Has Hollywood become too Dependent On Blockbuster films?

Dave

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There was another thread about that here somewhere: Doesn't it limit the opportunities for new young actors to get acting parts? How can a budding unrecognised actor ever compete with a computer generated James Dean?

This thread has gone off in all kinds of directions, taking in all kinds of questions. It wasn't originally about Martin Scorsese's comments (I haven't even read them.)
 

BAYLOR

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There was another thread about that here somewhere: Doesn't it limit the opportunities for new young actors to get acting parts? How can a budding unrecognised actor ever compete with a computer generated James Dean?

This thread has gone off in all kinds of directions, taking in all kinds of questions. It wasn't originally about Martin Scorsese's comments (I haven't even read them.)

Hm, It's gone a bit off the rails hasn't it? :unsure:

Perhaps Hollywood should consider scaling back on tentpole films ?
 

KGeo777

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It's an interesting technology as an experiment but in a story, i think it is too gimmicky and imperfect. The work and knowledge required to do an absolutely convincing fake performance of an actor who is recognizable is enormous unless it is automated Deep Fake style, it requires a ton of familiarity with the actor's habits and quirks. A couple of the Cushing shots were impressive and would have fooled me, but the voice (and badly matched height of the stand in) ruins it. In such a film it doesn't really matter but if you want a good dramatic performance, why would you want to risk it with inadequate cgi?
At least with Star Wars it makes some sense for him to be there, but with this Vietnam movie, it is so out of whack. As an attention getting stunt it works for publicity, but it makes the project seem dependent on the stunt casting fx, not the story merits or even the work of the living cast. It's weird.

I could see this tech being perfect for a film where someone enters a film world or illusion or dream with famous people shown (briefly). If they used it for that, and really perfected the FX, it could be amazing.
The young Terminator in the last one (Genisys) looked pretty damn good in a few shots--much more lifelike in the theater--but the voice was off, and then they incorporated video game physiques which killed the suspense. If they had used footage of Bill Paxton and really made one think it was the footage from the 1984 film-and then had the older Arnie appear behind him-it could have been an incredible surprise if you didnt know in advance.
 

Foxbat

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This is kind of crossing into the resurrecting actors discussion on another thread but, since it's been brought up here, something to ponder.

As graphics become ever more realistic, couldn't we find ourselves in a situation where people just accept the ersatz as real? Or that somebody comes up with a big con trick about finding a long lost early movie from a long dead legend. I still remember how readily the world wanted to accept the Hitler's diaries trick many years ago and I do wonder if this step into the carbon copying of dead actors could be a gateway for fake news to begin generating fake movies.
 

CupofJoe

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To see the dead actors of yesteryear come alive again in todays movies and be alongside their contemporaries , I know it's not really them but only their image. given my complains about todays films , This something I actually ant see more of. When I saw Rogue Oneand how they brought back Peter Cushing as Moff Tarkin , That was truly extraordinary and It was a good thing to see.
While the fanboy in me loved it, I have to say it looked awful. At least to me. It didn't look like Peter Cushing all that much and didn't look alive at all. The re-generated Princess Leia was no better. One of the things I do like about the recent Star Wars films is the number of practical effects that they have used for creatures. There is a lot of CGI, but there are a lot of guys in suits too.
 

KGeo777

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I think the resurrecting of actors is part of the same mentality-a lack of sincere desire to renew the cultural stream for a new generation. It's like a school deciding that this is the last graduating class-that is kind of how Hollywood seems to be operating. It keep reducing the number of students and seems to not know why they are enrolled in the first place. Kind of feels like a cannibalizing phase--the same franchises over and over, the bringing back of older actors who were out of the limelight for a couple of decades or more...
 

Toby Frost

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I think one of the problems is nostalgia. I think people – consciously or not – sometimes want the experience of seeing a good “big” film for the first time again. For the studios, this means sequels and reboots that are almost inevitably weaker, more lavish versions of the original. What it really means, to me, is new good stuff that captures the spirit of older films. For instance, Serenity seems to me to be a good film to watch if you enjoyed Star Wars or Raiders of the Lost Ark and are now a bit older – much better than The Phantom Menace or The Crystal Skull. But new IP is more of a risk and requires more skill, so it doesn’t happen.

Personally, I don’t want to see old actors brought back digitally, partly because it will squash new, living actors out, but also because there are almost no roles where only one actor will do. Someone else – Charles Dance, say – could portray Tarkin and make a very good job of it (it’s hardly a delicate character study, after all). It seems to me that using computers in this way isn’t acting but a sort of impersonation of acting, like a routine where a comedian imitates another actor in a different film.

I suspect that small, art-house films like early Scorsese movies will continue to be made, probably as a reaction to massive blockbusters. (It’s also worth pointing out that we’re only talking about “geeky” films here, and seem to be leaving out films aimed at women, children and older people, which I assume would still be made, as well as non-SF thrillers such as Taken, presumably aimed at older men.) What I think would disappear would be new mid-budget films with an SFF element (Robocop, say) or large-budget films without obvious franchise potential (Starship Troopers).
 

