Is Hollywood in a creative slump?

IMDB are carrying a rather insightful article on the problems of Hollywood and current cinema, leading off on the problems of Cinderella Man, Nikki Rocco, Universal Pictures distribution chief, says:

…the studio is going “back to the drawing board” following the box-office failure [of Cinderella Man]…”Good movies are supposed to buck this [downward] trend. You hear how it’s all about the product, but we have an excellent movie that people just aren’t turning out for. [The problem is] something bigger.”

Well I would perhaps dispute that in this instance, perhaps it’s people not wanting to see the star, or having an appetite for an older boxing movie just now, there could be many things not matching with the movie and the audience rather than looking for some big Hollywood failure. However, there are some further interesting comments. New York Times media writer David Carr suggests that…

…filmmaking [is] focused on “the wants and needs of 17-year-old boys on any given Saturday night.”

A fair comment considering the success of Hazzard ($30 million opening!), especially after John’s comments on the movie. From the article he goes on:

Carr quoted David Thomson, author of The Whole Equation, A History of Hollywood, as saying, “In the same way that audiences have lost their taste for film, filmmakers have lost their passion. … It is not surprising that some of the moguls are giving up as well. They are as depressed and tired of the business as the rest of us.” Carr concluded: “The people who built the current version of Hollywood did so by coming up with movies that people felt compelled to see — not as a matter of marketing, but as a matter of taste. What was once magic, creating other worlds in darkened rooms, has become just one more revenue stream.”

Okay, so stepping back a moment the article is suggesting that the people who make the good movies and the movie moguls are tired of the current Hollywood, well so is a huge cut of the audience…so why isn’t something being done to change it? Why isn’t Hollywood listening? $30 million opening for quickly and badly remade material and cheaper, good looking stars.

What do you think the reasons are, or do you think there is even a problem? How can Hollywood practically get out of the slump?

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44 thoughts on “Is Hollywood in a creative slump?

  1. Fuck all of this shit, i’m just going to go along and make my own movies and bring on my own innovations. I’m so sick of Hollywood right now, some inspiration hit me a few minutes ago and it’s time to finally quit bitching and slap the big FUCK YOU sticker onto Hollywoods old and ugly face.

    We all need to quit bitching and get into action and take control of the situation. We all know whats good, we all know what we want to see, they don’t, they can’t, and thats because the “they” are Hollywood and they don’t give a trees leaf worth of sticky thick shit about what we think. Everyone take a sticker, and bitchslap the rusty and crumbling Hollywood into retirement, what we need now is…………..

    =====================================================================

  2. The only way Hollywood will change is if we force it to. This can be done in the following ways: –

    1) Don;t go to films that are obviously going to be shite. Dukes of Hazzard was always going to be crap, so stay away. If in doubt, await for the DVD release and hire it.

    2) Don’t go to watch remakes. I don’t care if they may look decent. The original in 9 out of 10 times was better, so hire that and watch that instead. This includes Hollywood remakes of Asian cinema. Have the patience and be open minded. Watch the foreign version!

    3) Don’t buy into all this special edition / anniversay edition / extended edition bollocks when DVD’s are released. Don’t rush out and buy films as soon as they come out. Do some research and wait a while for the definitive edition to be released. The studios will soon realise that when sales of first edition DVD’s are really low, that they may as well release the super edition first.

    4) Stand-up against the ridiculous prices that are charged to go to the cinema. Vote with your bums and don’t go! I know with some films that may be a huge sacrafice, but in the long one it will do wonders. Studios will be forced to charge the theatres less for the film, theatres will inturn be forced to charge the movie goer less money. So what if budgets drop on films! Is this always going to be a bad thing? All this crap about piracy threatening the future of film. Even shit films break even after the DVD release. Films can be and should be made for less. Pulp Fiction cost 8 million dollars (5 mill on actors wages). The majority of films can be made for less, which should be passed on to us the viewer!

    Must end this rant now, as work calls.

  3. Hate to tell you guys, but Politics does affect this kind of topic, and it’s okay to discuss it and not be afraid. More people should discuss Politics (in the right location and if it is relevant)!

    Chris, your point about Kung Fu Hustle and Oldboy attracting huge audiences where you are is all well and good. Oldboy didn’t get a proper cinema release where I am, KFH did, although limited, and when I went the week after release I was the only one in the cinema. The only one. I think world takings are more what the Studios are interested in.

  4. Also, maybe you need to have some studio stars. Seriously.

    Look at Jessica Biel. (She’s easy enough on the eye.) A rising star? Maybe. But maybe not. How is anyone supposed to build a career based on movies like Blade: Trinity and Stealth? And the typical career for too many actresses is: get used till the next pretty face comes along, then get forgotten. That’s no good.

    It would be better to have some talented people take/get long-term contracts with a studio.

    “Stick with us kid. You won’t like every movie we’ll put you in, and you won’t make nearly as much money as you would if you were a free agent and guessed right every time on what movies to star in, but we will make you a star and we won’t dump you as soon at the next pretty face comes along, because your longevity at the box office, and that of other people we’ve signed, will be one of our greatest assets.”

