Skip to comments.Hollywood is Dead
Posted on 02/26/2013 4:47:51 AM PST by expat1000
Hollywood has no problem being dumb, sleazy and violent. Those are all known and marketable qualities. What it does not look is appearing desperate. Desperation however is what the Oscars of this year and last year have in common. They stink of an industry desperately racing its own age and irrelevance reaching for gimmicks to try and hang on to a younger audience.
The dirty little secret is that Hollywood hardly exists anymore. The industry is bigger than ever, but its bread and butter consists of 200 and 300 million dollar special effects festivals filmed in front of green screens and created in Photoshop and three-dimensional graphics programs. They star obscure or mildly famous actors and they do two-thirds of their business abroad.
America is still the official headquarters of the global entertainment industry, but many of the bigger projects are filmed internationally with foreign money and intended for foreign markets. What the American corporations bring to the table is the intellectual property which is why the latest spasm of mergers and buyouts has focused on taking control of every treasury of classic marketable properties.
Disney has put Star Wars, Mickey and Marvel Comics under one roof. It's impressive from a business standpoint, but bankrupt from a creative standpoint. Old Americana is being milked dry for the sake of turning out another disposable movie starring familiar characters. The movies are actually still the same.
The blockbuster has mutated into its final stage. The "individual" movie is almost dead. Forget Jaws or Raiders of the Lost Ark. The modern blockbuster is seamless and soulless. An impersonal work that renders the director and cast irrelevant. The criticism has been made before, but what is new now is the percentage of special effects and the cost. The more expensive a movie becomes, the more risk averse its producers are.
If a movie is going to cost 200 million dollars to make, then it has to be identical to the other 200 million dollar movies that were profitable. The template is there. All that's left is to plug in another talented Korean, British, Russian or even perhaps American director, and then roll out the same movie with characters from another property.
The movie must have collapsing skyscrapers, massive explosions and a few slumming character actors. What it cannot have is too much dialogue or plot, because those don't translate well. How a movie will play in Topeka or even Los Angeles doesn't matter nearly as much as how it will play in Beijing, Moscow and everywhere else.
Hollywood makes movies on the side. What it really does is manufacture special effects theme parks for other countries whose own entertainment industries are not yet ready for prime time. And the types of movies that it makes can be made nearly anywhere. And will eventually be made anywhere. Tinseltown is pretending to be artistic and creative, even while both qualities are dead as doornails.
These days Hollywood resembles the decline of the British film industry, kept alive by state subsidies and used as a talent base for other countries. At some point, American actors and directors will move on to next conglomeration of capital and audiences in Asia, the way that British actors and directors moved on to Hollywood. The next Hollywood will speak Mandarin. Its executives will buy up American properties and film them in China. The casts will be diverse, the plots will not exist and every movie will be mostly the same. In other words it will be exactly like Hollywood is now.
The blockbuster of 2025 will be Made in China. It will feature 1. Aliens 2. Robots. 3. Buildings collapsing. It will have a pro-China message, but the Western writers hired to insert some topical dialogue for Western audiences will throw in a few relevant lines for the version that is released here. The Indian, Russian and South American writers will do the same thing for their versions.
Hollywood will become the American distribution arm of a new global film industry that can make the same bad movies more cheaply and easily. Its executives will recommend properties for the head office in Beijing to buy up. Occasionally they may even be allowed to make some of their own movies. There will be plenty of nostalgia and the usual tawdry independent movies funded by taxpayer subsidies that you can find in Europe's own buggy whip movie industries.
The big wheels of the industry already know this. But they don't have much of a choice. Hollywood has been frantically chasing the youth market with each new incarnation of entertainment technology. Hollywood spent decades making movies bashing television for competing with it for its audience. Eventually the electronics companies that fielded the first television networks dumped their products into the same pool as the movie studios, but by then the internet had begun to take off. And all the movies demonizing the internet haven't done anything to stop it.
The movie/television/comic book conglomerates are competing for younger audiences against video games and the internet. And the internet is winning. The median age for most of the entertainment industry's products is old. Some of that can be attributed to demographic collection technologies that rely too much on traditional viewership, but much of it is just reality. Hollywood may bring in James Franco or the creator of Family Guy to host its industry party, but that doesn't change how old it is.
