Welcome to the film industry! Where Christian Bale is offered $50M to play Batman. Another sequel bombed. And a few premieres failed to make money on opening weekend.
I’ve wanted to write this post for a long time, and I love movies. I really do. Watching movies is one of my favorite pastimes, and in another life I’d work as a costume designer or makeup artist. But some things just need saying.
As I scrolled through Facebook this week, I read about Bale and rolled my eyes. Hollywood is so desperate to make another Batman-type movie, they’re willing to spend 1/8 of what the movie makes domestically on one person. They are even more desperate to make good movies. So desperate they think Batman himself can save a Superman sequel that doesn’t need to be made anyway.
I’ve read numerous articles about the film industry losing money. Dozens of reports say ticket prices will soar, possibly in upwards of $50 a ticket. They blame Netflix, Amazon and Redbox for stealing audiences away from the big-screen. It’s crap. The industry has no one to blame but itself.
If Hollywood wants to save (and make) some money, there are five things it needs to do:
1) Stop making movies no one cares about. Think: Pacific Rim, The Lone Ranger, The To Do List, Jack and the Giant Slayer, John Carter, After Earth, and the list goes on and on …
Sure, someone went to these movies, but these movies bombed in the states and some worldwide. Why is that? Because the masses don’t care about any of the stories. It doesn’t matter who you put into a movie and how much CGI there is, audiences today want a good story. They want a story that entertains them, makes them bust a gut from laughing, or scares the snot out of them.
2) Stop making senseless sequels. At first, I thought this was just a trend, but as I read about 106 new movies coming out this year, I counted eight sequels – five of which didn’t need to be made – like Machete Kills and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. Will Catching Fire do well? Of course. Those movies have a huge following for good reason: they are based on a good book series. Movies like Catching Fire and The Hobbit already have an audience and fan base.
3) Stop rebooting movies that don’t need it. We needed a remake of Total Recall? Clash of the Titans? And coming soon, Romeo and Juliet, Great Expectations, and Carrie? Out of those three, guess which one will do well. Without a doubt it’s Carrie, and the original is nearly 40 years old. That fact and the popular Chloë Grace Moretz will ensure the success of the remake.
4) Reduce the number of premieres. There are 28 movies premiering in September 2013 alone. That’s almost a movie a day! No one has the time or money to see that many movies, nor do they want to. It’s insane to think Hollywood has to release that many movies to keep up with demand. I’d like to see Hollywood cut the number of premieres before jacking ticket prices up to $50. People do have jobs, families, friends, hobbies, and lives.
5) Stop spending so much money to make the movie. Sure Marvel’s The Avengers cost $220M to make, and it’s made $1.5B (that’s billion) worldwide. Anyone who hasn’t lived under a rock for the last five years knew it would do that well. However, Jack and the Giant Slayer cost $195M to make and grossed a whopping $65M domestically and $197.6M worldwide. It barely broke even. The lesson here is: if you’re going to make a movie no one will see, don’t spend a fortune producing it. Less expensive movies can do well when the audience actually cares about the story and wants to see it (eg: Paranormal Activity, Insidious, Warm Bodies, This Is The End).
I went through my EW a couple of weeks ago and made a mental list of the movies that will flop this year. It’s sad that a regular person with no film experience can draw that conclusion. And you know if I can make that list – and to tell you how confident I am, I’d bet my car on it – big-time Hollywood executives can do the same. All it takes is paying attention and having a little common sense.