    Now that we’re well into the great movie slump of 2005, is everyone still such an optimist that they wouldn’t bother with an offer like that?

  5. Chris, I’m not saying politics should drive movies. I’m saying Hollywood could have exploited topicality and explosive, emotional events to sell a lot of movie tickets.

    There’s a difference. If you’re making a propaganda movie, the point is to get people to support the government, or oppose the government, or whatever it is you are aiming for. That’s not what I’m saying.

    In just using topicality, the focus is on your story and your characters – Casablanca is my ideal example – and you use what’s going on in the real world to hook onto those emotions and feelings, to make your movie bigger, and to make your stars bigger. You associate them with powerful stuff, you make them icons of the age.

    We know this works, because it has worked. It makes legendary movies, and it makes stars. Most importantly, it makes ticket sales.

    And “creative slump” or “lack of new ideas” (that large audiences are primed to react strongly to)? Forget all those problems! Ideas jump onto the laps of your writers. It’s not deep and subtle, it’s easy.

    It may be too late to surf of the powerful emotions of this war now, but I think it could have been done and it was a big opportunity missed.

    If you do anything like that now, it’s a risk, and you absolutely must make your movie cheap enough to make money despite that fact that people are now so divided that any movie with a hot topical hook is automatically going to turn off half the potential audience. Your costs have to be low enough that you can turn a good profit on the other half. That’s tough.

    I’m not trying to turn “the movie blog” into “the political blog”. That’s the last thing any of us movie fans would want.

    Any site or mailing list dedicated to something else – history, movies, you name it – gets ruined once people start the politics going. We all know that. And I don’t want to do that, and I hope it would never be allowed.

    If anyone is uncomfortable with what I’m saying, I’ll gladly back off and/or drop it. I don’t want to spoil the great atmosphere here.

    Now, on smaller movies – I think they have to be better promoted and better timed.

    Example: Batman Begins came out and showed a lot of people that Christian Bale is a fantastic actor and of course one would want to see him in more movies, preferably soon. So then came The Machinist to surf on that, right? Wrong. The Machinist was effectively thrown away before the huge commercial for its star came out. Now there is no immediate follow-up movie to keep building Christian Bale as a star. Marketing people have to do better than that.

  6. Wow…

    Just wow…

    How exactly did this much political baggage get pulled into this. If one thinks that the average movie-goer gets up off his duff to see a movie based on it’s idiology (save for documentarys of course), then, I’d hate to say it, the world has hit a sad, sad level in it’s history.

    Listen, even a brief look at the box office grosses of movies – per screen – will show a blatant truth. People flock to good movies. Kung Fu Hustle and OldBoy were shown in a very small amount of theaters in the US, and low-and-behold, per screen they both out did any other Hollywood offering that week, that month, hell even that year. Want further proof, look one entry down on the main page, March of the Penquins is doing smashingly, without being released in the major suburban markets. People want movies that are well made, interesting and new. Whether or not it is challanging seems to be a moot point, as most folks will sit thru a challanging film and not know that they have been challanged at all. If Hollywood wants to make money, and I’m pretty sure they do, here’s the secret:

    Stop puting The Dukes of Hazzard in EVERY screen in EVERY ciniplex in EVERY town! Seriously a ciniplex(multiplex, googleplex) has multiple screens for a reason: to show multiple movies. Hollywood needs to show some faith in some lower budget/artistic/forign/non-Disney films and actualy get them to the people. It’s as the film said, “If you build it they will come” well in this case it’s “If you show it, they will pay”

    That and stop putting women named Jessica in movies, they only ruin it for everyone else…

  7. It’s ridiculous that the James Bond 007 movie franchise seems to be out of ideas and out of steam, partly because they never came up with a good, durable villain organisation to replace SPECTER or a worthy successor to Ernst Blofeld.

    Meanwhile, out in the real world, we have just such a durable international terror organisation, with a leader who loves to do megalomaniac speeches as he did during the last presidential election, eager to use weapons of mass destruction, and focused on exactly the sort of plot that calls for 00 agents, not an army, to foil. The terrorists even go in for lengthy imprisonments and ghastly ends.

    It’s too perfect. (“One more day before the eve of the British election, Mister Bond – and your live – at first – appearance on national television as the “head” attraction, heh heh heh. Allahu Akbar!”) These guys live up to every cliche of disgusting villain-hood, as well as creating new evil cliches of their own.

    Yet Hollywood refuses simply to cash in. Surely greed ought to have trumped timidity? Yet is hasn’t.

    On Alexander:- Colin Farrell in a blonde wig is an exception to my statement that actors are not the problem. He should not have been asked to carry such a big film, he simply wasn’t up to it. Also, Alexander had a much sourer “lemon” than gayness: the theme (which is given persistent, heavy-handed emphasis in the film, but which everyone prefers to forget or pass over in silence) that Alexander the Great was driven by an extremely literal Oedipus complex, with a passionate desire to **** his mother – to the point that he could only function with Roxanne (Roasario Dawson – surely enough woman for any man!) by imagining her as his mother, and a murderous and delusional desire to kill his father – with literal murder and an on-screen delusion. I don’t blame audiences for deciding that wasn’t a character to take to their hearts. At some point, the film-maker should stifle his own lunacy and realise that inventing stuff like that will not be good news at the box office.

