Box Office Success Is Still Possible

For quite a few years now, we have been hearing about the loss of box office revenue and how Hollywood seems to be losing money hand over fist. It has been claimed that this is due directly to the internet and illegal downloading of movies. But is that really the case? Without question the illegal downloading of movies carries it’s fair share of blame in this situation. But is it not true that Hollywood also needs to look at itself to shoulder some of the blame?

If the record breaking weekend that The Avengers had and continued success it continues to have has taught us anything, it’s that people are still willing to go to the theater and despite ridiculously high ticket prices and the ability to download the movie. There may be several reasons for this. One possible reason is the 3-D aspect. Only in the theater can you see The Avengers in 3-D and people want the full IMAX 3-D affect. Another possible reason is the increasing popularity of the comic book and superhero genre. It has gotten increasingly popular every year for quite a while now and shows no signs of slowing down. The third reason for the success quite literally combines the first two in the fact of, GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT! People want their superheroes and a well made action movie that thoroughly entertains.

Where Hollywood has strayed st that they seem to have have run out of good ideas. This isn’t necessarily the case it only seems this way because the movie industry is guilty of making so many bad movies and at the same time wringing out a style and genre till there is nothing left worth making. For example The found footage style of film making goes back 13 years to The Blair Witch Project and has been severely played out. It has reached a point that if someone knows that’s the style of movie it is, they are less likely to see it, if they are tired of seeing those styles of movies.

This summer one of the projected blockbuster movies is supposedly based on a children’s game, Battleship. 25 years ago this idea wouldn’t have made to a pitch presentation.

The lack of creativity or willingness to take chances has left a bad taste in the movie goers mouth. When they get a taste of what they like spending the money is not an issue for most. The economy and high ticket prices will still keep plenty away but the right idea and story will bring others in the door in droves. The award winning movies will still have to wait to make there money on video and will continue to be released limitedly and in smaller independent theaters and that’s OK. Hollywood just needs to know that the ability to make big money is still out there as long as they stop treating fans as if they are content with the same thing or as if they are willing to watch anything. Give the people what they want and treat them right and they will always come back for more.

13 thoughts on “Box Office Success Is Still Possible”

  1. For me, it’s not that Hollywood doesn’t have any more ideas, it’s that they’re too hesitant to put those ideas into production. We all know there are a lot of fantastic writers out there. Couple that will masses of fresh talent and there’s no reason Hollywood couldn’t be luring audiences back to theatres. Maybe (hopefully) what will happen is that international film and indie-style movies will feature more prominently in American theatres as more individuals are experimenting with the medium. I also think if Hollywood invested in mega-productions like Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz, instead of souped-up sequels of sequels and films with no plot but an abundance of irrelevant special effects, audiences would be more willing to shell out for some quality entertainment.

    1. I agree. There is talent but they seem to be playing it safe and it’s costing them millions and frustrating movie goers. Do we really need all the remakes and over done styles? Enough with the vampires already lol

  2. I wish I had a gavel right now because after this post I would be banging it – case closed.

    The reason why movies suffer isn’t all the outside sources it’s content, and great story telling. People are just tired of paying so much for so little.

    1. Glad you agree! I would happily pay the higher prices for a better movie! To ask $15 for a movie like Battleship or Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter is just ludicris

  3. I have always thought this! I think lack of originality is what is killing the box office, not this online convenience stuff. My biggest beef has always been with all the remakes or reboots of classic movies. You can’t remake something that was good the first time around are re-package it so it looks “modern” or less dated. Examples being all the horror movie remakes like Halloween, Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw, and A Nightmare on Elm Street just to name a few. So steer towards the movies that weren’t good back in the 70s and 80s and maybe reshape those. But if you have to resort to doing a remake, choose to remake something no one has heard of and make sure it is different from the original so it too doesn’t fade away without notice! For example a remake of 1980’s Maniac is wrapping up and that looks to be a worthy remake. Appears to be anyway, we’ll have to see the final product.

    But I do understand that with all the movies that are in existence, originality is difficult but it would be nice to see a little effort rather than recycling well received ideas of the past. And yeah Battleship looks like a bad cross between the Transformers movies and Battle: LA (neither of which were very good).

    Awesome post btw!!!

