Has Hollywood become too Dependent On Blockbuster films?

BAYLOR

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At one time , you had big event films and the B movies. But now it seem ever film is a event film/ Blockbuster . The end result, smaller films that might potentially have wide appeal get squeezed out of the box office, and Blockbuster doesn't necessarily mean it's a good film. Then there's the problem of what happens if the film doesn't do well at the box office.


Thoughts?:)
 

Foxbat

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Even in the silent era you had blockbusters. D. W. Griffiths, Cecil B. Demille, Erich Von Stroheim and Abel Gance as creators of huge movies that, even by today's standards, would be called Blockbusters.

I think where the movie industry has changed is in the marketing of such films leading them to be seen as 'events' rather than just big movies. There is still a good number of smaller films being made and a lot are quite successful when comparing the costs of making them to the take at the box office. Sometimes the smaller movie gets a little lost in the marketing hype for the biggies but they're still there. You just need to look a little harder for them. :)
 

Vladd67

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The film industry these days seems to mainly to do with the profit and not the art. Not only do you have the profits of ticket sales but ever since Star Wars it seems every film has tons of merchandise, to succeed the prevailing view today seems to be that every new film has to be a bigger event than the previous one. No longer can a film just be released with a premier and critic screening to garner publicity, now so much money is invested in films that the studios feel they have to be a major cultural event to recoup their expenses, maybe if a little more thought went into a decent story, decent cinematography, and actors who can give a decent performance instead of just looking good while wearing tight/few clothes and a little less reliance on SFX and CGI, then maybe we would get films that are worth watching but don't need to be marketed as though they are the latest must have product to make your life complete. Also stop making films just for people under 30, loose the focus groups, and stop making films for accountants. So much money is spent on nearly every film a studio makes nowadays it seems that every film is now a make or break for the studio, have a flop and a director's career can be over, after all who is going to risk letting someone who killed a studio loose on a film set ever again? The end result is a reluctance to risk something new, instead of new and innovative script ideas we end up with the multi million dollar tried and tested franchises turning out their formulaic products with all the now traditional hype, toys, lunch boxes, MacDonalds Happy Meals etc. etc. Strip a lot of recent films of their SFX and they are barren of ideas, no substance, just bubblegum movies helping to shift the latest toy range. Of course the latest trend now seems to be take a franchise that has run its course, had every drop of possible story, and very possible profit wrung out of it, and whose leading actors have grown to old for the roles and make a new film using new actors in updated clothes using updated props but the old story ideas and call it a reboot. You take the old films fill the cracks and dents with filler, give them a re spray, new tyres, and bingo! You get the original fans watching out of nostalgia and hopefully you grab a new younger audience who weren't either born or old enough to spend money on all the tat released with the franchise's logo sloshed all over it but are now a whole new market to be exploited. Let's face it when you are selling a product that is either a shiny new rehash or a vacuous piece of bubble gum you need as much razzmatazz as you can muster, so now every film is now pushed as a blockbuster, every film is now a must see cultural event, every film will now fill that empty part of your life, that hole in your soul, every film now seems to be the greatest thing every to grace the medium of film, and if you miss it, well how can you chat on social media when everyone else has experienced this life event that you missed....... I'm sorry this has drifted into a bit of a rant, I'll stop now, I'm sure the earlier part made sense before I wandered into Rantville. :)
 

BAYLOR

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Nothing wrong with a good rant and raises good points.:D
 

MWagner

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The mid-budget movie (just like the mid-list author and mid-selling band) is pretty much extinct. The entertainment industry has become a winner-take all affair. You either have movies with massive budgets and marketing campaigns, expected to earn hundreds of millions of globally, or modest films - indie movies, comedies, horror - with small budgets and modest expectations. I personally dislike the modern model, because I like a mid-budget historical drama or adventure film, and there's no place in Hollywood anymore for movies like that.
 

Overread

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There's a good slew of films which seem to be little more than advertising for CGI effects - Avatar is an extreme example, but you get others too where you can see them working with something "new" or different in the CGI and that effect is carried forth a lot more than the story itself.

The industry is certainly pulled to the extreme, but then again things like merchandise and money drove things in the past; heck many of the old 80-90s cartoons which were staples on the TV and did well were built off the backs of wanting to shift huge volumes of childrens toys (I don't know but this market seems to have died and moved to the big screen - I suspect in part due to the fact that there are now dozens to hundreds of TV channels and thus its a lot harder to pin down every kid watching 1 or 2 shows at once on the childrens hour).