KGeo777

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That's an interesting point about Charles Dance and Tarkin--you are losing potential dramatic advantages by using CGI --but then the entire point of these Star Wars films are to exploit nostalgia in a way. If they intended to use Tarkin in a dramatically interesting manner recasting would be the way to go (even though I find the digital fakes very interesting as a trick process and how far one can go in perfecting it).

Another crazy thing is the overexposure.
There's a new SCREAM movie coming--and yet there is also a Scream tv series currently running. For such a limited concept, isn't that draining all originality or potential for story variation? If Star Wars or Star Trek can't avoid repetition why would a story involving teenagers and a masked killer avoid the pitfalls of becoming bland? Or rather no one cares?

No one cares I think.
 

Dave

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I feel like a broken record. I agree with most of what people say about the lack of originality and most everything else, but this thread OP asked why has it has "become dependent" like it was something new, and I keep saying that it was always so. I've used the Tarzan, Dracula and Werewolf films as an example before, but now that you introduce TV then the examples of flogging a dead horse are too numerous to cite: Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman. Are You Being Served and Grace and Favour. Knight Rider and Team Knight Rider. Baywatch and Baywatch Hawaii. MASH and AfterMASH. The Brady Bunch and The Bradies. Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley and Mork and Mindy....

I'm telling you, it was always like this. Always! Eight seasons of 24 and four varieties of CSI have nothing on the repetition in Westerns or I Love Lucy
 

Robert Zwilling

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There was another thread about that here somewhere: Doesn't it limit the opportunities for new young actors to get acting parts? How can a budding unrecognised actor ever compete with a computer generated James Dean?
Computer generated characters are a product of the digital industry. There is nothing that can be done to stop it from happening. It is just one more group of people who find their opportunities snuffed out by the digital world. The same way retail operations are suffering from the use of the internet as a shopping tool. The medical industry is coming up in the digital cross hairs as diagnosis becomes automated and experiences greater accuracy than most humans could achieve. How many people don't look for the lowest price.

As long as computer generated actors are owned by the studios, they won't object to any work conditions. Companies that have nothing to do with movies will create their own computer generated actors. Computer generated actors might have a recognition problem at first, but using recognizable names from the past might get them over that hurdle until computer generated actors become famous the same way cartoon characters became famous. Sometimes Hollywood sticks a known name or two in with a bunch of first time unknowns. Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck are in their 90's and still famous. It might come to the situation where the digital maker of the world in the background is the owner of the movie and the characters and the plot are just rental expenses. The virtual reality folks are probably hoping to corner that market.

Bestsellers could be compared to blockbusters. The reading industry isn't counting on bestsellers to keep the action going, but how much money do they get from the bestsellers compared to ordinary book sales. How many bestsellers are manufactured nowadays? The reading industry might be a more level playing field for determining the ratio of manufactured bestsellers versus unknown books that become bestsellers. It seems like the reading industry is much more dependent on series and sequels for making a bestseller a bestseller.
 

KGeo777

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In the olden days there were lots of non-franchises shows too. Star-driven shows.
The tv movie was also a phenomenon in the late 60s-late 70s. They made tons of them.
The Night Stalker, Duel, Trilogy of Terror, Gargoyles, the Dead Don't Die, . Mystery movies like Columbo, Banacek, the Rockford Files etc. Mini-series.
I recall Dan Curtis the creator of Dark Shadows remarking in an interview how tv executives had changed-he used to go to them and they would be enthusiastic about doing something-and then by the early 2000s they didn't care at all. No enthusiasm.

The intros for old tv shows were so much better than today.
Buck Rogers, the Incredible Hulk, Quincy, they were so well done. Good musical scores, catchy, to the point.

And with westerns the star was a big part of the appeal. The Rifleman was different from Have Gun, Will Travel, that show was entirely different from Maverick.
I think the western actually demonstrates how the essential ingredients are the talent of the people involved, not the genre.
The Italians did tons of westerns, but they had unique direction, musical scores, etc..
That is what creativity is about.
There should be enthusiasm--but I don't see any evidence that it exists in the corporate culture.

Not that it was rosey decades ago. Hollywood wasted a lot of money on some duds. I watched a couple recently--CASTLE KEEP and THE GAMES. These were expensive, star-driven films. They did poorly but you can understand why since the movies are dreary and end on total negatives. I don't know who they thought the audience was for these. For the budgets of those two films they could have probably made 20 Hammer or Amicus films which would have made more ROI and be better remembered today.
 
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KGeo777

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It was reported this week that THE JOKER is the most financially successful comic book-based film of all time. If this is correct, wouldn't it be of some consolation for Scorsese? The film has very little connections to the comics, and is considered far closer to a couple of Scorsese's own films! It doesn't even meet the criteria of spectacle does it? Are audience tastes moving towards arthouse or is this all BS? lol
I was thinking of the connections between it and BEN-HUR 1959. One might assume there is no similarities but both films are remakes (the Joker origin has been done before), both films center on a down-on-his-luck character, both films were financially successful and critically-acclaimed, and both films put the more important characters in the background (Jesus, Batman). They both can be accused of heavy-handed social message inserts as well. ;)
 
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