    What happened to Alexander is not the problem. What is happening to Stealth, a movie that should never have been made, is not the problem. The problem is when you make good movies and the audience doesn’t come. I’m still not seeing better explanations for this than competition form new technology, irrelevance, and alienated audiences that see movies as weightless amusements and therefore fail to reward good, serious films.

  8. Personally, I just don’t go to the movies as much as I used to because i’m not interested in much Hollywood puts out these days. I mean, I don’t want to see sequels or remakes. I don’t want to see films rooted in reality because I have enough of that in my life.

    However, when I film like Lord of the Rings, Batman Begins, or Spiderman gets released, then I will make my way to my favorite theater to see it. Films like these seem like a lot of fun too me and take me out of “real” life for a while. These films are well written, acted, and directed.

    For movies like White Noise, Boogeyman, Dukes of Hazzard; I have absolutely no interest in these films. I’ve already read on the Internet from various “good” sources that these movies suck and on top of that, one of them is a remake.

    For movies like Cinderella Man, I will patiently wait for the DVD release. I know it’s a good film, but it’s just not something I need to see on the big screen.

    I like some of you, don’t even rent a lot of stuff coming out of Hollywood because a lot of these movies are just bad. I mean, Alien VS. Predator was just awful! I go for Independent films since movies coming from other countries have a lot more interesting stories to tell.

  9. There are two statements in your argument that I take issue with.

    The Passion of the Christ WAS the pro-lifers Passion of the Christ. They believe in Jesus, his life, and what he stood for. I’m sure The Island has some serious relevance to the issue of conception for these folks, but setting it in an obscure science fiction setting for them won’t result in a big box office draw.

    Secondly – the Islamic terrorists are not the most villanous antagonists Liberals could hope for. Liberals, at the core of their beliefs, hold that there are no unalterable truths and that people who DO believe in unalterable truths are the ones who cause conflict in the world – and are therefore destructive (evil) individuals. In their minds conservative Christians are just as bad as Osama Bin Laden, or Hitler, or anybody who holds their own truths to be absolute and live by them.

    I think it’s important to distinguish between Old School Liberals and Baby Boomer Liberals too. Because if you do look at films prior to the 1960’s there are plenty of them that deal with subjects that only conservative film makers would touch nowadays.

    A liberal film maker nowadays would never make Ben Hur. They’d make Oliver Stone’s version of Alexander or Ridley Scott’s version of Kingdom of Heaven – where it’s either more about being gay, or about how stupid the human conflict that results from religion is.

    Personally these films pale in comparison to Ben Hur precisely because they preach a morally relativistic view point. You gotta stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything. A lot of conservative ideology is still very relevent and compelling in this day and age, and if represented correctly, makes for some outstanding films.

  10. By the way, I don’t blame the current generation of actors at all. We have lots of brilliant actors, like Christian Bale – and some decent-acting, hard-working babes like Jessica Alba, who can pull an audience in and contribute in a minor but positive way to an overall decent quality movie. That’s good enough.

    If you want to have the legendary status that Humphrey Bogart sustained, you should have a movie like Casablanca on your resume. Hollywood has refused for years to make our Casablanca, or any of the movies that should have built fine actors into great stars, and it may be too late now.

    It’s incredible how soon after Pearl Harbour Hollwood started making good pro-war pictures – and how long the gap is now, even though 9/11 was even more egregious than Pearl Harbour. By previous standards of seizing the day, we’ve already missed it.

  11. Don Wilson: “I disagree (to a point) with Flash Gordon. Part of the reason that Hollywood is suffering is because they ignore a lot of strong conservative ideology.”

    I used to think the same, but recent movie results are making me question that. Batman Begins was a very high quality movie with solid conservative values. It made about half to two thirds what might reasonably have been hoped for. The Island should have been The Passion Of The Christ for pro-lifers – and I say that as a passionate pro-lifer. You can put down the first week’s disaster to incredibly bad marketing, including the failure to define a proper identity for the movie, but there was no recovery, no rallying to the flag, even in the second week. The American audience this movie should have found seemed not to be there, any more than the audience that Cinderella Man was supposed to find was there.

    There is a gorilla in the room that we haven’t mentioned: that is, we are four years into a war on the most conspicuously villainous villains Hollywood could wish for. (How could anything be more clearly evil than the Beslan school massacre? Or more spectacular than the 9/11 attacks – unless it’s the even worse attacks the evil mastermind Osama bin Laden wants to bring off, and that movie heroes should be foiling?) Yet Hollywood has not gone to war. Not even a minority of Hollywood went to war, giving conservatives an option to spend money on patriotic pro-war flicks.

