Sunday, June 16, 2013

Steven Spielberg Warning of a Hollywood Implosion

At last someone who see things clearly. And it's not coming from anyone as it is Steven Spielberg himself who said this week what you will read below, speaking at the University of Southern California Film School. 

So, what did Steven said? Well, first he revealed that his latest film - Lincoln - barely made it into distribution. Seriously? Seriously. But it's the great Steven Spielberg, you say, how is it possible that he can't find a distributor for any of his movies? well, that's all the point, even is you are Steven Spielberg - or Martin Scorcese or many others great directors - it's no longer enough to be sure that your movie will be distributed. Even Georges Lucas said recently that his World War II blockbuster Red Tails had an hard time getting into theatres and wasn’t able to get a international release: “The pathway to get into theaters is really getting smaller and smaller” Lucas explained. That's how bad the situation is now, folks. The problem, Spielberg added, is that studios aren’t taking any chances on ‘fringe’ subjects and scripts, preferring established franchises and superhero schlock directed by wannabes.

Is this the end of intelligent mainstream cinema?
"I really think so. The future for any talented filmmaker is the internet and television. That’s where the creativity is going to be, where new talent breaks first. You’re not going to see a debut feature however Oscar worthy at the cinema until it is a proven mega hit franchise with millions of YouTube views"

Spielberg added: “That’s the big danger, and there’s eventually going to be an implosion — or a big meltdown. There’s going to be an implosion where three or four or maybe even a half-dozen mega-budget movies are going to go crashing into the ground, and that’s going to change the paradigm”

Where is the problem and why Studios are not interested by mainstream movies, i.e real good movies as it was still existing not too long ago. Simply because Studios 
( and not only Disney ) are not really interested by movies, they're interested by the money they will make with them, and of course the power it will bring. That's a major difference with what Hollywood studios were at the Golden Era when people at Metro Goldwyn mayer or Warner really loved movies, and not only money. And i mean good movies. Do you think that someone could find now the money to do a Lawrence of Arabia? Or even Citizen Kane? No way, except, as Spielberg said in some TV channels like HBO. 

And in the meantime we won't escape to several super-heroes sequels, etc... Don't get me wrong, i have nothing against franchise movies. The last Star Trek for instance was excellent thanks to a good script, a brilliant filming and excellent actors well directed, but Iron Man 3 although it was entertaining won't last long in your memory, simply because it was not a great movie, not a piece of art. Unfortunately Iron Man 3 box office has reached now 1.2 Billion which is great for Disney as they might use some of the money for more interesting things, i.e for instance in theme parks. But it also mean that they probably think they've found the recipe to make gold and will use it again and again in the same kind of movies. This would not be a problem if they were using the money also to produce movies which will be food for your mind but i doubt that it will be the case... and that's where the problem lies. 

The irony in all that is that people like Spielberg and Lucas are also the ones who introduced 30 years ago the notion of blockbuster movies at Hollywood. So, i suppose that what is happening now is what is called the karma boomerang... Anyway, will the money-men finally kill mainstream movies, the great cinema? Possible, but not sure. Although i don't really trust the executives to be more intelligent than greedy, 
i have more confidence in the audience and i wouldn't be surprised if some day people begin to be fed up of these deluxe B-movies - because that's what they are, after all - and start to ask for movies which will be also pure work of art. As they say in India, the wheel is always turning...


Jones said...

A movie directed by Spielberg about an American "Superhero" (Lincoln) has trouble finding a distributor, because it´s considered a "fringe" project... I hereby declare that, from this day forward, I shall not waste any more money on "tentpole" movies...

Marco Antonio Garcia said...

The big studios will make what the public want to see.

There are still occasionally excellent and intelligent mainstream movies like Midnight in Paris, and there are also many very good independent movies if you look for them.

Besides, I don't think that super hero movies are schlock, nowadays there are excellent super hero movies and, if they make a lot of money, why not? No one is forced to watch them if they don't want to.

Now I'm really hoping that Saving Mr. Banks will be a great movie. It's from Disney, it's not a franchise, it won't generate a lot of merchandise sales, it's not a super hero movie and I don't think that it has a huge budget. Even though I don't like Mary Poppins I have very high hopes for that movie!

Marco Antonio Garcia said...

I also don't think that Red Tails is an excellent movie or that it's better than Iron Man 3 to be honest.