The entertainment industry dumbed down its products to the lowest common denominator to target the teenager. And in the process the entertainment industry destroyed itself. Television networks killed family hour to chase upscale twenty-somethings and wiped out their own viewership. Their big brothers destroyed the movie theater by making it indistinguishable from an amusement park ride. The television network model killed networks and the cable networks that adopted that same model are about to get whacked by the collapse of the cable bundle business model. The movie model made the movie easy to reproduce by any country with enough capital and digital artists. These days that's the People's Republic of China.
Hollywood movies are already being made to Chinese specifications, complete with Communist censorship, and that's only the beginning. If China's economy does not collapse, then it will become the tail that wags the Hollywood dog. And Hollywood will be history.
The death of Hollywood would have been a tragedy once, but these days it's almost a relief. It leaves behind a lot of great movies, almost all of them made in the past, and the best proof of that is the compulsive flood of remakes, reboots and reinventions of old properties. The spirit of the industry is gone and all that's left is a shambling zombie picking over its own brains and living off past glories while throwing elaborate industry parties that are little more than an expensive glorified reality show.
Hollywood is still chasing relevance and the youth market. The theater conglomerates are figuring out new ways to squeeze twenty bucks out of customers in a bad economy to cover their own expenses which include revamping their theaters for youth-oriented gimmicks like 3D. But the problem is that in an economy where the under 20 and 30 crowd is out of work, those gimmicks are struggling to pay for themselves. Add in the high levels of unemployment among minority young males, who are the industry's best customers, and the picture looks even bleaker.
The Chinese kid has some money to spend after getting through a long shift of making iPads or grinding for virtual money in an online game. American kids have less money than they used to and the internet offers entertainment, including the latest pirated movies, for free, often offered by sites run by some of those same Chinese kids.
In this solipsistic environment, does the movie theater even have a future? How much room is there for a business model built around digital entertainment that doesn't run on the internet? Despite the billion-dollar grosses, theater owners are not entirely certain. There's a reason that a thimble's worth of soda and popcorn is so expensive and it's not because movie theaters are doing well. It's because everyone is behind and running up debt.
Movie studios throw fortunes into mediocre blockbusters and then spend the next three years wrangling over the profits, and cheating everyone from the director to the stars to their distributing partners of their fair share. Movie theaters pay out most of the money from the opening weekends to the studios and count on extended engagements to make money, but the modern blockbuster is one opening weekend after another with no extended engagements.
Everyone is deep in debt and counting on a string of hits to bring in audiences and save their business model. Everyone is merging and clustering together to limit the risk, while increasing the drag.
There's no future in that and Hollywood knows it. The industry is locking down intellectual properties because it knows that it's about to turn into Kodak after the digital revolution. An outdated business with nothing to offer except its rights to certain properties that more successful industries will want to make use of.
Hollywood is dead, but its corpse is still trying to carry on with business as usual. The inventive industry that mixed together vaudeville and adventure books into an entire industry that spanned the globe has long ago run out of ideas. Instead it's marking the time, deadening its nerves and doing everything it can to appear youthful. The parties are still being thrown as if the industry has not changed, as if it's still a band of salesmen and theater owners who opened their own studios and made and lost fortunes betting on geniuses and big concepts.
What we think of as Hollywood was a byproduct of the need to fill theaters, but the technology of filling theaters is being broken down on a more sophisticated level, without the need for creativity. What the big computers did to Wall Street, they are also doing to Hollywood. The future isn't a silver screen, it's a behavioral map of the most reliable ways of getting the industry's best customers into a theater to watch a product created in slave-labor countries based on templates that run on numbers, not creativity, even of the three-act kind.
Hollywood's past glories may live on as nostalgia, but it has no future. The industry is history.
Don’t tell that to the recent “winners” of this year’s Oscars. SARC.
Seems like all the drama and crime shows have kidnapping of the main characters as central to their theme.
Almost as if all the writers went to lunch one day and decided to copy someone’s script idea.
After a Chinese company bought the AMC theater chain last year, you can forget about any movie being made with ChiCom bad guys, or which in any way displeases the Chinese.
Thank God for TCM and its 31 Days of Oscar. Most of these films were made when movies had plots and characters you cared about. And you can be assured at in the end, goodness and morality would win.
A perfect example of this is the Red Dawn remake. First off, it’s a remake which means lack of creativity. Second, the only plausible country that could invade the U.S. (and truth be told, it’s not really plausible either) is China. Which was the first cut of this. However, that did not sit well with the Chi-com audience so in order to make this a world wide distribution, they had to make the invading country the Koreans. Which is truly a joke. North Korea can’t even invade South Korea right across the 38th parallel, how could it come all the way across the Pacific and invade us? Stupid...
