Skip to comments.Talk of movie slump dominates Hollywood's summer
Posted on 08/11/2005 6:50:44 PM PDT by wagglebee
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A bumpy ride at the summer box office and signs that booming DVD sales may be slowing have Hollywood studios looking for new ways to win fans as the movie industry faces increased competition.
But studio executives say the key to recapturing audiences is to make better films -- an age-old answer in Hollywood -- and industry watchers are divided over whether film and DVD markets truly are weakening.
"If you believe all the press reports, we are in the middle of Armageddon with box office erosion," said Peter Chernin, president of News Corp., parent of the Twentieth Century Fox film studio. "I believe that is a definite overreaction."
Movie studios and theater owners have had a rough summer, which is a problem since the season makes up nearly 40 percent of annual movie ticket sales.
By September's Labor Day holiday in the United States, the box office is expected to be down 7 to 12 percent after films such like "The Island" and "Stealth" failed to connect with audiences.
Tracking service Exhibitor Relations sees ticket sales at around $3.7 billion for the season, about 7 percent below 2004's $3.96 billion, marking the worst summer since 2001.
Admissions, or the number of people attending movies, are seen down 9 percent at 578 million for the worst year since 1999.
But Exhibitor Relations President Paul Dergarabedian admitted his figures were optimistic. By contrast, Boxofficemojo President Brandon Gray figures summer box office will be off 12 percent.
Others are quick to point out that a strong line-up of fall movies could still rescue the year. "I think fall is going to be exceptional this year, financially," said David Poland at the Web site, Movie City News, citing upcoming films like November's "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire."
MAKE BETTER MOVIES
Industry watchers cite many reasons for weaker ticket sales -- competition from video games, the narrowing of time between a film playing in theaters and on DVD, and Internet piracy -- but the one factor that seems to outweigh all the others is that some of this summer's films lack a fresh appeal.
"We can all try to blame the closing window of DVD and all that, but you see the movies that are really distinctive still going out and doing really well," said Mark Gill, president of Warner Independent Pictures, which released surprise summer hit nature documentary "March of the Penguins."
Films like "Batman Begins" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" were often mentioned as two films that won fans with fresh takes on tried-and-true Hollywood formulas.
Roger Birnbaum, co-founder of Spyglass Entertainment which had modest spring success, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" said some summer releases were "a little tired."
Birnbaum said Spyglass, which is behind fall films "Memoirs of a Geisha" and "The Legend of Zorro," will not change the way it develops or makes movies just because of one bumpy summer.
In recent years, difficult times at box offices would be offset by the booming DVD market where studios would recoup their investment and profit from films. But there are signs that DVD growth may be slowing, too.
Earlier this week, Bob Iger, the incoming chief executive of The Walt Disney Co, said industrywide DVD sales were about the same this summer as last. But because the number of homes owning DVD players had risen, the average number of sales per home had fallen, he said.
"One thing is clear, consumer choice is increasing, making quality ... content more important than ever," he said.
People get tired of left wing politics being rammed down their throats.
Newsflash... Make some good movies!
Too bad there weren't any.
And I think I heard on Rush today that they are coming out with 11 new anti-American themed movies. Something about F911 doing so well they thought they would do more. Yeah, that's the ticket. sarcasm
I saw "Wedding Crashers" last week, and it was somewhat gross but pretty funny. It's August, and that is the only movie I have been to this year.
Christopher Johnson, Midwest Conservative Journal
It's official. Hollywood has a death wish. According to Jason Apuzzo, here is a list of movies that are in the pipeline:
"V For Vendetta." From Warner Brothers and the creators of "The Matrix" comes this film about a futuristic Great Britain thats become a fascist state. A masked freedom fighter named V uses terror tactics (including bombing the London Underground) to undermine the government - leading to a climax in which the British Parliament is blown up. Natalie Portman stars as a skinhead who turns to the revolution after doing time as a Guantanamo-style prisoner.
"Munich." Steven Spielberg directs this film about the aftermath of the 1972 Olympic terror attacks that killed eleven Israeli athletes. "Munich"s screenplay is written by playwrite Tony Kushner ("Angels in America"), who has been quoted as saying: "I think the founding of the state of Israel was for the Jewish people a historical, moral, political calamity ... I wish modern Israel hadn¹t been born." The film focuses on the crisis of conscience undergone by Israeli commandos tasked with killing PLO terrorists - rather than on the barbarity of the terrorists themselves.
"Untitled Oliver Stone 9/11 Project." Paramount will distribute Oliver Stones new film recounting the rescue of two Port Authority officers after the 9/11 attacks. The film will star Nicholas Cage and Maggie Gyllenhaal - who recently suggested that America was responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
As for Stone, he had this to say only a month after 9/11: "This attack was pure chaos, and chaos is energy. All great changes have come from people or events that were initially misunderstood, and seemed frightening, like madmen."
"Syriana." Starring George Clooney and Matt Damon, this Warner Brothers film - set during the first Bush administration - features a plot by American oil companies and the U.S. government to redraw Middle East borders for greater oil profiteering. The film even depicts a handsome, tragic suicide bomber driven to jihad after being fired by an American oil company! The films climax comes with the jihadist launching an explosive device into an oil tanker as American oil barons and Saudi officials look on.
"The Scorpions Gate." Sony has optioned former terrorism-czar Richard Clarkes novel about oil companies and Washington politicians colluding to reshape the map of the Middle East for greater oil profiteering - this time by launching a global nuclear war.
