Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Yes, Virginia, Hollywood Is Stupid

DJ Pangburn, whose name unfortunately sounds like slang for venereal disease, has written an open letter to Hollywood here on Death + Taxes.

Pangburn's letter urges Hollywood to stop blaming falling box office numbers on movie piracy and start blaming themselves for making terrible movies. Go, Pangburn!

A commenter argues that studios take a hit on enjoyable films so they have to make the bad ones because they'll ensure a big box office return, but that's really only half true: the production companies desperately want that box office return, but not because they're true art lovers at heart. It's because they're greedy.

And the production companies are lucky, really, that people will always want to go to the movies, if only to get out of the house. We'll pay the $10 ticket prices to see some flaming piece of crap because it's an experience that holds so many good memories, and just maybe we'll get lucky and see something that doesn't make us wonder what happened to all of the talented people in the world.

That's why I go anymore, anyway.

Art doesn't have a formula, and that's what these production companies are distilling film making into: if box office projections based on combined star-power of cast & director plus amount to be made through product tie-ins (toys, bedsheets, stickers, etc.) is greater than amount spent to finance production, ACTION!

But I firmly believe that cream rises to the top. That true quality, regardless of genre, will find its audience and (perhaps eventually) profits. Unfortunately that's not enough security for Hollywood.

Which I understand. If I was investing millions of dollars into something I absolutely would want some kind of insurance or assurance that I would get a positive return on my investment. Who wouldn't? No business would want to, let alone could, function without positive income overall.

So are we stuck? Right now, yeah, I think so. Until someone a lot smarter than me comes up with the solution, anyway. My advice for the meantime is to insist on quality as much as you can. Research films before you shell out the cash. Look into the filmographies of the actors and directors and producers and composer...find some critics with similar tastes to you, critics you can trust, before you pay to see the latest star-studded studio endeavor.

And hope. Always hope.

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