Lucas and Spielberg predict film industry "implosion".

Discussion in 'Lucasfilm Ltd. In-Depth Discussion' started by Kev Snowmane, Jun 16, 2013.

  1. Kev Snowmane Jedi Grand Master

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  2. Placeholder Force Ghost

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    That probably depends on what form the implosion takes, assuming for the moment that one is coming as the article suggests. If it went the route they discuss in that link, leading to price differentials with higher ticket prices for big budget films and lower prices for smaller budget films, I think Star Wars could survive that because of the strength of the title. People will pay to see Star Wars.

    But, it would put pressure on Star Wars to make those higher prices justified, they better be good films or they would not survive that market long, IMO
    Last edited by Captain Tom Coughlin, Jun 16, 2013
  3. Kev Snowmane Jedi Grand Master

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    That is true enough...the question is though, whether or not the film industry could sustain itself as a "Broadway" type operation, as the article implies.

    Broadway plays may run years, but that's because of the extreme scarcity of opportunities to attend any given performance. A quick check shows that the biggest live-action theaters in the US have less than 2,000 seats.

    Cost is another factor. Another quick check shows that for a "hot" show, the cost can be up to $200 a ticket for good seats (contrast that with $15 for ANY seat now). That's based on a production cost of between $2.5 million (considered a minimum figure for a Broadway play) to $75 million (a big production like Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark, the most expensive show I found in a search), with the "typical" musical running $10-15 million.

    Scale up the ticket price proportionate to the production budget.

    So much for Mom and Dad and little Johnny and Janie being able to afford to see a movie on Friday night. Oh wait...they can still get the DVD/download/whatever? Why would they EVER go see a movie then in the theater? Which again leads to loss of revenue for the film.

    The ONLY way movies can sustain those $150+ million budgets is mass attendance, which an industry implosion would pretty much make impossible.
  4. Placeholder Force Ghost

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    I think he means that it would go in that direction, but not to that extreme. Fewer big budget movies being made, but staying in theater longer and with a higher per ticket cost to the consumer. Probably not taken to the extreme as the broadway example, but in that direction.

    I don't think that would be sustainable at all, because as you rightly point out there are fundamental differences between theater and movies that make the economics different
    Last edited by Captain Tom Coughlin, Jun 16, 2013
  5. Kev Snowmane Jedi Grand Master

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    Possibly...but even moving in that direction brings the relative "economies of scale" into play. Fewer movies in fewer theaters means less revenue which won't support the budget needed for a big-screen 21st century blockbuster.
  6. Placeholder Force Ghost

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    Fewer movies also means less up front investment. Which is what they seem to think will drive that direction. They think one bad summer could be enough to make the studios gun shy if they take enough losses at once

    Maybe not even gun shy, maybe incapable of large up front investment
    Last edited by Captain Tom Coughlin, Jun 16, 2013
  7. Kev Snowmane Jedi Grand Master

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    Which means we can kiss big films like LOTR, the Star Wars franchise, et al goodbye.
  8. Placeholder Force Ghost

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    As I said, I think Star Wars could survive it, because it's a big title. It's something they would still invest in. What you wouldn't see is a lot of new franchises, or stand alone big pictures. Those would be sacrificed, in lieu of the proven titles like Star Wars.

    One bad Star Wars film could change that.

    But who knows? If I had a crystal ball I'd win the lotto every day :D
    Last edited by Captain Tom Coughlin, Jun 16, 2013
  9. BigAl6ft6 Force Ghost

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    Eh, this sounds a little "Get of my lawn" doomsaying which coming from Spielberg and Lucas that's kind of a bummer. Their argument hinges upon a bunch of blockbusters failing in a row but I can't see that happening since if all you got is blockbusters in your local theatre there will always be at least one that will turn around, which leads to run-off to other movies (check out how much cake "This Is the End" took in, basically made back it's buget in one weekend mostly due to Man of Steel run off). The death of "mid-size" movies is very real thing but, honestly, that's why we got HBO making "Behind the Candelabra" and so on. Mid-size movies are actually in the midst of changing mediums right now. What Lucas is saying that you just "Broadway" blockbuster movies I can't see that happening.
  10. Placeholder Force Ghost

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    I don't know that I buy it either
  11. Rachel_In_Red Jedi Grand Master

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    I don't see anything like this happening any time soon.
  12. Kev Snowmane Jedi Grand Master

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    For whatever it's worth, I was chatting online a little while ago with an acquaintance who works in Hollywood and he pointed me at a specific article that shows how creative the studios can be in finding ways to "front load" funding for production costs:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/...4/how_to_finance_a_hollywood_blockbuster.html

    Paramount apparently had only about $7 million of it's own money at risk (not counting the advertising budget on a $94 million budget for the first Laura Croft movie.

