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(The Atlantic)   Harvard professor says Hollywood's fixation with blockbusters and sequels is absolutely the right move. "If you're not going to the theater regularly, maybe you should consider there are other people who are -- and these movies are made for them"   (theatlantic.com) divider line 53
    More: Obvious, Hollywood, sequels, theaters, movie theaters, thompson, recording studios  
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808 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 14 Oct 2013 at 7:39 AM (40 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-10-14 07:08:56 AM
It took a Harvard professor to write that?
 
2013-10-14 07:15:46 AM
Maybe the insistence of viewing your form of entertainment in a large vacuous room packed with a few hundred strangers all sitting in uncomfortable seats at a set pace and an unworthy price is why I don't bother with them regularly.  Its like the comfort of flying United at the price/entertaining hour of your average AAA first person shooter's single player experience, speaking of flying I'm surprised the TSA hasn't made up a big enough excuse to camp out in your lobbies.  No wonder you've lost anyone with an ounce of dignity or free will from regularly visiting your venues and heaven forbid you try something novel like simultaneous releases that would let us watch your products on our own terms.  I guess improving your product by trying something new once in a while would help though too.
 
2013-10-14 07:20:25 AM
It's because pop culture is expressed perfectly by this demotivator:

demotivators.despair.com

For whatever reason, people have an undying need to do what everyone else is doing (listen to what others are listening to, watch what others watch, consume what others consume), and no measure of education, freedom or a framework of established political rights will ever compel them to think of themselves as individuals.

The best we can do is to call them demographics and target markets.
 
2013-10-14 07:28:39 AM

Ishkur: For whatever reason, people have an undying need to do what everyone else is doing


Well, we have words for people who  don't do what everyone else is doing: asshole, hipster, douchebag, self-important little shiat, etc.
 
2013-10-14 07:30:50 AM
I do love me a great popcorn flick like Pacific Rim.
 
2013-10-14 07:46:05 AM
If you're looking for high-concept entertainment, you can find it on TV.

I love that this has happened. It's been cool watching the evolution of television from the bastard child of the entertainment industry to the point that people are saying things like this.
 
2013-10-14 07:47:44 AM

t3knomanser: Well, we have words for people who don't do what everyone else is doing: asshole, hipster, douchebag, self-important little shiat, etc.


Well, that's only when they have a burning need to tell everybody else about it.

It is possible to be an individual and keep it to yourself.
 
2013-10-14 07:49:09 AM

Ishkur: Well, that's only when they have a burning need to tell everybody else about it.


Or when it involves visible changes to your appearance. It's okay to do something different, so long as nobody hears or sees it.
 
2013-10-14 07:55:53 AM

t3knomanser: Or when it involves visible changes to your appearance. It's okay to do something different, so long as nobody hears or sees it.


Depends how much smug is involved. There is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. Carrying a superiority complex -- yeah, that's the wrong way.
 
2013-10-14 07:58:08 AM
No matter how many times a script is pitched about an intense, important character drama that truly holds a mirror up to our world that meeting is going to be interrupted by someone screaming "Boss! We figured out how to do 'Die Hard' in Hitler's asshole, and Ashton Kutcher just tweeted a pic of himself in the mustache! BRING THE MONEY CANNON!"
 
2013-10-14 08:01:50 AM

Ishkur: Depends how much smug is involved.


No, it doesn't really. I enjoy watching people who pride themselves on individualism instantly turn judgemental when somebody doesn't look, dress, or behave the way these "individualists" think they should. They instantly fall back onto, "Well, they were being so  smug," which is really just a cop out. In reality, you were simply looking for a way to justify your personal dislike.

I don't mean  you specifically, but the general "you all". It's a habit I've been working to break in myself for some time.
 
2013-10-14 08:11:19 AM
"
So consumers are to blame?
As consumers, we are at fault.
"
 
2013-10-14 08:14:34 AM

t3knomanser: I enjoy watching people who pride themselves on individualism tribalism


FTFY.

