in-hand. However, studios can’t take audiences for granted in that they will flock to the theaters just because a name is attached; as Will Smith’s recent shit-pile AFTER EARTH flop has proven, you still have to bring the goods to go with your big name.
Another overlooked factor is that lovers of cinema are always going to go the theater because they love that big-screen experience. Is anyone looking forward to seeing a new STAR WARS or AVENGERS film debut on their laptop? Unlikely. Audiences will come; both casual and die-hard. It seems that if the industry is going to have any sort of crisis, it will come by way of a slow turn instead of an overnight crash.

But Lucas and Spielberg’s words should not go unheeded and do carry some truth. Perhaps a good scare is just what Hollywood could use right now, perhaps leading to fewer soul-less pictures and ushering in a new golden age of film.
What say you?



No comments:

Post a Comment

A few rules:
1. Personal attacks not tolerated.
2. Haters welcome, if you can justify it.
3. Swearing is goddamn OK.