Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Is Hollywood Listening?
That kind of news will spread panic. As I write this article, I wouldn’t be surprised if Hollywood executives have called in the six-figure experts—marketers, gurus, and pundits—to get their advice and expertise. So what can be done to reverse this troubling trend? I could save Hollywood a lot of money. They don’t need to drop six figures on their so-called experts. In fact, anyone who goes to the movies can tell them what’s wrong and how to correct the problem. The question is are they listening.
Look at the recent success of The Social Network and Inception. They were both new and creative concepts. What Hollywood is afraid of is failure. That’s why they are unwilling to take chances. They want to continue to go back to what has worked in the past. That doesn’t work any longer. Audiences have figured it out. They are tired of paying their hard-earned money to see the same movie over and over.
A recent seminar I attended in Los Angeles revealed the studios attitude toward small-budget and independent films. The studio guy said that 9 out of 10 indies from major studios failed to make money. They were now focusing and concentrating their resources on what they call tent-pole movies—films aimed at a mass audience. What I think Hollywood has failed to understand is the “one independent film” that made money for them is usually a hit and that one movie makes enough to offset the cost of the nine who failed to generate a profit. But, by not releasing more films in the theater, they lose that energy of the audience who would have gone to see those films.
Let’s say you go see an independent film and view a trailer in the theater for one of the studios’ tent-pole movies and it motivates you to see it the next weekend. Guess what? By not acquiring independent movies, you just lost that opportunity.
Final thoughts. Right now Hollywood is living on borrowed time. Thanks to the recent craze of 3-D, overall revenues have offset the declining attendance figures; however, 3-D will not save the day. It’s impact will wear off, and the $4 surcharge will start to discourage some moviegoers, especially since Hollywood is converting films shot on 2-D into 3-D. The bottom line is that it will come down to a better product, innovative storytelling, selection, and a determination to hold the prices to a reasonable level that will bring back movie attendance. So, is Hollywood listening to the audiences, or are they listening to their six-figure experts? I hope, Hollywood executives, I have saved you some money. And if you are so motivated, feel free to send me a check.