    This is a huge missed opportunity, and I think in consequence movies are seen as much less relevant, more as fluff – and not even well-loved fluff. So instead of some guy feeling worried about the war and going to see, say (made-up movie) Thunder Run, staring Tom Cruise as the liberator of Baghdad, he’ll look for emotional support elsewhere, and if he goes to a movie at all it will be with an attitude: “Just amuse me, punk. Or else.”

    Movies like Mr. And Mrs. Smith and Fantastic Four are less at risk in a situation like this. “Jeez, relax, it’s just a comic book.”

    Serious good movies are at a greater risk. Selling “reality,” “relevance” and “high quality” to people who think you’re deliberately ignoring the burning issue is tough.

    That’s not easy to put right at this late stage. The risk factor for patriotic war movies now is much higher than it would have been earlier “in hot blood” when an audience would have been more or less guaranteed.

    So if I was advising a studio, I wouldn’t say: “make conservative and patriotic movies, that’s sure success.” No it isn’t. Not after years of frustration has soured your potential audience. And maybe not anyway.

  12. Don,

    I agree that we need less mealy-mouth wimp liberals. I hate that Bill Hicks is no longer among the living. He would make Michael Moore look like a ball-less pansy. But Bill Maher and David Cross have taken the torch in that regard, though.

    As far as stereotypes, the president himself came out for intelligent design, and Fox News did primarily run coverage on Kerry based on the “he’s a prissy French fag who’s scared of the big bad terrorists” angle. So, I don’t think I’m attributing anything unfair. Except for calling them stupid, which is a judgement call, and I’ll make that every day of the week. America is a dumb-ass battered wife right now who keeps running back to her cruel, deceptive husband – the GOP. I’m not a politician worrying about swing voters, so I can only speak my mind.

    As far as blaming the audience, I think you’re correct – but now how you’re saying it. The problem is not really in the after the fact blaming, but in the before production PANDERING. The studios come up with some insultingly dumb idea, and then say the audience wants it. If you feed people crap, they’ll develop a taste for crap (see reality TV). My point is people have been fed this crap by Hollywood for so long, they start to think that it’s good entertainment. A starving man will eat anything.

    We have to lead in this regard, though. Just as it is a cowardly politician who leads only from the polls, it is a soulless filmmaker who creates based only on a focus group. It is our job as filmmakers to make 1)make good art, 2) make it entertaining, and 3)make sure it is marketed well. We may have to fight like hell for #3, but this is our livelihood and our dream. Isn’t it worth the struggle? End Rant.

    Thanks for the intelligent reply BTW, Don.

  13. jose I also think that some of your sterotypes of conservative ideology reflect a fundamental misunderstanding many liberals have of just exactly what conservative ideology is.

    Daisy didn’t look so submissive when she knocked that guy on his a$$ in the bar scene. There’s a difference between being sexy and being a wimp.

  14. josephleon

    That “Elitism” is part of the reason “Blue America” and the major media (Broadcast, Print Media, and Hollywood) they control are in decline. When the media starts blaming the audience for not buying it’s products they drive the audience away.

    It’s like telling a pretty girl you want to date that if she doesn’t want to date you that she’s stupid. If you think she’s stupid why are you trying to date her in the first place?

    Here’s where I think the liberal media establishment could do better – stop pretending to be “Moderate” and start being more like Michael Moore. Do most Americans agree with Michael Moore? No. But they sure find him a helluva lot more interesting than they do the “Moderate” film makers that hide their true feelings in an attempt to play to the middle and please everyone.

    I think a lot of liberal artists are afraid to express their true feelings because they will get “Blacklisted” – which is of course rediculous. It was rediculous 30 years ago, and it’s even more rediculous still with the development of the internet and all the other new media available.

    Now, they may drive Red America away and take a hit to their wallet – but at least they will be putting forth an honest effort and making a genuine attempt at moving the artistic dialouge forward.

  15. First off,

    Let me sit for a while so my head can stop spinning. We’re talking about the decline of quality movies, and people nostalgically bring up Short Circuit and Killer Klowns from Outer Space? I’m glad you guys aren’t doing the greenlighting. (Remember No. 5? Now that was a hero! Go back and rewrite your movie accordingly!)*

    But seriously, we may be too far gone. Like I said during last year’s election – when I heard people said they voted against Kerry b/c he looked too ‘French’ – the problem is the populace. Years of the mass media rotting our collective brains has tainted our gene pools irreparably. It doesn’t matter how good your candidate or movie or band is if the people who are supposed to buy it are too fucking stupid to realize it, and then give all their money to Dukes of Fucking Hazzard or My Chemical Romance or whatever. These are the same people pushing for Intelligent Design, so don’t be suprised if Jessica Simpson is their ideal representation of womenhood. Submission and all that.

    I know this is just my “blue-state elitism” (despite being from N.C.), but there’s only so much I can take. Dukes of Hazzard? Let’s have some fucking standards, people!

    *I kid, but I will watch both of these in their entirety if they come on TV.

  16. There’s also another article on Hollywood Reporter concerning “Cinema attendance up in Central, Eastern Europe” (available only to subscribers); they can be used to make a comparison between the USA situation and what’s happening in the rest of the world.