I think also the teams have gotten bigger, there's so much money riding on film now that the writer and director are not the only significant stake-holders in control. In Hollywood this fast pulls films apart because all teh changes and all the cutting that takes place often boils a film down. Key bits get left out; subtle elements changed which breaks later plot development and support; etc...


And yes the system is broken. They know its broken because they are addicted and reliant upon these reboots. They know they must land so many millions on seats watching that marketing a brand new film is a vast risk beyond count. So they pick something from the past that they know will get a huge number on seats - even if it doesn't do well most will still go watch it. So they focus on that; they reboot. Yet you can tell they don't want to really - when you get significant story changes or even the whole focus shifts. Look at Transformers - the recent films focus only marginally on the robots; indeed key characters like Prime are almost totally ignored for greater part. They weren't making a Transformers film; they were making an action "robots invade the Earth, humans triumph" film mixed with a "teen romance".

I also think they've gotten too formula focused. Every film now "has" a JarJar Binks - a comic character whose only role is pure comedy. They are there to play the childish fool, but because its the only reason they are shoehorned into the film it breaks and they stand out like a sore thumb. Viewers also recognise those characters more readily - they can see the formula (even if they don't get it).
 

BAYLOR

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What they ought to do is get the movie executives out of the writing and creative process of the film. A movie executives job to finance ,okay the film and is to sell the audience what is produced , that should be their only functions in the process .
 

Vladd67

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I see the trailer for the Christmas release of Point Break is out, I also read today about Fox rebooting The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and that Vincent D'Onofrio is to be the villain in the film CHiPs. Two remakes and a film based on an old TV series, what happened to new ideas?
 

MWagner

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I see the trailer for the Christmas release of Point Break is out, I also read today about Fox rebooting The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and that Vincent D'Onofrio is to be the villain in the film CHiPs. Two remakes and a film based on an old TV series, what happened to new ideas?
The studios have hundreds of scripts available that are full of new ideas. It's a matter of risk. The new ideas have to build an audience from scratch. If they fail, a bunch of people lose credibility, maybe don't work in the industry again. Keep in mind that most movies lose money. Action movies cost so much to make that those losses can cripple a studio.

Digital delivery and piracy play a role here. Films used to have a long tail. Even if they didn't open big, they could earn a profit over a couple years worth of DVD sales. That source of income has dried up. What kind of chump buys a movie a year after it's released anymore? So movies today are reliant on their opening weekend. Waiting for word of mouth to build over a number of weeks or months isn't a luxury investors can afford, especially for expensive action movies. So they need a seedling audience that's pre-grown from existing properties - a book, an old movie, a TV series.
 

MWagner

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What they ought to do is get the movie executives out of the writing and creative process of the film. A movie executives job to finance ,okay the film and is to sell the audience what is produced , that should be their only functions in the process .
Easy to say when it's someone else's money. Investors aren't going to hand someone $220 million and say 'surprise us!' Given their cost, and the failure rate, I'm surprised movies get made at all.
 

Vince W

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I see the trailer for the Christmas release of Point Break is out, I also read today about Fox rebooting The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and that Vincent D'Onofrio is to be the villain in the film CHiPs. Two remakes and a film based on an old TV series, what happened to new ideas?
Wait. What? There's going to be a CHiPs film? That was one of the worst bits o' crap ever and they're making a film about it? I'm calling it. :poop:
 

hardsciencefanagain

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Hollywood is not a real place, it's an age bracket (14-20 yr)
with the result that anything resembling logic,plausibility,enduring suspension of disbelief,things like giving unknown actors,director or scenario writers a chance,innovative cinematography and (argh) decent denouements is thrown out.
I've seen movies with plotholes ....
.....I mean,there were more holes than plots
(some movies that were actually quite decent are remakes from French movies
Not all French movies consist of people staring disconsolately out of a window,bemoaning their fate,and quoting Sartre)
 
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J Riff

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The kids of the movie moguls get to make movies. They are spoiled hollywood kids. They won't pay real writers, but will steal their ideas. The movies come out like written by immature violent goofy kids. There's and A team and a B team. They will trash the opposition any way they can. Stop giving them money if you don't like it. :poop:
 

Overread

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It isn't that we detest what they make; but that we'd like them to make some different things too. The problem is that new generations are always coming along; so long as Hollywood sticks to the younger generations as their prime target audience they will win. Because each time one group gets bored there's a fresh group of young ones ready for a new slew of films. I suspect that is why they pitch a lot of films into that young-adult age bracket because its so fast to refresh itself.
 

