The cinema industry is going to slowly collapse under the weight of stupid concepts, remakes and sequels.
During a panel at USC, film industry titans Stephen Spielberg and George Lucas predicted that the growing budgets of films would affect the moviegoing experience, as studios have to make more and more money in order to break even, resulting in a price hike for tickets.
A slew of garbage movies have come out during the past few years. This is nothing unusual, but as the films’ budgets bloat more and more it is likely that the button on the pants will pop and all the flab will come pouring out.
Last spring, acclaimed director Steven Soderbergh came out against the film industry while speaking at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Soderbergh, the director of “Magic Mike” and the “Ocean’s Eleven” trilogy, disparaged the movie industry for its desire to make simple movies that do not push or promote creative progression.
For the most part, I agree with Soderbergh. The film industry is putting up the big bucks to pump out safe films, because it’s necessary. When a studio gives $250 million to a project, it’s forced to water down that project to make the investment more conservative. It makes sense, but this should be more about the art than the business.
Not all big-budget movies are bad. The recently released “Gravity” is living proof of this: original, technical, successful and good. Additionally, every year, the same few directors take their shot at the Oscars with studio-funded movies.
But how often do movies like “Gravity” come around? And why should the same directors be getting the money for shots at the title? It seems that the market is flooded with more Kevin James or Michael Bay discharge than it is with films like “Gravity” and “Pacific Rim.”
The current state of the film industry is a disaster, but there is a silver lining to be found somewhere in the muck.
Digitalization of film as an art medium opens up many avenues for aspiring, independent auteurs to film, produce and distribute their work.
Naturally, nostalgia for film is at risk and resistance to this progression within the industry is strong. Quentin Tarantino, director of last year’s “Django Unchained,” says the departure from film is pushing him into retirement.
Theaters are losing film capability by replacing film projectors with digital projectors, resulting in theaters closing as the desire for movies to be shot in film is diminishing. While I think this is sad, I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.
In 1991, Francis Ford Coppola said he hoped one day that home video capability would do away with the professionalism of film, and only then would film become a true artistic medium that is not reserved for those with all of the money.
Already this year, works like “Upstream Color” by director Shane Carruth, known for the 2006 cult, hard sci-fi film “Primer,” and “Drinking Buddies” by Joe Swanberg, show that the indie filmmaker can prevail. These two are just a couple of examples of the artistic talent that is rising during this digital age of filmmaking.
The current model of the movie industry is going to be crushed under its own weight. We can only hope that the independent filmmaker will escape the impending film apocalypse.
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