Because that's what you're really observing, to be fair -- people identifying themselves by whatever social klatch they feel they belong to, and they defend it and attack those they see as threats to its pride and privilege. It might only be a Hegelian backlash to the predominant norm, but anti-conformity is still conformity. You'll rarely find a more lucrative target market than the commodification of dissent.
 
2013-10-14 08:14:56 AM

Mr. Coffee Nerves: No matter how many times a script is pitched about an intense, important character drama that truly holds a mirror up to our world that meeting is going to be interrupted by someone screaming "Boss! We figured out how to do 'Die Hard' in Hitler's asshole, and Ashton Kutcher just tweeted a pic of himself in the mustache! BRING THE MONEY CANNON!"


Add some cocaine to that scenario and you nailed it.
 
2013-10-14 08:15:45 AM

Sybarite: If you're looking for high-concept entertainment, you can find it on TV.

I love that this has happened. It's been cool watching the evolution of television from the bastard child of the entertainment industry to the point that people are saying things like this.


It's almost amusing how the two have literally changed roles in the last 20 years
 
2013-10-14 08:16:31 AM

Sybarite: If you're looking for high-concept entertainment, you can find it on TV.

I love that this has happened. It's been cool watching the evolution of television from the bastard child of the entertainment industry to the point that people are saying things like this.


Yeah but I think the ratio is still skewed in favor of film. For every Breaking Bad there are a dozen shows about Kardashians and 2 1/2 Men.
 
2013-10-14 08:18:35 AM

Ishkur: It's because pop culture is expressed perfectly by this demotivator:



For whatever reason, people have an undying need to do what everyone else is doing (listen to what others are listening to, watch what others watch, consume what others consume), and no measure of education, freedom or a framework of established political rights will ever compel them to think of themselves as individuals.

The best we can do is to call them demographics and target markets.


Grrr, couldn't make it past this neck beard trollbait douche
 
2013-10-14 08:22:35 AM

Sybarite: If you're looking for high-concept entertainment, you can find it on TV.

I love that this has happened. It's been cool watching the evolution of television from the bastard child of the entertainment industry to the point that people are saying things like this.


It IS astonishing. We've gone from the "Glass Teat" and "This Monster was Brought To You By Gainsburgers" to a legitimate intellectual medium, able to present quality entertainment over the length of form that would be unacceptable for film. Furthermore, when was the last time anyone paid attention to a movie documentary that wasn't totally attention-whoring, Michael Moore style?
 
2013-10-14 08:23:43 AM

Mugato: Sybarite: If you're looking for high-concept entertainment, you can find it on TV.

I love that this has happened. It's been cool watching the evolution of television from the bastard child of the entertainment industry to the point that people are saying things like this.

Yeah but I think the ratio is still skewed in favor of film. For every Breaking Bad there are a dozen shows about Kardashians and 2 1/2 Men.


The ratio doesn't matter much and besides we still live in a golden age where its less and less required to even acknowledge the lowest common denominator shows like 2 1/2men or big bang theory, hell if it wasn't for the entertainment tab on fark I wouldn't know about any reality shows at all, I don't even know the sound of snookie's voice.  I think that's awesome compared to the advertising fest of traditional movies and cable based show viewing.  Who cares if there's dozens of shiatty reality tv shows for every good one, unless you're going out of your way to look for them they may as well not exist at all.  Win.
 
2013-10-14 08:31:29 AM

BumpInTheNight: The ratio doesn't matter much and besides we still live in a golden age where its less and less required to even acknowledge the lowest common denominator shows like 2 1/2men or big bang theory


I agree that TV is about as good as its ever been, mostly because of cable.I can't even think of a network show I watch regularly. Hannibal but that'll be lucky to get a full second season. I cringe when I think of the shiat I watched in the 1980s. One might say, "fark you, Knight Rider was awesome" but that's mostly nostalgia talking. And the sitcoms were just horrible (exceptions like Cheers and Night Court but even they were cheesy). So yeah, things are better now, even though I really don't even watch much TV in general, I'm more of a film guy.
 