MWagner

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High-frequency theatre-goers tend to be teens and young adults, which is why they get most of the love from studios. Does Hollywood neglect to make movies for older people because older people don't go to the movies, or have older people stopped going to the movies because Hollywood neglects to make films for them? Hard to say. But I do know that whatever else Hollywood is about, it's about making money. And it's a very competitive industry. So if there really were a potentially profitable market out there being neglected, I'd be curious to hear theories why.
 

Overread

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I'd argue that its likely that there just hasn't been a "BIG" film for adult audiences that draw older generations more so than younger ones. Most adult films will draw in the teen to young adult market anyway so its hard for the older- generation to stand on its own.

So because there hasn't been enough "big" name films to do it there isn't the drive to copy-cat. Hollywood is all about copy-catting the latest or current thing (sometimes the marvel films do it so fast that they are copy-catting at the same time - sometimes even on the same film if you look at the speed with which Hulk and Spiderman alternate films came out).

Of course the problem builds on itself; there isn't a big film that does it so no one does it and thus there is not market research to defend such a move so no one decides to invest into such a venture -- and it repeats. It's very likely that the system is playing to itself and that its built up such a focus that its focus groups, reviews, research is all skewed toward that end result.

It's rather like the "well the market wants this so we are just doing what the market wants" line whilst not admitting that they are only viewing hte section of the market which "wants" it and just tell the rest "well that's what you want isn't it?"
 

MWagner

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I'd argue that its likely that there just hasn't been a "BIG" film for adult audiences that draw older generations more so than younger ones. Most adult films will draw in the teen to young adult market anyway so its hard for the older- generation to stand on its own.
I have to disagree. When we're talking about adult movies here, I assume we're talking about movies that likely won't appeal to 15-24 year olds. That's what makes them adult movies. How many 17-year-olds out on Friday night with their bros would go to see Dr. Zhivago if it were released today? Or One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest? I think a 45-year-old is more likely to go to Age of Ultron out of curiosity (or lack of options) than a 17-year-old is likely to watch Philomena.

And "BIG" means different things to people. Annie Hall was a huge hit when it was released, and became a cultural touchstone. Is it a "BIG" movie? Lawrence of Arabia was about as big as it gets. And yet if it were remade today, it would have to be a whiz-bang war movie (with a love interest) in order to justify the huge budget. Even then it's probably too sophisticated (read: slow) for modern audiences to embrace the way they did in 1962.

There are genres where you still get originality. Usually small-budget indie films. Sometimes comedies. And there are great films being made every year. The Oscars are full of them. 12 Years a Slave was intelligent, beautiful, nuanced, and gripping. And it made $187 million. That's pretty good.
 

Foxbat

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I'd rather watch a good, thought provoking low budget foreign movie than a whizz-bang loud, fancy effected, blockbuster with cardboard characters spouting 'witty' one-liners as they fire their next RPG into our rear speakers in the hope that we all forget how shallow the film is and just go Wow! Look at all the pretty lights and listen to all those cool noises!

In the 80s, there was a wonderful comedy called The Strike. It was about the UK miner's strike of that time but the movie was made as imagined if Hollywood got its hands on the script. It had (supposedly) Al Pacino as Arthur Scargill riding to the House Of Commons on a motorbike to save the day.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0544893/

I think that kind of summed up (in a comedic way) the general problem with Hollywood scripts.

And, yes, I loved Dr Zhivago, Lawrence Of Arabia et al. And, yes, I shudder to think how they would be remade today.
 

J Riff

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There are so many great old movies, and even the bad ones have some kind of charm, usually. Maybe in fifty years time it will be considered charming to see people's heads blow up a hundred times in slow motion. Maybe.
 

hardsciencefanagain

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Hollywood has always been formulaic and market driven.
Proven formulas will tend to be re-used,over and over again.
And Hollywood has the star system,of course.
Star actors,star directors.
I'm surprised the Coen Brothers or Wes Anderson even get movies made
 

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