  17. I just came across an interesting article from Hollywood Reporter about the Asian Box Office slump

    (pointed by http://www.asianmovienews.com):

    “Looks like it√¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s happening everywhere √¢‚Ǩ‚Äù 2005 has been a miserable year for moviemakers, but considering the poor quality of the products, what did they expect?

    The Hollywood Reporter has a lengthy article about the current Asian box office slump, and goes from country to country examining the hits, misses, and in-betweeners.

    Everyone√¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s salvation? Apparently Peter Jackson√¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s upcoming √¢‚Ǩ≈ìKing Kong√¢‚Ǩ¬ù, which will either save the box office for the entire world, or doom 2005.”

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr/film/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001011500

  18. Wow! What a response, this has some superb debate and some amazing ideas, keep them coming.

    Just to try and capture everything that’s been said, and throw in a few of my own points, here’s a running list of what’s been identified as the causes so far.

    Rise of the Independent

    Rise of the Foreign industries and more access directly to them

    Rise of the DVD marketplace, helping access to foreign industries too

    Increase of the Home Cinema

    Increase in Satellite availability, channels and movie broadcasting

    Games are becoming more like movies

    Lack of new ideas in Hollywood

    Hollywood clinging to old ideals

    Audience clinging to old Hollywood and movies

    Reign of creatives has radically been reduced

    Far too much focus on cash from businessmen in charge of studios

    Too much emphasis on perfecting movie for maximum audience satisfaction – hitting the right buttons

    Too focused on repeating proven stories – repeats, sequels, remakes

    Calibre of actors has fallen

    Too much reliance on CGI

    Movie budgets too high

    Actors too expensive

    Hollywood not moving with the times

    Much higher standard of TV – Shield, Without a Trace, CSI, Lost, 24, Desperate Housewives

    What do you think? Agree so far? Anything that we should talk about more, like the influence of TV shows on movies, the cost of actors, reliance on CGI?

    Do you think if Hollywood continues to go forward as it is we’ll see a huge rise in the Foreign and Independent markets, would we even start to see Hollywood filmmakers moving to these markets rather than the other way round as we see it now? Would that be a good thing?

    As well as keeping going on the causes, what about addressing them? If you were part of a Studio in Hollywood and could make some changes, what would you do? How would you change it round?

    Keep this discussion going, it’s a really interesting one.

  19. I disagree (to a point) with Flash Gordon. Part of the reason that Hollywood is suffering is because they ignore a lot of strong conservative ideoology. That’s also part of the reason a lot of the other areas of the “Old Media” are suffering – they shut out conservatives or, at best, treat them condescendingly.

    I won’t argue that some great traditional liberal classics (Foundation, Star Trek) have been weakened because studios want to play to “The Middle”, but you can’t argue that The Passion of the Christ was just a fluke. The social upheavals of 40 years ago went a long way in proving a lot of traditional conservative ideology wrong – but Liberalism didn’t prove all of conservative ideology wrong, and many of the weaknesses of Liberal ideology have become apparant over the past several decades. A lot of traditional conservative ideology still stands the test of time and translates very well to film.

    This is where film makers like Mel Gibson step in to fill the vacuum created by a traditionally liberal film making industry – and make a killing financially while doing it.

    Honestly it’s probably also why Dukes of Hazzard is doing so well. Liberals probably look at this movie and think it base, or immature, or dim-witted, while “Red America”, who is a little more down to earth, just thinks it’s funny.

  20. I think Hollywood needs to make cheaper movies. Though that means many great ideas for a movie won’t be able to go ahead, the risk of a 2005 style mega-bomb, like Stealth or The Island, is too great for investors to accept for anything like a near-certainty like Spiderman III.

  21. I think it’s a problem with the audience first and a creative problem also but second.

    People have to turn out for good movies or they won’t be made. There’s no point in investing in movies like Cinderella Man if they’re going to lose money.

    You can’t say superior quality is winning out in the marketplace. Whether you love The Island or merely think it is a decent action flick:- is Scarlett Johansson a better actress, or is Jessica Simpson? Is The Island a better movie or is The Dukes Of Hazzard? Yet The Dukes Of Hazzard has done handsomely.

    At this point, if Michael Bay has to choose between making a new Armageddon and getting Armageddon ticket sales or making another at least fairly intelligent film and getting a bomb like The Island, he’s going to have to choose stupidity. The way the audience is going leaves him no choice.

    How can you ask people for riskier movie-making when the risk factor on making at least a fairly intelligent film as opposed to a deeply stupid one can mean selling the company? What good does it do to bitch that there are too many safe, dull ideas like spinoffs of old television shows when the exception gets smashed?

    I think quick release of DVDs is part of the problem, because I’ve lobbied people to go see The Island, and the usual answer (after “no” or “no time”) was that people see their movies on DVD, any number of times for free. They only go to the movies on impulse, and then it’s usually for a marketing gimmick for a bad movie. If people look to their DVD collections for quality and don’t select for quality – or if they effectively select against quality – at the theatre, that’s bad.