2013-10-14 08:36:36 AM

BumpInTheNight: Mugato: Sybarite: If you're looking for high-concept entertainment, you can find it on TV.

I love that this has happened. It's been cool watching the evolution of television from the bastard child of the entertainment industry to the point that people are saying things like this.

Yeah but I think the ratio is still skewed in favor of film. For every Breaking Bad there are a dozen shows about Kardashians and 2 1/2 Men.

The ratio doesn't matter much and besides we still live in a golden age where its less and less required to even acknowledge the lowest common denominator shows like 2 1/2men or big bang theory, hell if it wasn't for the entertainment tab on fark I wouldn't know about any reality shows at all, I don't even know the sound of snookie's voice.  I think that's awesome compared to the advertising fest of traditional movies and cable based show viewing.  Who cares if there's dozens of shiatty reality tv shows for every good one, unless you're going out of your way to look for them they may as well not exist at all.  Win.


Time shifting, DVR, season boxed sets, netflix and other distribution methods have freed us from the shackles of network programming. We are now free to select the cream of the crop to watch, rather than sitting at home on a friday night trying to flip through the channels and decide between an F-Troop rerun or Jersey Shore. Before, you might have to wait for a PBS charity drive for the really quality stuff to crawl out.
 
2013-10-14 08:41:33 AM

Fano: Time shifting, DVR, season boxed sets, netflix and other distribution methods have freed us from the shackles of network programming


I would think that would also fark up the ratings system, making programs skew to older viewers but I could be wrong.
 
2013-10-14 08:47:40 AM

Mugato: I agree that TV is about as good as its ever been, mostly because of cable.I can't even think of a network show I watch regularly. Hannibal but that'll be lucky to get a full second season. I cringe when I think of the shiat I watched in the 1980s. One might say, "fark you, Knight Rider was awesome" but that's mostly nostalgia talking.


I suspect the reason TV was crappy up until the last 10-15 years was that the need to appeal to an audience that might not have watched the show before pretty much guarantees mediocrity. You need to explain the premise and introduce the characters to a degree every episode and you can't have much continuity between episodes.

Once DVDs and various watch-on-demand services became a thing, the artificial constraints that made TV crappier than it really should be disappeared and we pretty much instantly started to get stuff like Band of Brothers and the first round of really high quality TV. Cable certainly had a role but I don't remember cable shows being that great in the early 90s and earlier.

/and yeah, Hannibal's awesome.
 
2013-10-14 08:58:09 AM

Sybarite: If you're looking for high-concept entertainment, you can find it on TV.

I love that this has happened. It's been cool watching the evolution of television from the bastard child of the entertainment industry to the point that people are saying things like this.


It was always the medium with a better chance of doing smarter things - a season of a TV series can be likened to reading a novel, whereas a film is a short story. You can sketch out a great idea in a short story, but to do something deep and complex you need more space to work than a film or short story can normally give you.
 
2013-10-14 10:13:38 AM

Gunther: Once DVDs and various watch-on-demand services became a thing, the artificial constraints that made TV crappier than it really should be disappeared and we pretty much instantly started to get stuff like Band of Brothers and the first round of really high quality TV


And being on TV isn't a stigma anymore. It used to be like being busted down to the minors but now you have....maybe not above the title movie stars but talented people who were respected in movies now doing TV and it's not thought of as a demotion. Same with writers and directors.

I like that shows now often have one major story arc rather than being completely episodic and one episode not having any consequences to the next. Deep Space Nine and The X-Files come to mind as early examples of that (unless you count the nighttime soaps which I thankfully was never exposed to). The only thing that sucks with that is waiting a week between shows, which is why I'm glad I started watching Breaking Bad and Dexter in their 4th seasons when they were on DVD or NetFlix.
 
