Just noticed the new blog article on the AS Twitter feed, and was struck by the following comment on the future of H'wood:
"Edward Jay Epstein: The three massive changes are:
1) The abandonment of the American adult audience in the major studios’ business plans.
Not only did most studios get rid of their “indie” units (eg. New line, Miramax, Paramount Vantage, Fox Atomic) but they no longer acquire them for distribution. Instead, they have concentrated their resources on movies for teens, children and the foreign audience, which mean movies long on visual effects and short on dialogue."
OK, just HOW STUPID IS THAT?
At the same time that younger people (and younger men/boys in particular) are going to the movies LESS because they have so many other entertainment options at home (and on their smartphones), and just when the baby boomers are retiring and have the time and money to go to movies (and make hits with 1000% ROI out of low budget films like King's Speech and Marigold Hotel), the industry decides to ABANDON the growing market and only sell to the SHRINKING one.
Corporate capitalism is near sighted capitalism. The big movie industry has always been about what's tomorrow, and now it's about what's today. They are like people who only stare at their shoes when they walk. Excuse the preacher stuff but Jesus said "Those who see to save their lives will lose it." You think he was talking about studio execs?
I think most American business -- and Hollywood is a sector of American business, though they often appear to hate the fact -- seldom if ever takes things at face value, but is always looking to second-, third-, fourth-guess the data about the latest trends -- whether it's input about theatre audience demographics or statistics about streaming content.
This becomes a self-perpetuating cycle when, as the results come in from their latest failure to read the tea leaves correctly, they're already busy with the next few empty cups, trying to puzzle out what comes next. Distracted from distraction by distraction....
What were the other two massive changes in Hollywood, as pointed out by E.J. Epstein?
yeah -- i was saying in another thread a while back that the studios used to fund smaller indie-type and a-lister's vanity-type flicks with the massive revenue generated from their tentpoles. but they spend way too much money on some of those tentpoles now. what a waste! they could make 10 great smaller flicks for the same price as one JC-type crap.
And sadly ironic that an 'industry' that produces fantasy and art is no longer visionary but backwards looking.
Guess I better start reading Marvel screenplays if I want to know what to write.
Hey, all this means is that there's a void for the smaller studios that specialize in indies to find success in.
I didn't think the other 2 changes were as interesting:
"2) The huge expansion of broadband.
The increase in broadband in Asia and Europe has doomed DVD — a significant part of Hollywood’s profits, and placed Hollywood in a war with Google, Facebook, Twitter and other tech giants over the issue of the regulation of Internet privacy.
3) The death of video stores, caused by Netflix and Redbox.
This has meant that smaller movies are cut out of a large share of the home entertainment market (Redbox only carries 30 or so movies)."
It boggles me how H'wood could be so far behind the curve when it comes to things like market trends, who the audience is, and what the audience wants. They're still selling to the last decade's market....
As Scott said, it's really a market opportunity for smaller studios -- possibly including AS.
I teach college level U.S. history, which makes me more cynical than most folks.
I think what is happeneng is that Hollywood is dancing to the tune of big government Progressives and liberals in Washington, DC.
This change in Hollywood is not about money or trends in movie goers.
This is about control of the population. Older people are more difficult to maniuplate and control.
People under 30 are flat out stupid and easy to manipulate. (Not all of course, but they are).
They have no concept of what it means to be an American or how to define capitalism properly, or how free markets are tied to liberty and freedom.
By Hollywood concentrating on the young, big government has direct, easy access to the youth.
Government can then maniuptae their thinking and convince them that big government is a friend and an ally.
And the young will watch the media and propaganda spins on their t.v's, phones, ipads, whatever technology can come up with.
And their message? Big government will save the world, despite 8 thousand years of recorded human history that says big government is the bane of human existance.
As usual Lauri great information and painfully accurate observations about 'Hollywood.'
But, if I've learned anything in the advertising business is that what appears to be a business disaster, or a large company or industry making strategic mistakes that lead to their decline, it opens up GREAT opportunities for new visions, businesses, and individuals to fill the void. A market need seldom, if ever, goes unfulfilled. Right now it appears Cable TV (and HBO etc.) are filling the huge non-served consumer entertainment markets (and neglected genres) which means, of course, people aren't going to the theaters where their 'interests' are obviously not being met. Boomers and others will seek out entertainment. They prefer the theater experience but once they put in a 'home theate' Hollywood will loose them as first run customers very quickly.
The bottom line, of course, and what's encouraging for writers, is that the need for CONTENT has never been greater. Hope springs eternal...lol!
I don't buy into the conspiracy theory stuff, sorry. It's a simple result of modern capitalism and lack of foresight. I've always thought the best way to grow the industry is more movies at a lower budget allowing for more variety and a better ability to absorb films that don't do well.
