Well to hear Steven Spielberg and George Lucas tell it, things are looking rather grim.
There may some merit to the message, but it should not be news to anyone.
For example, the traditional methods of delivery for entertainment is indeed changing. Everything from Netflix, to Youtube, to the growth in home theaters with Blu-ray and streaming of content can portend changes. But have we not heard these cries before? When television was the enemy and theaters like the Paramount were the true temples of entertainment. And when cable television came along and was going to be the end of it all.
I give Steven and George points for pointing out how the Emperor has no clothes. And yes, more mega-flops along the line of John Carter will indeed make it harder for the studios to shell out millions to anyone with a script. But maybe that’s a good thing. Do we really need another “Cleopatra” epic? As Wikipedia put it, “It was the highest grossing film of 1963, earning US $26 million ($57.7 million total), yet made a loss due to its cost of $44 million, making it the only film ever to be the highest grossing film of the year yet to run at a loss…”
For that matter, the summer crop being in full swing with all of it’s capes, masks and flying debris assaulting audiences willing to shell out the bucks to be amused or disappointed. Just like their parents, grand parents and great grand parents did before.
Yet, we see how studios, like Disney, are ramping up the machine to pump out content for the next decade. Be it animated, super heroes or outer space franchises, things are heading our way, whether we like it or not. Sequels too. Some about which we have to wonder, such as Disney announcing yesterday yet another toy commercial as “Planes” has not even hit theaters, let alone home video. And yes, toy fans, there will indeed be a whole line of die cast Planes.
Again, you can’t fault a business for striking while the iron is hot. Tolkien fans are getting their due with the Hobbit films. Star Trek fans got another long awaited JJ Abrams production. Harry Potter fans got theirs, Marvel comic fans see more content coming and Star Wars fans salivate at the thought of things yet to come.
So, yes, mourn the loss of film as the digital era comes into play. But we should not forget. Greed and avarice will indeed raise their heads as audiences will continue to eat up any and all content that comes their way. Disposable income will be handed over willingly, around the world. Popcorn and soft drinks will still be the profit centers they always have been. No doubt, it won’t be long before that Saturday night date at the movies ends up with a bigger cost.
Is the sky falling? Hardly. Are things changing? Indeed they are. Spielberg and Lucas? They have already made their millions. Time to let others do the same.
Just as it always has been, there are film makers who don’t make the big bucks. The people who never see the big pay days. They will continue to produce the content making using of new and exciting ways to share it with audiences. And just as the death of the studio system changed how movies were made and brought to audiences, so it is today and in the future yet to come.
Something for everybody.