  22. Consider ‘Contact!’ That book became one of the all time classic sci-fi books ever, but they screwed it up! Why? Because they feared having a real director in there; they wanted ‘their’ directors in there.

    Consider ‘Foundation!’, or any of the Asimov stories! They just have kiss ass to all the smart-mouthed conservatives. They twist those movies well out of what makes those Sci-Fi authors groundbreaking. Star Trek has gone from groundbreaking social science in a space setting to conservative asskissing.

    What made 2001 so great? Because the real creative genius was allowed to put his stamp on the film. Get some of these real writers in on the films and let them do the film no the director or the actors, and we’ll see some real sci-fi; there’s plenty of good sci-fi authors these days such as the author of ‘The Daimond Age.’

  23. A few reasons why movies suck today.

    1) 22 Year old assistants are given the power to pass on screenplays, while they haven’t a clue of what they are reading..Especially if it happened before 1980 and would need actors “of age”.

    2) The studios only want films that attract “younger audiences”. One exec told me “we’d have to get some young hip-hop star to cover the Frank Sinatra songs to make the trailer more appealing to the young audience.” Huh?

    3) The so called “actors” of today are horrible. We have no more leading men or women and the actors that ARE great are shunned and have no parts because the studio heads want “younger” actors.

    4) Assistants, readers, execs, and studio heads are all paid to say “NO”. If they say “yes” and it fails, then they could lose their job, a rung on the ladder, or be bounced out of they’re post-exec production deal.

    5) The studios are no longer run by creative people. The people may be the same, but they have changed and now kneel down before the corporate heads…..in order to save their stock options…..and make what they are told to.

    Wanna make good films?….Somehow the studios and corporate chiefs have to realize that 70% of the income in this country is controlled by people 45 and older…Perhaps making a film for them, marketed to them, without giving away the film in the trailer and maybe, just maybe…they will come.

  24. To echo what many have mentioned, money is the primary concern of nearly everyone involved in a film. The studio makes its cash, commerical succes means more exposure for directors and stars. The problem is that the need for sucess breeds complacency. The general pattern I see is this: Some film, call it x, takes a risk and does well. This opens the gates to lots of clones. X provides a safe formula, its proven people will go and see films like x so studios will make lots of films like x. The problem is that the formula gets tired. The films are more poorly made and rely on big names or the momentum of these kind of films. Then one day, plop, the momentum is gone and these kind of films start doing poorly. Cinderalla man might be a good example of this. I think the epic historical drama is headed this way as well. Gladiator was ok, Troy not very good, Alexander and The Crusade movie stunk. These movies have become hollow spectacals of star power and cgi.

    Personally I think the most important aspect of filmaking is finding compelling stories (by this I mean either the content of the story or or even its structure- the way its told) by either looking for new ideas or looking at old ones from new angles. Its this aspect that I think is overlooked in the cloning process, and why ultimately the public interest wanes. Or at least why my interest wanes…

    davej

  25. It’s because they wont let me in to make my movies. It’s because they lack heart. There is no passion when you don’t care. There is no caring when all they think about it themselves and the numbers.

  26. Don Wilson is right. People go on about how Hollywood lacks creativity and only appeals to the lowest common denominator nowadays, but really, are the current crop of movies any worse than past years? There are some good movies and there are a lot of bad movies. Nothing new there. Think back to the crap that came out in the 80’s man… I can’t even believe anyone went to the theatres back then.

    I think we’re just seeing a cultural shift in how people consume entertainment. For one thing, movies have a lot more to compete with. Video games, cable TV, and the internet for example. People have way more choice now, and the way in which people watch movies is changing. As mentioned above, home theatres, DVDs, and video on demand are huge. You can’t just measure Hollywood success by the box office alone.

    Maybe it’s time Hollywood started doing what the video game industry does… the same day a movie is released in theatres, also put it out for rental and purchase on DVD. Now that would be interesting.

  27. There is a creative problem in Hollywood. I think a lot of studios today play too much of the mix and match game. There are too many writers for a story, that has had too many clichés thrown at it, and can’t be pulled together even by a fine cast. I cannot speak to the number of movies I’d have enjoyed so much more if a single voice could be followed from beginning to end. The number of writing credits at the end of the movie has gotten to be astronomical. It takes miracles to bring together something that was created in such a scattershot manner. If the studios would allow writers to actually develop their stories – or at least have fewer than six different people working on a story – they would get a better product.

    As for movie theatre revenue, in all honesty, for me to go to a theatre and spend half a tank of gas to see a matinee it has to be either something I really want to see or something big in my real life I√¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢m trying to escape from. Add to that there is very little offered that fits the area between movies like The “Dukes of Hazzard” and “Saving Private Ryan”. The first I have no desire to see, and the second I cannot see on a whim because it will put me into an unappealing head space.

  28. From an IMDB comment to the movie Kontroll: “It was brilliant art, which alas, is not what I’m in the mood for when I go see a movie after hitting the law books for 11 hours on a Saturday.” So yes, Jose and John N are right, the audience has at least part of the blame.