"The Chancellor Manuscript." Paramount reworks Robert Ludlum¹s 1977 thriller into an anti-Patriot Act star vehicle for Leonardo DiCaprio. Heres the films screenwriter, Michael Seitzman: "We live in this crazy post-Patriot Act environment where Benjamin Franklin¹s warning that those that give up essential liberties for temporary security don¹t deserve either one are being ignored, so the subject matter seemed ripe."
"No True Glory: The Battle for Fallujah." Universal has attached Harrison Ford to star as real-life General Jim Mattis - in this story blaming the White House for the deaths of fifty Marines in one of the Iraq wars deadliest battles. Based on the book of the same name by Bing West.
"American Dreamz." This satire from Universal Pictures deals with Pakistani suicide bombers out to kill the US president. The film stars Hugh Grant, Richard Dreyfuss, Willem Dafoe and Mandy Moore. According to writer-director Paul Weitz ("American Pie"), "The film is a comic examination of ... cultural obsessions" like the War on Terror "and how they can anaesthetise us to the actual issues of our day."
"Terminus." Set in the Middle East of the future, this Warner Brothers film depicts a disillusioned war correspondent covering an insurgency he decides he must support. The producer, Basil Iwanyk, says: "It deals head on with what some call insurgency, what some call guerilla warfare and what some call freedom fighting."
"Jarhead." This Universal release, starring Jamie Foxx and Jake Gyllenhaal, deals with the dehumanization of Marine trainees prior to and during the 1991 Gulf War. Based on Andrew Swoffords notorious and questionable memoirs of the same name.
Forget that tired old cliche about how big corporations are conservative, says Apuzzo.
One thing should be obvious from this list: left-wing agitprop filmmaking is no longer the purview of desperate, indie filmmakers with shaky camcorders and maxed-out credit cards. The films listed above are being made by large, multi-national corporations - and will feature sophisticated, expensive marketing campaigns with A-list stars. Imagine Leni Riefenstahl cross-promoting "Triumph of the Will" with People Magazine covers and E! Channel specials. Thats more or less what Hollywood has in mind.
Hollywood has shifted strategies in its opposition to the War on Terror. No longer content to let clumsy, uncouth documentarians like Michael Moore or Robert Greenwald conduct its foreign policy, Tinseltown is rolling out big guns like Harrison Ford and Leo DiCaprio and George Clooney - complete with their p.r. firms, dazzling smiles, and easy charm.
What should conservatives do about this? Buy cameras.
The proper response for this sort of thing is simple, if complex in execution. At some point conservatives need to raise capital, pick up cameras and start making movies of their own - much like Mel Gibson did with "The Passion." And conservatives should do this not simply to rebut the other side, but to add depth and imagination to what has become a wasteland of popular entertainment. Most Hollywood insiders - even liberals - agree that Hollywood is in a creative depression. More conservative voices can only help what has become a bleak situation for the town, both artistically and financially.
I agree to a certain extent. Hollywood is an artistic trash dump and conservative voices can only help. But there is one easier thing that conservatives can do about this situation which might make Apuzzo's suggestion a lot easier. Stay home. Refuse to see any of these movies. If you want to watch a movie, go to the library or video store and pick up a movie or two that isn't garbage.
If the movies on this list go into the tank, and they will, a studio or two might go under and a lot more money might be freed up for these conservative films Apuzzo would like to see made. After all, if Hollywood didn't learn from The Passion of the Christ, it can't learn from anything.
(s) after much study hollywood has decided they did not provide enough diversity and left wing domga in the plot lines. Therefore to increase movie attendence there will be MORE homosexuals, MORE condemnation of all wars (but supporting individual soldiers as long they make statements condemning war), and MORE advocacy of big government solutions, and MORE evils of capitalism. (/s)
It's crude and sexual, but "The Wedding Crashers" is the funniest movie I've seen in years!
Yeah...and according to an article Rush read today, some in Hollywood think the road to success is through doing legitmate projects in the vain of Farenheit 9/11. It would appear (if you believe this article) that Hollywood has a slew of new movies in the works, all with anti-American overtones. While I don't it at my fingertips, I believe it was posted here at FR.
> ... films such like "The Island" and "Stealth"
> failed to connect with audiences.
In the case of 'Island, re-using the title of a turgid
1980s movie of an iffy Benchley novel may may put
But to restore the glory days at the box office,
Hollywood only needs to:
- fire all the anti-American producers
- fire all the anti-American screenwriters
- tell the actors to stop needlessly polarizing
audiences with their ineffective off-screen activism
- bring in intelligent scripts (eschewing remakes)
- elevate exhibition standards (enforce THX)
- lower ticket prices
- shoot unruly audience members
All of the above needs to happen,
but none of it will.
Its way too late for this generation of scumbag Hollywood elites. They have bitten off the proverbial hand and for what? A love affair with leftist revolutionaries, tyrannical leaders who use propaganda to enslave the masses, which of course they consider themselves a big part of. They are nothing but mimics and not very good at that either.
not only that, remember when the Patriot was a hit?
Hollywood could not condemn it fast enough.
No mention here, that it now costs more than $8 per person to go to the movies. Wait a few weeks and you can rent it for $3. Most people can't take their families to the movies, first because they don't want to expose their kids to exploitive sexual and violent content, and second because they can't afford it. Seems to me, there is a 'creative lack' in Hollyweird. They are just rehashing the same titles. Saw a post where they will soon be making anti-American, anti-war themes. Puleeeeze. Quit going to the movies a long time ago. Good ridance.
News has reports of some ten anti-Bush movies in the works hoping to get some Michael Moore bucks.
What can I say, they seem to be all but putting a gun into their own mouth and shooting,
March of the Penquins = Best Movie of the Summer. Hands down.
I've heard that March of the Penguins is an excellent movie.
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