  4. The studios don’t want to take chances on unproven products (yes, they look at their movies as a means to make money, not indulge in artistic endeavors). So they look at one of the following:

    1) Sequels to movies that proved to be money-makers
    2) Remakes of old films that people may remember fondly or at least have name recognition
    3) Adaptations of books, TV shows, games, comic books, songs, etc. that people will know, so there’s automatic brand loyalty
    4) A big actor’s vehicle that will draw an audience simply because of the actor, regardless of the subject matter or story, usually within a proven genre for that actor (oh look, another Jennifer Aniston rom-com! Another Jason Stratham action flick! Will Smith is starring in another summer science fiction blockbuster!)
    5) A big-name director’s pet project that may be original but is greenlit because the director has clout, so the studio will take a chance
    6) A major producer brings an original script to the table that falls in line with the same kind of film he’s been successful making (i.e. Scott Rudin, Jerry Bruckheimer, Brian Grazer, etc.)

    By the way, here’s a great article/video explaining the fiction the studios try to pass off when they say they lose money due to copyright infringement: http://johnaugust.com/2012/copyright-math

  5. I’ve been hearing Hollywood whining about declining box office revenue for almost thirty years now – and they seem to have a different excuse for it every time… tv, videos, video games, copying vhs tapes, downloading movies, dvr’s… so whenever I hear about the entertainment industry bleating that people don’t watch movies and/or buy music anymore, I can’t help but shrug my shoulders and say “meh.”

    I don’t see Hollywood dying yet… it’ll take the Great Quake to pull that trick off LOL

  6. We have talked about this for hours in class and this problem of hiding and playing it safe doesn’t only happen in Hollywood. The European Independants say the same things’we can’t get people to see our films any more’ but they really only have themselves to blame for it. They don’t take chances. The Dutch film industry, which in my eyes was already TERRIBLE, is now even worse. They don’t even make sequels or star driven films anymore because they can’t break even in costs. The only movies that come out are about the second world war and people are very sick of it. The industry here just doesn’t get it.

  7. What kills me about Hollywood is that the suits won’t do the simplest thing in the world that anyone, anywhere can do to find out why the business is down: simply ask the man or woman on the street what they want to see and who they want to see in it. Simple research/marketing. That’s all they have to do. Just get some people with clipboards, send them to malls, parks, bus stations, etc and take polls and surveys on what people want to see. It wouldn’t cost them too much money (especially if they got studio interns and volunteers) and you’re getting the word of God (or in this case, the movie patron) on what people want. And while it is true different people are going to want to see different things, I’m sure there would be a lot of common-ground actors and plots that people would want to see.That would be the logical/sensible thing to do.

    Hollywood, however, sinks hundreds and millions of dollars into huge big-budget pieces that flop miserably and then tries to blame the downfall of the business on pirating and Netflix when really it’s the tired and worn-out sequels, prequels, reboots and restarts that are really killing the industry. The lack of choice (only posting one non-3D showing of a film each day so everyone has to pay more for 3D that usually looks like crap anyway) is also driving people away from the movies. The thing is though, some of the people who control/dominate Hollywood are stubborn and don’t have a lot of faith in/respect for the intelligence of the average movie-goer so these movies will keep getting made and they’ll keep losing money, which is why I think they should come up with a compromise that would sort of work like this: the suits continue to make the mindless commercial popcorn movies but they spend less money to make them. And what I mean by that is they can continue to use werewolves and aliens and the other various creatures in their films, but they can use the more traditional methods to create them (prosthetic makeup, animatronics, etc) and go back to some of the more tried and true effects for spaceships and cities exploding like using models to achieve the effects. What a lot of people fail to realize is that some of the most iconic explosions and effects from the action movies of the 80s and early 90s were actually done with models.
    If Hollywood employed cheaper methods to create the popcorn flicks they’d have more money to create and promote the more intelligent Oscar fair such as movies like The Help or Crazy Heart and that way the commercial action junkies and the more reserved, cerebral viewers both get what they want.

    Personally I’d love to see Hollywood start taking more chances with smaller, more off-beat kind of stuff like the upcoming “The We and the I” or “Hyde Park on Hudson” but I don’t see that happening as long as we live in the Post-Michael Bay/Post-Avatar kind of world. That’s why I use my Instant Netflix and Netflix account to check out all the best stuff from the 50s through the early 90s : )

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