  29. I agree with Jose. It’s not just the studios that are creatively dead and lazy. The audiences are also to blame for flocking to the crap churned out. There’s no reason for a movie like DUKES OF HAZZARD to be attracting the moviegoers it does, except that mainstream audiences generally don’ty like being challenged by a movie. They proudly say that after a hard week of work, they want to turn their brains off and just be entertained. They don’t want to think. Making movies is a business and studios want to cater to the lowest common denominator. They both make movies suck today.

  30. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about… part of the problem is that Hollywood is so monolithic and monopolistic that it’s become inflexible and will, in fact, miss genuine talent of the more home-grown variety. Some of which competes with it on a serious artistic level.

    Take this – I will agree that the best lightsaber fight ever was the one in Episode I between Maul & Obi-Wan/Qui-Gon

    But what’s the next best?

    I’ll give you a hint – it’s not in any of Lucas’ movies. If you’ve ever seen Calvin and Cary Ho’s “Art of the Saber” you know exactly what I’m talkiing about. Here are two average joes in their backyard with a couple of toy lightsabers who, in my opinion, put every other lightsaber fight Lucas has done to shame.

    Here’s a link to it…

    http://www.se7ensamurai.com/images/miscelleneous/aos01.mov

  31. Many of the great mavericks from the last Golden Era of Hollywood (Scorsese, Coppola, Del Palma et al)have got tired fighting the system. The studios that previously gave them the free reign have all but died, and it became harder and harder for them to make films that they wanted to make. Films like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Apocolypse Now, did not make great money in the theatres, but were critically acclaimed and are now considered modern classics. In this day and age, the studios don’t want modern classics, they want films that make lots and lots of money that they can turn into a trilogy (and more in some cases) that they can make toys and games for. Directors are forced to make the films studios want them to make, or make nothing at all. Scorsese is one of the best filmakers of all time. Yet since he has been given 100-million dollar budgets, his films, although visually stunning, have lost that heart and soul and vibrancy. Money has helped Hollywood in many ways. The advances in CGI and computer technology, scenery and custome making have help forward film to that next level. However, money, especially the motivation to earn lots more, is also slowly killing Hollywood. I thought the likes of the Coens, Tarrantino, Rodriguez etc would be the saviours of Hollywood and bring about a whole revolution in film making, inspiring new young talented film makers to make films with soul, films with energy, film that polarises opinion(great films are often disliked by nearly as many people that like them)just like the greats used to.

  32. The media is changing. Hollywood is losing influence for the same reason Broadcast television, and major print media is…

    DVDs, Cable TV, Satellite, the Internet….

    The age of massive monolithic media is fading away.

    CHOICES CHOICES CHOICES!! WHOOPEE!!!

  33. It’s a two way street. If audiences keep going to lame movies like The Dukes of Hazzard, Hollywood will keep making movies just like it. It’s junk food for the brain.

  34. Killer Klowns from Outer Space, a cheesy 80’s horror/comedy. I love that movie, it’s cheesy but fun. The film had a low low budget, but the Chiodo brothers pulled everything they knew and had to make a decent film. The other factor they had was time, they were given only 2 weeks to pull off the filming the whole movie! Now when you look a those factors, Killer Klowns could have been the best movie out of the 80’s, but they didn’t have the time or the money to make a super great film, so they poured their hearts into it and made the best movie they ever made! Now to think if they did have the time and money, HOLY CRAP!

    Son of the Mask is the perfect example of a horrible Hollywood picture just trying to make a buck. They had the money to do whatever they wanted to whatever extremes, and they had the time,but the creators of Son of the Mask just spent no time on a story and burned the comic book to ashes and took a piss on it.

    Everyone here on this page knows what they are talking about, we should all come together and make a great movie and take on Hollywood, lol.

  35. Making a film, even the little student films I made in school, is a nerve-wracking experience. After 15-18 hours editing I’d completely lose perspective. Then I’d come back and do it again the next day. If you don’t have an extremely clear idea about what you want the finished film to be you’re screwed. It’s even harder than that in Hollywood, though, because they take the director (who’s probably about ready to lose his mind anyway) and they show him page after page of comments from test audiences and focus groups. Now, I’m not saying that market research is bad. “Uh, I’d rather not know what the audience wants.” What I am saying is that when you take someone who may not even be sure what the film is about anymore and you tell that person that a lot of paying customers are going to think he’s an idiot if he releases the film the way it is…well, then you get a bunch of reshoots and fifth screenwriters and movies that leave audiences scratching their heads.

    Personally, I think fast and dirty is better at some level. IMO, we need companies like New World or Concorde or American International again. Places that will greenlight cheap movies and give the director a whole 10 or 12 days to shoot and as much as a month for post. The results may not always be Citizen Kane, but for a million dollars or so I’ll bet we’d get some interesting nights at the movies more often than we do now. This generation doesn’t really have its Russ Meyer or Roger Corman or Ed Wood.