Why make one $200 million film that may bomb when you could make 4 or 5 smaller films, employ more people, and create more diversity at the box office? At least, that's what I've always thought ...
A Participant says:
Jay must be under 30. LOL
@Jay: That's why the current studios are on their way out. And this isn't a recent phenomenon. Studios have been rising up, getting bloated, then imploding ever since the beginning of the industry. Now with the myriad means of distribution, the dinosaurs are really going to have to change their business approaches or hand it all over to the mammals.
Lack of oversight, yeah. Modern capitalism, no. Bad capitalism, where you're too lazy to find out what your customers want, maybe.
Modern capitalism is a slave to the quarter cycle, that's my primary meaning -- it's not a natural part of capitalism at all ... it completely poisons the well.
In a natural system, a company would look at the environment and decide to act based upon what is best for the company long term. How do we get the best return? Well, investment in these long term goals will give us the best results. Let's do that.
With our quarter reporting system, a corporation must show returns every quarter, so they begin paying things forward and looking for short term hits to keep the stocks up, because if the price falls, they lose the ability to quickly respond with capital. So, they rush things, think about how they can make money today instead of tomorrow.
As long as it remains, the system will remain in turmoil and we'll see these terrible, exacerbated cycles that shouldn't ever occur. An annual system would be much better. This was a problem back when I was studying economics in college and it's far worse now.
Dean and Jim:
I don't see the so-called liberals and progressives as all that much different from conservatives when it comes to support of big business. As I have explained to my Republican son-in-law, Americans want government services and government protections, but they don't want socialism. The truth is that anything big is dangerous. No matter if it is government or business we need a way to hold the large guys accountable.
Big government and big business is what we are going to have for the foreseeable future. Might as well be blowing bubbles in the wind as to try and be against either one. What we can be against is the way both are operated now. Our country has gotten so large that it takes big government to run it. And a society advances as hours ought to be able to provide a minimum existence for everyone. But that doesn't mean that the guy who doesn't want to work should have the same level of health insurance, for instance, as those who are productive to the common good.
We need to hold both both government and business accountable for their own sakes. But those who run our government are seem interested in staying in power by any means. And those who run our corporations have become just as consumed by keeping their jobs by any means. In both cases the people of the United States are being shortchanged. What's happening in Hollywood is just a by-product of that.
Lauri, which studios do you think are in trouble? Name some names.
The woman who wrote that is an environmental activist, not a business leader or economist. The need to show returns every quarter is more a concern of mutual funds and recent startups (with insiders looking to unload stock).
Companies like Intel take a long term view, expanding even when sales are weak.
What is Dean proposing anyway, anarchy? Or maybe we should go back to that Ayn Rand idea that the whole point of government is to keep the workers from overpowering the intellectual elite. This so-called liberal conspiracy is a delusion. The biggest conspiracy regarding the media in recent times was gutting the FCC regulations to do away with the Fairness Doctrine and allowing a foreign national such unprecedented control over our media (Rupert Murdoch). And a supreme court decision that says it's okay for a news organization to lie because it's an expression of freedom of speech.
Hollywood is in the same spot it was in the 50's and 60's except it's the internet and not t.v. that's sinking them this time. Same as back then, they wheel out gimmicks and technology and "BIG MOVIES!!!" that can only be seen "On The BIG Screen!!!!" Eventually it was the foreign market and the small indie films that saved Hollywood from bankruptcy in the late 60's.
Hold on a little longer it'll change.
True, except it's not really the internet, it's the studios' inability to adapt. They are sinking from their own weight.
The indie films and small films will always be there.
It was when the studios threw up their hands and handed over the keys to the indies, out of desperation, that things changed.
I think we're in the 50's (big movie!/3D!) phase right now of fixing the problem. How quickly we get to the 60's "The system is broke . We have to change gears now" phase remains to be seen. Although it seems that it's going to happen sooner rather than later.
Let's be specific: More comic book movies and more Adam Sandler nonsense. So who needs a screenplay? Who needs a story? Toilet humor, Gags, animation, stunts, violence, and more comic book characters. At some point the roof will fall in for lack of a sound structure.
@ K -
I'm not saying the studios are "in trouble" (except for MGM, for obvious reasons). And I'm not saying they're on a path that's going to put them out of business any time soon. But I do think this focus on a narrow segment of the market at the expense of all other segments (and with the associated over-investment in "bet the company" big-ticket films) is short-sighted and out of touch with market realities.
I think the studios could do better, and hedge their losses, if they took off their blinders. And audiences and writers would benefit as well. Jay and Lisa said much the same above.