Brilliant, as usual.
Now I think I will sit in my comfy chair and watch a DVD of “The Ten Commandments”, “Lawrence of Arabia”, “Taras Bulba”, The Original “Producers” or “Some Like It Hot”.
I actually like the CGI movie “300”, but I can’t tell you who was “in it”.
Hollywood is just one step away from “The Feelies”.(Brave New World)
The War Movies and Film Noir channels on Veetle.com are my constant companion when working on the computer,which is often 8 hours or more a day.
NOTE: Veetle uses P2P - some people have a problem with that.
and if you think thats bad, just turn on a TV..... ugh
Hollywood is alive and well. They made more money in 2012 then in 2011. In 2013, they are up from 2012 mainly due to Identity Theft. The Oscars had the highest ratings in three years (over 40 million watched). Third highest show in 2013 after the Superbowl and play off game. I thought the Oscars were very funny for a change. Seth MacFarlin is a guy who made Ted for goodness sake. Anyone who was expecting the Pope on Sunday Night is naive. Seth MacFarlin will be asked again. The only hosts never to be asked again are David Letterman and James Franco.
Or try making a movie called “Jihadi Dawn” where tens of thousands of unemployed muzzies from Pakistan, Egypt, Somalia, & Pali-land unite under a Mahdi figure & swarm into the U.S. by any & all means, with ICE helpless to intervene due to political correctness. They set up Shariah courts, halal butcher shops & terrorize the “infidel” population, especially females.
No Hollywood director would dare offend the muzzies with such a film. Except, wait a second, that muzzie invasion is taking place right now across this nation.
My husband keeps TCM on in the background when he is "hobbying" in the evening and on weekends. The 31 days of Oscar is the period when he switches to the NCIS channel or the Food Network. He really doesn't care for many movies made after 1950. The older, the better.
the plots will not exist and every movie will be mostly the same. In other words it will be exactly like Hollywood is now.
Bunch of crap. Sure all the movies are the same....SURE. Let’s see....Les Mis, Lincoln, Argo, Silver Lining Playbook, Life of Pi, Amour, Zero Dark Thirty and Django Unchained are ALL the same. This author is the dumbest author I think I have ever read in my history of reading and that says A LOT!!!!
Thanks for the tip.
“The Military Channel” has great old war movies in its series hosted by Lew Diamond Phillips called “An Officer and a Movie”.
Although there have ALWAYS been commies in Hollywood, the industry has suffered the most in the last few years. The invention of CGI has contributed greatly to this downfall. All of us remember the wonder of the ORIGINAL Star Wars, which was created on a shoe string with painstaking special effects, makeup, and costumes that were a triumph of the art.
Contrast that with the last three Star Wars, with their overdone CGI effects and characters, vapid plots, and Jar Jar Binks.
CGI makes it possible to advance the politically correct agenda without involving the human element provided by actors. It is also very cheap compared with shooting on location, constructing sets, rehearsing the roles, lavish costumes, and wonderfully fun and exciting effects. A REAL explosion is so much more fun than a CGI explosion, but then one has to clean up afterwards.
And when the character is a soulless CGI creation, we don’t have to experience a real emotional catharsis. The “Catharsis” has been a feature of drama since Ancient Greece, and it has been lost in one generation.
I NEVER go to “The Movies” anymore.
>>and if you think thats bad, just turn on a TV..... ugh
At least there is the occasional TV series that while has the inevitable homosexuality, pro-abortion stance, etc. etc. does have good dialogue and actual plots. Shows like Sons of Anarchy, The Shield, Breaking Bad.
>>The Oscars had the highest ratings in three years (over 40 million watched).
Vs. 53 million 15 years ago when the population was considerably smaller.
If you want catharsis, Film Noir is the ticket! ;-)
I didn’t watch any of those shows.
If you can’t make a show without sex and nudity and bad language its because you have no creativity whatsoever.
Oh INDEED! LOL!
I haven’t been to a movie theater in many years. Most movies seem targeted for the low-information voter types anyway.