2013-10-14 10:28:32 AM
FTFA:

In investing, we intuitively think we should make a number of small bets. A blockbuster strategy is the opposite. It means making fewer huge investments. But it turns out to be safer.

Here's my counter argument to this: Net present value andopportunity cost.

Blockbusters take years to make -- your money is tied up in it for several years; it takes years until you begin to earn back just the principalinvestment  Where as with a sub $100 million mover that doesn't have tons of special effects, pre-production through post-production can be less than a year -- there's a faster turnarounds time for the studio in getting their principal investment back which can then be invested in other films.
 
2013-10-14 10:48:26 AM

LlamaGirl: I do love me a great popcorn flick like Pacific Rim.


Pacific Rim was awesome. Still waiting for my jaeger model kits.
 
2013-10-14 10:54:38 AM
It makes me laugh when high-falutin' ivory tower professors in media studies-type departments wildly defend dunderheaded media capitalism like this one does.  It's like they study and study and study these media outlets and finally say, "They do it for the money."

N.S. Sherlock.
 
2013-10-14 10:55:56 AM

LlamaGirl: I do love me a great popcorn flick like Pacific Rim.


That movie was great. I don't get the crowd that worships Transformer movies by saying "I like a movie you can turn your brain off to enjoy!" when pacific rim comes along and doesn't require you to have to shut off your brain to go along with it.
 
2013-10-14 11:00:52 AM

thornhill: there's a faster turnarounds time for the studio in getting their principal investment back which can then be invested in other films.


Far be it for me to argue with a "Harvard professor" but there are a lot of other factors she's not considering. Firstly, Hollywood accounting is farked up. Movies don't cost $250mill now when they cost less than half that less than a decade ago. Inflation isn't that big. It works in a  studio's favor for a film to lose money on the books for tax reasons and not having to pay out points to the stars and directors. Unless you're Johnny Depp and have an agent smart enough to make a deal that pays out on the gross instead of the profit.

"Found footage" movies make the highest rate of return. They cost nothing to make. They have no stars, no real cinematography or visual FX and they make $100 mil and they can make one every Halloween.

Big budget summer movies, there are just too many of them nowadays so even the biggest ones are only on top for a week or two. The Hunger Games did so well in part because it was released in the spring and had no real competition. Cameron's smart enough to release his movies in the winter where there's competition but not nearly as much.

The bottom line is that people watch shiatty movies because shiatty movies are what's given to us, not the other way around. People go to movies usually as an outing like a date or a family thing. If studios made better movies, people would see them.
 
2013-10-14 11:07:23 AM

thornhill: FTFA:

In investing, we intuitively think we should make a number of small bets. A blockbuster strategy is the opposite. It means making fewer huge investments. But it turns out to be safer.

Here's my counter argument to this: Net present value andopportunity cost.

Blockbusters take years to make -- your money is tied up in it for several years; it takes years until you begin to earn back just the principalinvestment  Where as with a sub $100 million mover that doesn't have tons of special effects, pre-production through post-production can be less than a year -- there's a faster turnarounds time for the studio in getting their principal investment back which can then be invested in other films.


There's an over saturated market for both maybe?
 
2013-10-14 11:25:18 AM

ThatBillmanGuy: LlamaGirl: I do love me a great popcorn flick like Pacific Rim.

That movie was great. I don't get the crowd that worships Transformer movies by saying "I like a movie you can turn your brain off to enjoy!" when pacific rim comes along and doesn't require you to have to shut off your brain to go along with it.


I first saw Pacific Rim in 2D, and it was so good that I went back to see it again in IMAX 3D. It was definitely not just a brain-dead popcorn movie, there was some real substance in there. And if you didn't see it IMAX 3D, you missed out on an incredible spectacle.
 
2013-10-14 11:26:37 AM
Harvard is a pathetic institution pumping putrid, stupid, entitled fools into a corrupt, wanker-run world.

