The present and future of post production business and technology | Philip Hodgetts

Jul/13

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Is the $200 million “Blockbuster” movie dead?

After six blockbuster movies this summer  are looking like complete flop is it time to reconsider the type of movie “Hollywood” is making? Is a $200 million “Blockbuster” the only movie that should be produced? When even Variety says it’s time for studios to “end their Mega-budget obsession” perhaps it is time to rethink the Hollywood output.

I think when even Variety feels the need to call out an obsession with mega-budget movies and when Schindler Perspective principle and Digital Cinema Society contributor – definitely an ‘insider’ – Marty Shindler writes:

It is probable that there will be another round of decreases, or corrections, in the number of movies being made and it is further likely that there will be belt tightening as well to keep the public companies’ numbers where the Street expects/wants them to be. This could easily include reductions in studio staffing in production and distribution. – See more at: http://www.digitalcinemasociety.org/dcs-newsletter#sthash.Zocj3X9d.dpuf

… then we are about to visit a correction. Variety writes:

Steven Spielberg and George Lucas look awfully prescient with the predictions they made last month during a panel discussion at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

“There’s eventually going to be a big meltdown,” Spielberg forecast. “There’s going to be an implosion where three or four or maybe even a half-dozen of these mega-budgeted movies go crashing into the ground, and that’s going to change the paradigm again.”

That paradigm, the filmmaker explained, is that the studios prefer spending $250 million on a single movie and letting more quirky or personal films migrate to video-on-demand.

Mike Masnick sums it up:

Again, the idea is not that there should never be $200 million movies — but it’s long past the time that Hollywood focused on “how to make $200 million movies” which leads to an awful lot of formulaic stuff that the public appears to be sick of watching. Instead, it’s time to focus on how to make good profitable movies. That usually doesn’t involve following a formula, but rather finding quality content, and figuring out how to make it efficiently, not how to keep ratcheting up the budget just to fit it into some pigeonhole about what a “summer blockbuster” has to look like.

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3 comments

  • Ryan Holmes · July 29, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    Struggle remains that for all those “flops” there are just as many that broke even or crushed the box office – Fast 6, The Great Gatsby, Iron Man 3, Despicable Me 2, Monsters University, The Purge, Star Trek, Man of Steel, The Heat, The Conjuring, etc. All of them at least broke even. Most of them made significantly more than they cost.

    Given that the studios are making up for the flops with other movies I’m not sure why they would change course when they may stumble onto to the next Avengers, Titanic, or Avatar movie when making the $150+ million blockbuster. Further, it appears a litany of issues confronts Hollywood – (1) rising ticket prices at the theater, (2) more and easier ways for the consumer to consume content, (3) studios stepping on each other during the summer months to release their blockbuster, (4) studios afraid of licensing content outside of their traditional story formulas

    And some “blockbuster” movies will be released this Fall outside of the traditional summer window (i.e. Thor 2 and Hunger Games in Nov). So maybe they are already trying to make adjustments to #3 above by releasing within different times of year to maximize their audience.

    My point is I don’t see Hollywood changing course anytime soon. Especially given that any corrections now wouldn’t show up in the pipeline for another 18-24 months (unless they just flat out stop making movies…).

  • Chris Wilby · July 30, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Any studio that puts out a film like Pacific Rim deserves to suffer!

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