I remember Jim Rogers (commodity investor) predicted the rise of China in the late 1990’s due to trade surplus, high savings rate while the US borrow and spend. He predicted China will rise and the US will be unable to contain it economically and financially. The US military can ring China’s military but it is not design to stop Chinese influence via money. US has none to counter China’s cash reserves. I remember Rogers saying that as China rises Americans may not like the world China imposes on us. Censoring our MSM and pop culture may be one of them.
In the 1800’s China wanted to be left alone. The West and US said no, and used military force to open her markets, set China’s tariffs and occupied her cities with troops and gunboats. If the US and the West had left China alone, we would not be in this predicament. Our founding fathers were correct, foreign policy should be based on willing trade, not coercion, and if US resources were used to build the shining New World for all of the world to witness and let them decide if they want to copy all or some of it, we would not be the hated world power like Britain became in the 1800’s thru 1900’s prior to WW2. We would achieve the same prosperity thru wealth (thus military strength) without all the blood, treasure and goodwill destroyed thru empire. Instead we chose Spanish American War, China Trade (Opium) and Wilsonian redefinition of US as leader of the free world. At that point the fate of our treasury was doomed.
No mention of political correctness religion, which has stifled creativity.
Good points made in the article.
I would only add this.
A movie that is long on characters and dialog and writing - you don’t need to go to a big screen to see it and appreciate it. You can watch it on netflix.
To get fannies in the seats you need the effects that can not be duplicated well on the home screen. Bigger, louder, 3D, etc. etc.
When it’s all said and done they still need to sell tickets so they get their $10 or more a pop and the theatre owners get to sell overpriced popcorn and drinks.
That’s a good bit of the business model.
Like that POS movie “Prometheus”.
It borrowed from every space alien movie of the 80’s.
Lame.azz. movie and I should demand my money back.
They left the ending fer an obvious sequel but, they should skip it and do something more interesting....
” The 31 days of Oscar is the period when he switches to the NCIS channel or the Food Network. He really doesn’t care for many movies made after 1950. The older, the better.”
That’s too bad because 31 Days of Oscar does include a significant number of old classics. For example, while the president was blathering during the SOTU speech, I watched Citizen Kane.
There was a time when remakes of old movies were better than the original. The Three Godfathers comes to mind. Three productions over 25 years or so and each was better than the prior one.
Today, remakes suck and “original” movies are even worse.
Thank God of TCM and to a lesser degree The Encore Channels.
I love stunts in movies. I'll get flamed on this thread for saying so, but the James Bond movies with Roger Moore are some of my favorites. NOT because of the deep plots and witty dialogue, but because they have some of the best stunts ever put to film.
Now? It's all CGI. Hard to get worked up over a bunch of pixels simulating a person.
I'm a completionist. I've seen all of the "Alien" franchise...even that stinker with Winona Ryner (was it Resurrection?).
I picked up Prometheus at the RedBox, and wanted my dollar back afterwards. Great premise, Great ideas, neat technology .... and the movie just plain stunk. Talk about overpromise and underdeliver.
He should pay attention to something other than the dozen or so tent pole movies. While they get all the press and make tons of money the fact is the majority of the Hollywood release schedule, about 150 movies a year, are exactly the movies he says don’t get made anymore. Just look at the movies that won Oscars two days ago, none of what he says is all they do.
There is lots of potential out there if they’d exploit it. Problem is the lack of the imagination.
Wanna make FU money? Get the rights to Larry Corriea’s “Monster Hunters International” and make a good MHI movie (or several movies - it is a long book) that is true to the book. Just the first part where the hero kills his a-hole boss (who has turned into a werewolf) will have people out of their seats and cheering.
Another think I’d like to see would be some of the old air epics remade. I recently saw a WWI movie using CGI, it was enjoyable, but laughable (IIRC the rotary engines in their aircraft - didn’t!). I liked “The Blue Max” with George Peppard, but it wasn’t true to the book (which was MUCH better). Making the entire series (The Blue Max, The Blood Order, and The Tin Cravat) would cater to a good niche market and even have play in Europe.
The talent is there (sort of), the resources are there, the technology is there, the only things lacking aer imagination and leadership.
“After a Chinese company bought the AMC theater chain last year, you can forget about any movie being made with ChiCom bad guys, or which in any way displeases the Chinese.”
I disagree. I think you will still have plenty of non stereotypical, individual chinese as the bad guys.
You will not see a stereotypical (fu man chu types) as the bad guy and you will not see the Chinese nation as a whole being the bad guy.