    Eh, I’m done rambling. Take it for what it’s worth. ;-)

    -Rob

  36. Hollywood is in a big creative hole. They are too interested in money, they are afraid to take any risks and try something new, they use only proven formulas, they use mostly uncreative and unimaginative people, they don’t care enough anymore about the story etc etc. Even Cinderella Man, it’s the 2548th movie about a boxer. I’m sure it’s probably a good film, but I feel no need to go and see it right now. I’ll just wait for it to come on HBO (DVDs are too expensive in my contry). For now, I’ve got other movies to see, which look far more original, creative and interesting. Thank god for independent films and asian cinema.

  37. Hollywood has been shitting on movie screens for years now, rarely does a gem get pressed hot out the ass of the machine. Im finding myself looking to foreign soils for good films these days. A few people I blame for this new Hollywood: Stephen Sommers, Rob Cohen, Uwe Boll and Paul W.S. Anderson, some one punch these guys. I agree that film makers have lost their passion. I think my 16 year old handy capped half cousin could write better shit then the stuff I see these days, sure, sure we do get the gem from time to time but the majority of this shit is just that shit. I’ve gotten burned many times shelling out ten bucks for a two hour waste of my life film. It seems film makers just want the safe and easy project, no one wants to take risks. Every film maker seems to be in a circle ass sniff, if the man in front of you shits a successful sequel/remake/gay road comedy then everyone else in the circle shits a similar yet slightly differing clone. When stupid people all go to see the new eye candy rib tickler feel good summer movie in herds like the paparazzi to the corpse of princess Di the study translates the huge box office take as a “good” movie when in reality 2 3rds of the people most likely think the movie was a steaming pile of bat shit. Lots of money doesn’t make a good movie! The problem with Hollywood is unoriginal and film makers with their heads up there asses. Please im tired of seeing the same movie a good damn hundred times! Lets take risks and try to make some original and entertaining materiel and god enough with the remakes/prequel and sequels. And one more thing… enough with the cross entertainment entertainers… you are a singer, actor or sports star not all of them! God damn it just because your a good boxers doesn’t mean you are a good singer. I can’t think of one cross entertainment entertainer I would shed a tear for if I heard their plane crashed into the side of a mountain.

  38. They also fail to see a generation of movie goers that were born in the late 80’s and earned the influence of everything from the 60’s up through the 90’s. And film makers as well as televsion networks think kids won’t understand a movie won’t get past references. What 17 year olds want to see is Rocko’s Modern Life back on tv, they want to see a Men in Black sequel that has some hold. We miss the creative movies like the Fith Element, and Cable Guy. And Cable Guy too bombed at the box office but was unbelivable with sales when it came out on VHS. That was several years ago, so if that tells us anything is that Holloywood began digging them selves a hole when they got cocky and said lets just flow with the flux of the 90’s, and it didn’t work.

    We are all now bombarded with horrible remakes and crappy new movies with no story or laughable performance when its not appropriate *cough* White Noise *cough* mmm, sry, throat hurts. When me and my friends went to see that work of crap, everyone in the theatre was laughing including us when the lady tried killing herself.

    Crazy right, movie makers just fail to deliver what is proper and what people want to see, this whole rant excludes Sam Raimi and Chris Nolan for their excellent jobs in film making, mostly Batman Begins and Spider-Man, movies that will bring a balance to the amount of people going to the movies, but it won’t solve the problem as we need new things never seen before as I explained above.

    I mean what happened to Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, Short Circuit, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, which were just the few of many extraordinary movies from the not so long ago, or has it been a long time? What people need right now is great televsion and great movies, which are starting to disepear over a hill known as Holloywood’s creative slump; DAMN reality tv, and DAMN hack films.

  39. DVD, I sometimes say i’m not giving this movie a chance and i’ll catch it on DVD. People love DVD’s, just like they used to love VHS. A movie can bomb at the box office but do great in sales when it is released on VHS, but nowadays its DVD’s. The better quality, better sound, and the features and packaging in general pulls people towards not going to the theatre. Something needs to be innovated that will pull people back into the movie theatre.

    When I was a kid our family would go because of the comfy seating and big sceen, fun food, and air condiitoning during the hot summer. Nowaday’s everyone has these things in the comfort of their own home, and just don’t feel like going out to see a movie when they can do it at home.

    Has anyone heard of them scent players, every half hour the scent will change. Well people have been working on a way to put that in a movie theatre and play it according to the play of the movie, like sound to the film playing on an old film projector, roll the tape and start the smells at the same time. This could make for some new and fun movies, and would pull people back int the theatre because it’s something we won’t have in our homes for around 10 maybe 15 years. The logic is anything can be put onto a computer chip and be used. We know this to be true with clor, sound, and basic data.

    Hollywood is just lazy now and filmmakers just don’t know how to deliver a good story and fail to bring people in at the box office. To get out of this creative slump they just need to find fun things to do for movies at the theatre that people cannot have at home. Just like arcade games back in the day, and then atari came out and 10 years later barley anyone plays arcade machines because they see no reason to pump out quaters for a game they can play at home.

    If I have to i’ll make movies and innovate the things that long to be innovated (which I plan to do no matter what), Hollywood didn’t hit a bump, they fell into a hole, and people don’t want to fall into a big scary hole, not even if they are diehard movie fans.

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