Tuesday, January 3, 2012
2011 Movies: Brands, Budgets, & Bankability Still Don’t Explain Why Studios Are In Crisis - Part 1
And efforts to build bankable new stars was a study in frustration as well. So is it an exaggeration to say that studios are in a state of crisis? The signs of strain are certainly showing. One of the most surprising continual headlines over the year was the number of major films that studios drew hard lines in the sand and unplugged major projects they paid millions of dollars to develop, alienating top stars, directors and producers who are not used to being told no.
Despite the challenges and the doom and gloom, the year brought highlights and surprises that disprove every assumption. They include sleeper summer hits The Help, Bridesmaids and Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, the latter a gem that Sony Pictures Classics opened in the heat of summer. It out-grossed all of the director’s previous films with $56 million domestic and $145 million worldwide. After a year in which 3D conversions seemed to be little more than a gimmick to charge higher ticket prices, Martin Scorsese took the baton from James Cameron with budget-buster Hugo.
As for budget-cutting, it’s to be expected after several attempts to launch new franchises blew up in the moguls’ faces. Warner Bros had a big swing and a miss with Green Lantern, whose $219 million worldwide gross only slightly eclipsed its $200 million budget. It was the second straight year that Warner Bros tried and failed to turn one of its DC Comics characters into hit films after last summer’s Jonah Hex debacle. And even the upcoming Man Of Steel has raised questions whether this Superman reboot can resurrect the troubled franchise.