Harvard Grad = Worthless Wanker.
 
2013-10-14 11:30:21 AM

Eapoe6: Harvard is a pathetic institution pumping putrid, stupid, entitled fools into a corrupt, wanker-run world.

Harvard Grad = Worthless Wanker.


Of course it is. Now, will you hurry up and get my fries, already?
 
2013-10-14 11:47:23 AM

Mr. Coffee Nerves: No matter how many times a script is pitched about an intense, important character drama that truly holds a mirror up to our world that meeting is going to be interrupted by someone screaming "Boss! We figured out how to do 'Die Hard' in Hitler's asshole, and Ashton Kutcher just tweeted a pic of himself in the mustache! BRING THE MONEY CANNON!"


the problem is that the audience for more grown-up material wait for it to arrive on DVD. The times my parents go to the cinema are when they are taking my kids to see a Pixar movie. When there's a new Woody Allen film, or something with Judi Dench, they get it when it comes on DVD.

That's why the big box-office is nearly always things like kids movies, gross-out comedies, and big action films.
 
2013-10-14 12:13:19 PM

EyeballKid: Eapoe6: Harvard is a pathetic institution pumping putrid, stupid, entitled fools into a corrupt, wanker-run world.

Harvard Grad = Worthless Wanker.

Of course it is. Now, will you hurry up and get my fries, already?

Sure, buddy. Up your a$$ or down your smug, ignorant throat?

 
2013-10-14 12:21:09 PM

Eapoe6: EyeballKid: Eapoe6: Harvard is a pathetic institution pumping putrid, stupid, entitled fools into a corrupt, wanker-run world.

Harvard Grad = Worthless Wanker.

Of course it is. Now, will you hurry up and get my fries, already?

Sure, buddy. Up your a$$ or down your smug, ignorant throat?


I don't want to be a dick about college rivalries or anything. I went to a state school and I know a lot of guys who went to Ivy League schools and they don't know anything more than me. Some of them are downright morons. It looks better on their resume of course. Now I do know a guy who went to Georgia Tech who is a lot smarter than me. A lot harder working anyway.
 
2013-10-14 12:25:09 PM
I used to go to the theater regularly. Stopped going because of all the shiatty sequels and blockbusters.
 
2013-10-14 01:14:21 PM
Hey when you can get legions of people to say things like 'Pacific Rim was awesome', there is no point in trying anymore.
 
2013-10-14 01:23:58 PM

Marshmallow Jones: Hey when you can get legions of people to say things like 'Pacific Rim was awesome', there is no point in trying anymore.

'mon, it had plenty of big, shiny toy robots that went BANG! VROOOOM! I can't wait to play with them at home! Uh...er...that is, itwas a smart cinematic undertaking that was influenced by Japanese blahblahblahblahblah I'm kidding, it was "Big Shiny Toys Go Boom: The Movie."
 
2013-10-14 01:33:54 PM
No, blockbusters are for people who don't go to the theater regularly. People who go to the theater regularly also go on weeks where there aren't huge blockbusters. Blockbusters are for people who only go to the theater when all their friends are going.

Ishkur: t3knomanser: Well, we have words for people who don't do what everyone else is doing: asshole, hipster, douchebag, self-important little shiat, etc.

Well, that's only when they have a burning need to tell everybody else about it.

It is possible to be an individual and keep it to yourself.


That sword cuts both ways, pal. The people who like insipid trash should keep it to themselves too.
 
2013-10-14 02:30:42 PM
I love how many people are talking about how TV has become this artful, high-concept media and then talk about how great Hannibal is. It is visually stunning, but the writing is so clumsy that it becomes entertaining in a totally different way.
 
2013-10-14 02:44:42 PM

Marshmallow Jones: Hey when you can get legions of people to say things like 'Pacific Rim was awesome', there is no point in trying anymore.


Am allowed to like it while thinking Transformers was overwrought crap?  I'm not sure if that's a valid opinion.
 
