If You Build It, They Will Come.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Remember entertainment?

Whatever happened to movies? To the american movie industry? We used to be kings of entertainment. Now it's kind of embarrassing. The only intellegent film seems to be independent film, and no one even gets a chance to see it.

This is the same argument I've made for years, but I'd like to expand on it for a bit. Because it's not just movies, it's entertainment. It's music, it's TV. One thing is a hit, and then producers who don't understand art but understand business make a hundred photocopies of it. It's all about money.

Now understand, I'm not stupid. It's always been a business. It's the entertainment INDUSTRY. But the industry has gone from a gourmet restaurant to a fast food chain. We're making McEntertainment. The most cost efficient garbage, mass produced, cookie cutter, greasy, sloppy, poorly thought out and most rapidly thrown together one dollar double cheeseburger movies imaginable, with a side of horrible, sell your dignity reality television, and a diet pop star copy of a copy of a copy.

Back in the day, they made the Superman Movies. Four of them. Two of them good. The first in 1978, the last in 1987. Then a couple years later, they made Batman. Four of them. One of them good. The first in 1989, the last in 1997.

Nobody looked at Superman and said "Kids love comic book movies!!! Let's make THOUSANDS!!! IT CAN'T LOSE!!!!"

Then in 2000, they made X-Men.

Since then, they've made X-Men 2, X-Men 3, Spiderman, Spiderman 2, Spiderman 3, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight... and they made The Incredible Hulk, Catwoman, Daredevil, Elektra, Punisher, Ghost Rider, Fantastic 4, Fantastic 4 2, 300, Sin City, V for Vendetta, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, TMNT, Constantine, Hellboy, Hellboy 2, Blade 2, Blade Trinity, 30 Days of Night, From Hell, A History of Violence, Josie and the Pussycats...

They made a few TV Show movies back in the day. The Fugitive in 1993, Mission: Impossible in 1996. The Naked Gun in 1988.

Then in 2000, they made Charlie's Angels.

Since then, they've made SWAT, M:I3, Charlie's Angels 2, Starsky and Hutch, The Dukes of Hazzard, Miami Vice, Bewitched, The Honeymooners, Get Smart is coming out, as is... get this... Dallas.

This all doesn't seem to be working that well. Then George Lucas comes out with the new Star Wars trilogy starting in 1999. And producers get the idea maybe the old movies that hit big need to be dusted off. So we get Die Hard 4. So we get Indiana Jones 4. Prom Night, Freddy vs. Jason, King Kong, Jurassic Park 4, The Hills Have Eyes.

You can trace most popular things back to the popular thing that it copied that hit big.

Dance War = Dancing With The Stars = So You Think You Can Dance = American Idol.

Rhianna = Aaliyah = Ashanti = Christina Aguilera = Britney Spears

10 Items or Less = The Office (US) = The Office (UK)

The problem is that once something truly original and new comes out, the market will get so flooded with copycats trying to ride it's coat-tails for a quick buck that we'll get sick of that too.

Cloverfield, JJ Abrams new movie, is basically a Godzilla movie and the Blair Witch Project put together. That I don't have a problem with. It's an old story told a different way. No one is ever going to write a story no one has ever heard before. The basic elements are all the same. It's how you mix them. Abrams came up with the pizza burger in the fast food entertainment industry. We've all had enough pizza, we've all had too many burgers, but putting them together is a fresh idea.

EDIT: I'm not joking, I finished this post, and went to apple.com, and found this.

So when entertainment execs complain that piracy is what is driving their revenues down, I have a really hard time believing it. My theory is that people aren't going to pay rising ticket prices and $20 for a bag of popcorn to see the same movie they have at home on DVD three times over.

Any thoughts?