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Aug. 25th, 2005

Better morning this, or at least wider awake.

Started taking the niacin again. It burnses us it does, but it only hurts for a while.

Periodically, I harp on the signs of death that I see in the Hollywood movie system. There are a number of factors that contribute to this, from the number of people that purchase DVDs, the expense of the "theater experience", the crap that passes for studio movies these days... then there is this Slate article, which points out the short-sighted studio system eating its own tail.

Movie theaters are in trouble. Running on small enough margins to begin with, they really can't withstand large drops in revenue. It's why you rarely see anything but chain movie theaters anymore; all the mom-and-pop places have gone out of business because they can't compete.

But the Hollywood system is also spewing out a lot of crap. Nobody that I know of considers the Fantastic Four a critical success, but it made money. It's a successful film in Hollywood parlance.

Hollywood doesn't make movies. Hollywood makes money. Movies are just the tool to do it.

Then if we look at broadcast television, we see another facet of the profit uber alles motif, which is the reality TV show. The reason these shows exist is because they are (relatively) cheap to produce, being in the tens of thousands of dollars per episode, as compared to the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars required on "quality" programming.

Don't get me wrong: not everything sucks. There are some good TV shows, and there are occasionally some good studio films. But there's far more crap out there than good stuff, and the trend is becoming more crapacious.

At the same time, the bigger-budget indie films are becoming more and more prevalent. There is some real genius and experimentation happening there. And my personal favorite, the extremely low-budget indie stuff is getting more and more distribution into the DVD rental chains.

The tide is turning.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 25th, 2005 03:45 pm (UTC)
There is a Slashdot article that points to a NY Times article on the "massive decline in movie-going".

My favorite quote from the comments:

Hollywood studios have come up with an effective method of deterring Internet file-sharing of movies: Make movies that no one wants to pirate.
Aug. 25th, 2005 03:49 pm (UTC)

If you ask me, the late nineties/early aughts was the low tide mark artistically. Wealth and happiness buy complacency, and complacency never produced anything worth watching/hearing/reading. The exceptions to this era were the activists working for the humanity of people very, very, very far away. But it would be foolish to think that they even appeared on the radars of either the corperations or the general public.

But then what happened? Oh, we all know what happened.

And sure, the corps still don't care. But the general public...is starting too. Fantastic Four made money, sure, but the massive hits of last year (in the post-LOTR void) were (ahem) -- Sideways, Napoleon Dynamite, Eternal Sunshine, Finding Neverland. They didn't have huge opening weekends -- the measure by which films are judged in the industry more than any other -- but they had "long legs," meaning they JUST KEPT MAKING MONEY. Wanna know what the most reliably successful film in my movie theater is, and has been for a month? "March of the Penguins." It never makes as much money than anything opening that weekend, but it consistantly makes more than almost everything else. For a MONTH. That's...almost unheard of.

The tide is indeed turning. I keep reading that this is what happened in the 70s as well -- a nation in a state of manufactured anxiety and conflict suddenly grows tired of "thrill feat" art, and their souls begin to yearn for the real stuff. And that, and little else, is responsible for the Industry Recession.
Aug. 28th, 2005 04:51 pm (UTC)
I also think we are dealing with an increasingly "media aware" public. Before, you could make a "bad" movie, make cool commercials for it and it would sell millions of tickets. Today's audience seems, if only slightly, more savy to the when a movie is going to be lousey. They know the tricks, they know the "mechanical" differences between a good film and a bad one.

This is why DVD's make more money than theatrical releases. No one wants to spend $9 to see a bad movie, but they will spend $3.

What is Hollywood's "solution"? But less money into theatrical and more into DVD, because that's where the money is.

More proof of Marmot's theory -- Hollywood does not make movies.

Any other industry in the world would as least CONSIDER that hey -- maybe the reason people are less likely to spend money at the theater -- is because THE MOVIES SUCK! And maybe if you concentrated on GOOD movies, we might make more money?

This is what happens when you put MBAs in charge of storytelling.
Aug. 25th, 2005 11:48 pm (UTC)
Started taking the niacin again. It burnses us it does, but it only hurts for a while.

Umm.... have you tried the flush-free (slow-disperse) niacin? Either that, or taking it just before bed? I've heard that both ways are good for people who have problems with taking Niacin (it also might not hurt to eat a little something, if you can...).

(Knowledge garnered from having worked in a pharmacy -- YMMV).
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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