2013-10-14 05:36:25 PM

BumpInTheNight: Maybe the insistence of viewing your form of entertainment in a large vacuous room packed with a few hundred strangers all sitting in uncomfortable seats at a set pace and an unworthy price is why I don't bother with them regularly.


Honestly, I think that the pacing is one of the advantages of seeing things in the theater where there's no temptation to hit pause whenever the dog barks or someone feels peckish. Pacing and managing the ebb and flow of tension and release is one of the things that directors and screen writers spend a lot of time setting up and it just destroys it when people freeze the action at any point they like.

I know that it runs contrary to our notions of absolute personal freedom but, sometimes, it really is best to enjoy a work of art on the terms it was meant to be presented.
 
2013-10-14 05:37:34 PM
Also... what does it mean for a room to be "vacuous"? Is the room some kind of bimbo?
 
2013-10-14 05:58:24 PM
www.reactionface.info

Finally.
Fin-al-farking-ly!

It's about time that one of these ivory-tower types reconnected with the real world.

Dear stick-up-the-ass film snobs: Your little "golden age" is gone and never actually existed. Nobody has ever actually liked art-house films, and the vast majority of straight men who endure them are only watching because they think it will get them some pussy. Hell, at least half of gay men at those showings are probably only there because they think it will get them some of their favorite flavor of action, too.
 
2013-10-14 06:00:24 PM
By the by, I know where the animated GIF I posted came from.

I also know the context of that scene within the movie.

Don't care. I do this in the full knowledge of its double incongruity, and appropriate the moving image intentionally divorced from all meaning and context.
 
2013-10-14 06:55:36 PM
It's because the blockbuster "tentpole" movies bring in the bucks, especially in China and India these days, and then the studios have the money to lose on smarter, smaller films that only a small audience of shut-ins w/ blogs actually like.

Take David Cross. He's been in both Alvin & The Chipmunks films. He's made great money from those. Doing this allowed him to do Todd Margaret and This Is the End, both of which lost him money but he enjoyed making regardless.
 
2013-10-14 06:57:35 PM

Silly_Sot: [www.reactionface.info image 480x360]

Finally.
Fin-al-farking-ly!

It's about time that one of these ivory-tower types reconnected with the real world.

Dear stick-up-the-ass film snobs: Your little "golden age" is gone and never actually existed. Nobody has ever actually liked art-house films, and the vast majority of straight men who endure them are only watching because they think it will get them some pussy. Hell, at least half of gay men at those showings are probably only there because they think it will get them some of their favorite flavor of action, too.


Eh, the 70s were a great time, considering it allowed movies like Apocalypse Now, Thief and a lot of other cool flicks to see the light of day. No doubt The Towering Inferno, Poseidon Adventure and Star Wars helped make those movies possible though.
 
2013-10-14 08:54:01 PM

verbaltoxin: Silly_Sot: [www.reactionface.info image 480x360]

Finally.
Fin-al-farking-ly!

It's about time that one of these ivory-tower types reconnected with the real world.

Dear stick-up-the-ass film snobs: Your little "golden age" is gone and never actually existed. Nobody has ever actually liked art-house films, and the vast majority of straight men who endure them are only watching because they think it will get them some pussy. Hell, at least half of gay men at those showings are probably only there because they think it will get them some of their favorite flavor of action, too.

Eh, the 70s were a great time, considering it allowed movies like Apocalypse Now, Thief and a lot of other cool flicks to see the light of day. No doubt The Towering Inferno, Poseidon Adventure and Star Wars helped make those movies possible though.



Blockbusters weren't that important to studios since most flicks cost around the same price in the 70s ($10-20 million). That's why directors were pretty much left alone, because the return on investment was usually a sure thing.

A great example is the first Godfather, which cost 6 million bucks, including period costumes and vehicles and location shooting in Italy. Adjusted for inflation, that movie's budget wouldn't cover a Jennifer Aniston romantic comedy now.
 
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