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The Day the Movies Died

Top-Gun-Inception

Have you been disappointed by movies this year? What about last year?

One of the biggest problems are the sheer amount of sequels (and other third, fourth, etc…) movies being produced by Hollywood. Apparently, in 2011, there will be a record 27 placed into theaters.

How does that even happen? Isn’t there any original content left in Hollywood?

In a GQ column called The Day the Movies DiedMark Harris does just that. He informs us how Hollywood has gone wrong, by weaving a story from  Top Gun to Inception to Stretch Armstrong, and that this cycle may never end.

This expose is a must-read for anyone who loves the entertainment industry (like I do), and thinks that Hollywood is not doing their best damn job. I mean, some sequels are a great idea! But others are sometimes rushed into production, and the story and/or acting suffers (Iron Man 2, Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3, and more!)

What do you think about the movie industry? Sound off in the comments!

Check out an excerpt below the jump, and links to the full article can be found here.

The rise of marketers has also brought on an obsession with demographics. As anyone in Hollywood will tell you, the American filmgoing populace is divided two ways: by gender and by age. Gender is self-explanatory (usually); the over-under dividing line for age is 25. Naturally, every studio chief dreams of finding a movie like Avatar that reaches all four “quadrants” of the audience: male and female, young and not. But if it can be made for the right price, a two- or even one-quadrant film can be a viable business proposition.

In Hollywood, though, not all quadrants are created equal. If you, for instance, have a vagina, you’re pretty much out of luck, because women, in studio thinking, are considered a niche audience that, except when Sandra Bullock reads a script or Nicholas Sparks writes a novel, generally isn’t worth taking the time to figure out. And if you were born before 1985… well, it is my sad duty to inform you that in the eyes of Hollywood, you are one of what the kids on the Internet call “the olds.” I know—you thought you were one of the kids on the Internet. Not to the studios, which have realized that the closer you get to (or the farther you get from) your thirtieth birthday, the more likely you are to develop things like taste and discernment, which render you such an exhausting proposition in terms of selling a movie that, well, you might as well have a vagina.

That leaves one quadrant—men under 25—at whom the majority of studio movies are aimed, the thinking being that they’ll eat just about anything that’s put in front of them as long as it’s spiked with the proper set of stimulants. That’s why, when you look at the genres that currently dominate Hollywood—action, raunchy comedy, game/toy/ride/comic-book adaptations, horror, and, to add an extra jolt of Red Bull to all of the preceding categories, 3-D—they’re all aimed at the same ADD-addled, short-term-memory-lacking, easily excitable testosterone junkie. In a world dominated by marketing, it was inevitable that the single quadrant that would come to matter most is the quadrant that’s most willing to buy product even if it’s mediocre.

“It’s a chicken-versus-egg thing,” says writer-producer Vince Gilligan, the creator of the why-aren’t-there-movies-this-good cable hit Breaking Bad. “The studios say, ‘Well, no one else is coming to movies reliably these days except for young males, so we’ll make our movies for them.’ And yet if you make movies simply for young males, nobody else is going to want to go. So Hollywood has become like Logan’s Run: You turn 30, and they kill you.”

Category: Film

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