    He also pointed out that studios are raking it in on product placement. Apparently Man of Steel made ~$140 million before it even opened in placement fees.

    That takes a lot of edge off the production costs, and I would expect it might motivate the studios to just keep at it rather than massively overhaul things based on a few flops.

    My acquaintance told me he thought that Lucas and Spielberg might simply be bemoaning their inability to get outside financing for the films they want to make (like Lincoln and Red Tails), as opposed to what offers maximum profits for the studios (more Indiana Jones and Star Wars films). I guess I can see the logic of that argument.
  13. Darth Eddie Jedi Grand Master

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    Sounds like a nebulous prediction to me, as much as 1984 predicted the webcam. as in, kinda sorta but not really at all.
  14. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Even if this happens (and the 'death of cinema' has been predicted many a time over its 118-year history), would quality content finding its way to TV be such a bad thing? Would anyone have wanted The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire or Game of Thrones to have been heavily abridged versions of what they were, solely for the purpose of "getting them into theatres"? Did these franchises suffer in any way due to budgetary or technological limitations?

    Let the masses pay $25 to sit in a crowded, noisy cinema packed full of jabbering, texting idiots shovelling tasteless, overpriced popcorn into their faces with all the manners of barnyard animals, just to watch the latest moronic contribution to the human race by Michael Bay or Roland Emmerich.

    I'll happily see the franchises I still love end up as high-end TV shows, and that includes Star Wars. Batman would actually work better as a TV show, IMHO. Ditto The Silmarillion, should it ever be licensed. There's more room to develop character and story.
  15. Placeholder Force Ghost

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    There is no doubt about the fact that this has been a golden age of television. The quality of programming that is out there right now is really something,
  16. Lord Darth Mora Jedi Youngling

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    Though it might be, I sincerely hope the new series won't ruin my childhood dream.O:)
  17. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    Completely agree besides that Independence Day is awesome :p
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  18. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

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    While I don't think it will happen, there is a possibility it could.

    Here's why:

    Peter Chernin has revealed that, combined, studios operate at about a 10% average margin.
    In the last several years, DVD sales have accounted for roughly 50% of the profits of the combined studios. So that's 5% of that 10%. As a result, studios have pushed DVD sales closer and closer to the theatrical release, cutting into the time a movie is shown before it's jettisoned for the DVD market.

    But something is happening: DVD piracy, streaming, economic downturn, and other new technology distributions have outpaced the availability of the DVDs on the market. They're cutting into that piece of the pie in an increasingly substantial manner.

    So now the studios are looking at one of their main revenue streams, one accounting for roughly half of their profits, as growing increasingly volatile and unstable.

    What are they to do? They grow their stable half. That is done by not being in such a rush to get their movies out of theaters to take advantage of the DVD portion of the market, which is now being undermined. Lucas and Spielberg have a legitimate POV concerning this. Again, I don't think it will happen. I think the studios will find alternative revenue streams before resorting to an old school "leave it in the theaters for a year". But, their POV is not unfounded.
    Leaving movies in theaters longer could actually happen.
    Last edited by ShaneP, Jun 19, 2013
  19. TOSCHESTATION Force Ghost

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    [face_shame_on_you]:p
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  20. Kev Snowmane Jedi Grand Master

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    Both Independence Day and Stargate are awesome! ^:)^
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  21. Jarren_Lee-Saber Force Ghost

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    Nice to see another person advocating the awesomeness that would be The Silmarillion on TV.
  22. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    Who doesn't advocate that? :p
  23. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Whatever coked-up movie producers are lurking in the shadows, ready to grab the rights as soon as they're made available, then churn out some rotten single-film version of it starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as Melkor, Brad Pitt as Feanor, and Ryan Gosling as Turin. That's who. They do exist.

    That said, I think PJ & co have had their turn with Tolkien - although I'm thoroughly looking forward to the next two Hobbit films. The Silmarillion needs a completely different touch, and it'll come from TV, not the sort of mentality which will compress the story in order to get a couple more screenings in at a multiplex each day.

    Television simply isn't the poor cousin of the movies it once was - if anything, it's now the brainy kid that ended up as a billionaire who sleeps on a big pile of money with lots of beautiful ladies, while his loud, tough-guy peers from school are slogging away at three bad jobs, seven days a week, to pay alimony & child support from multiple failed marriages.
    Last edited by Darth_Nub, Jun 20, 2013
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  24. vw_jedi Force Ghost

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    Feb 18, 2002
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    Things are changing, not imploding.

    Movies are now being funded directly by people who wish to see them (Iron Sky, The Cosmonaut, etc...). And shown via the net or streamed onto your tv.

    Isn't it a better system really than the studios deciding what you want to see? I'd rather throw my money at things I want to see, not the best of the worst that's being offered at a theater.
  25. Kev Snowmane Jedi Grand Master

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    Raises hand.

    The "background" books are boring as heck.