However, when I see a hollywood movie, except for Jackie Chan, I have NEVER SEEN A CHINESE BE THE HERO FOR THE LAST 50 YEARS.
So in a way, it kind of evens out.
What really kills me these days are shows like “the big bang theory” where Orientals have been completely eradicated from the physics dept. What is that about ? You don’t even see them strolling down the hallways or in the cafeteria. It is like a chinese specific neutron bomb went off where all the chinese got killed and left everyone else.
“as China rises Americans may not like the world China imposes on us. Censoring our MSM and pop culture may be one of them.”
Frankly, I would like to censor our MSM and pop culture.
Yep...Good old TCM and AMC.
My Teenage Girl students are passionate about about two movies made in the late 30’s...Gone With The Wind, and the Wizard of Oz!
Being a “Stunt Man or Woman” used to be a heroic profession!
Two things I remember about the original Red Dawn, Ben Johnson’s character told the boys that the Cubans/Ruskies went to all the hardware/sporting good stores that sold weapons and got lists of people who bought weapons and had them rounded up. The other thing was that Powers Boothe’s character told them that the Cuban special forces infiltrated into the U.S. sneaking across the southern border disguised as illegal immigrants. You knew you wouldn’t see those politically incorrect statements in the latest movie.
I loved the original Red Dawn.....
My wife and I watched Ben Hur the other night, and a couple of old Jimmy Stewart movies. I told her that hollyweird could no longer make movies like Hur because there were NO actors that could pull off those type movies any more. No more John Wayne’s, Jimmy Stewart’s, Hestons, etc. Just no real actors any more. Mostly a bunch of scummy idiots calling themselves movie stars. Stars in their own minds. Hollyweird is nothing but a homo supporting bunch of communists.
Red Dawn had many memorable lines, among them:
“Well, who is on our side?”
“Six hundred million screaming Chinamen.”
“Last I heard there were a billion screaming Chinamen.”
“There were.... “(fireball erupts from campfire)
Forget the Chinese & the Russians & even the illegal Hispanics. The muzzies are the real threat and this regime has made them a protected species. Although here in the South they keep fairly quiet. Must be all us Biblethumping gun toting rednecks.
Before 9/11 we used to have lots of Islamo Fascists terrorists type of movies such as Delta Force, Navy Seals, The Seige where the Islamo Fascists were the bad guys and we were the good guys and we ended up getting them in the end. Post 9/11 all of these type of movies, we have to try to understand the terrorist before we foil their plots. There has to be a reason why they do this (i.e. evil Americans have forced them into this life)
He doesn’t not watch it during that period. It’s just that the percentage of movies he considers good goes down because they include more recent movies.
What I meant by "ChiCom bad guys" was any depiction of Communist China as being an enemy of the United States. For example "Red Dawn" with Chinese invaders.
I began noticing a decline — or, at least, a change — in the quality & content of films after 1980. Increasingly sterile. Either that, or I just outgrew them.
Some people laud the indie films as an alternative to the vapid blockbuster mentality of the studios. The problem is, I don’t like indie films. Most of them are either dry or raving left-wing, usually involving charmless, dysfunctional characters. Makes me pine for the elegance of the old movies.
Once upon a time there was a middle ground: a film could have the production values & powerful emotional resonance of the studios with the intellectuality of an indie — and be generally conservative. Now there seems to be a glaring split, with nothing in between.
Once in a blue moon I’ll go to the movies. LINCOLN was good, although somewhat sanctimonious & liberal. But most of the time I find the experience very unengaging.
Your post made me imagine Alec Baldwin and Sean Penn rowing a galley oar like Heston did in Ben-Hur. I about fell over laughing.
Baldwin would have played the fat slob sitting on his fat butt eating grapes and sucking down wine! There simply are no real actors in hollyweird anymore. I do not go to movies. I pay to see the actors do the movie, and there is no one there now that I will give my money too to watch a movie they are in. Nobody in that town is a true actor anymore. They are a bunch of punk high school drop out homosexual drug users attempting to do the job.
I agree. Hollywood in not dead. It is just corrupt from the tip of its toes to the top of its head.
The Hollywood of today couldn’t produce an actor fit to carry Humphrey Bogart’s suit bag.
For your consideration:
Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Don Cheadle, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Daniel Day Lewis
Pick your own: http://www.imdb.com/list/JVz-JF8ZW-M/
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