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Andrew Reid

Signs of Spielberg's predicted "crash and burn" as Lone Ranger bombs

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Lone Ranger

Spielberg recently said he felt the multiplex cinema filmmaking industry was heading for implosion, where someone making a $250m popcorn movie forgets to add a compelling reason for an audience to see it. A string of massively costly flops follow, bringing the system to its knees. The soft opening of Lone Ranger (a western with Johnny Depp by the makers of Pirates of the Caribbean) points to Spielberg being right on the money...

[url=http://www.eoshd.com/content/10747/signs-of-spielbergs-predicted-crash-and-burn-as-lone-ranger-bombs]Read the full article here[/url]

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You realize there have been plenty of big-budget flops before Spielberg made his "prediction", right? And that studios have plenty of accounting and distribution tricks to help them cover the loss of a dismal initial theatrical run?

 

I don't see how this one, relatively unsurprisingly example - in a year of ludicrously successful franchise hits like Ironman, Superman, etc - constitutes "bringing the system to its knees."

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So you hit a button and out comes another Superman.

 

How long do you think it will take for audiences to get bored? Think ahead. Just because there are still successful franchises doesn't mean to say there will always be.

 

It will be probably be an implosion measured in years rather than months, but if you starve any creative industry of creativity, it is the same as starving a power station of coal, or an Apple factory of silicon.

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It only took a year of living in LA to understand why the industry is headed in this direction: nepotism. And not so much literal nepotism... but more-so the broader idea of "who you know-ism". Your only chance of landing a job in Hollywood is through a "connection"... ESPECIALLY in the business/executive roles that make the financial decisions.

It's all very simply. The people in charge are the kids (and friends of kids) of the last generation who only learned THE BARE MINIMUM requirements to take over these positions. Now that there are so many other options for entertainment... and the system has to be reworked to adapt... nobody has any clue as what to do. Basically, these people have learned how to do a "job"... not how to "make films". The couldn't innovate if they tried.

But, hey, it's not all the execs faults... there is a such thing as "workers greed" as well... and it also runs rampant through Hollywood. Let's say for a minute, that somehow a producer or executive DOES have a genuinely good business idea... can he/she execute it? Nope. Not really. The unions are still going to demand the picture be made to union standards... i.e. hiring 8 people for a 1 person job. Why do the unions do this? Well, obviously, the more jobs they can keep around... the more pockets they can take union dues from. And the longer it takes to make a film... the more they can justify taking. Unions benefit from throwing wrenches into the machine, and then demanding you hire "thier workers" to pull it out... for you know, oh, about 100x the labor value. This is why the execs are taught it's better practice to kill films... then to green-light them. It's a circle of destruction from both ends.

 

It's top-to-bottom corruption... and the ones who are getting screwed are the audience, the next generation of creatives who might actually be able to make better material for 90% less $, and the industry/art form itself. The film execs want million dollar salaries for having nothing but their arbitrary titles they earned for networking/sleeping their way to the top... and the union workers want $1000/hr for jobs, that more often than not, don't need to exist. Things have to adapt. They're basically using the same film-making model since the last overhaul in the 70's. Innovation needs to happen. We have the technology and capability to make films for about 80% less money and require 80% less labor... better start putting it to practice soon.

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Lone ranger is doing badly cause it just looks like a crap film. The tailer looked dull and too long. I go to the movies 2-3 times a forghtnight but even I wouldnt waste my money on the Lone Ranger. It looks so uninteresting.

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If things keep going like this, the big studios will do just fine. With Avengers and Ironman 3 alone Disney cashed in close to $3b, they can afford to lose 250m every now and then.

 

They have lined up one Marvel movie a year, plus an Avengers every now and then, 1 Star Wars a year and 1.5 Pixar movies a year, these are all guaranteed franchises, unfortunately, so they'll do just fine.

 

Also, it's quite sad, but the directors behind these $300m blockbusters struggle really hard to get a serious $30m film green lit, and most times they just can't at all, studios are just not interested anymore.

 

The separation between huge blockbusters and serious cinema is getting clearer and clearer, it's two different mediums and the indie cinema will find its own way, but there's no point competing for the same audiences and platforms like huge multiplexes, because they're two different beasts. I don't think any of them will implode, they'll just find their place, because a blockbuster shouldn't stand on an indie film's way and vice versa, but it will sort itself out eventually.

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Great article, thanks.
It is a great time for indie film-maker though.

The comics franchises will get tired soon, so people will want to see something "different" like real stories, like... Greek and Brazilian cinema, because they are FRESH.

That said it is not only Holliwood, all corporations expect exponential growth, this is not sustainable.

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I think this was predicted a little while before Spielberg started talking about it................................ Spielberg didn't predict anything at all. You can't predict something that has been spoken about for oh I don't know several years already.. 

 

On another note I'll bet my life savings Pacific Rim doesn't crash and burn at all. And if I do lose the bet (which I won't) I'll lose a grand total of $7.

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Spielberg, Lucas and Soderberg are all whinging about the state of the industry because things aren't going their way so much as they used to. I'm sorry but is anyone surprised red tails couldn't find distribution or that Lincoln had difficulty finding it? These guys want to make passion projects with big budgets and full theatrical marketing campaigns.

 

hot tip, if you want to make a period piece with a niche audience how bout trimming your budget down to <30 million, yes Lincoln was a commercial success in the end, but what exec wouldn't be adverse to plunging 60 million plus into marketing a period film for theatrical release.

 

There is no crash coming at disney, this is a company that makes 30 billion, yes BILLION a year on merchandising alone. 250 million is literally nothing, sure they won't make a lone ranger 2, but it's not going to cause some cinema apocalypse. It's a hit and miss game, but as you can see if you have a library of "hits" they will generate ridiculous money on the back end for years to come.

 

I know we all want to see less of these sort of films and more original, exciting storytelling. But predicting the fall of the popcorn film industry based of one flop is wishful thinking.

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Lucas has already cashed out his chips to the tune of $4 Billion dollars and is finished as a filmmaker.  Spielberg has been looking for foreign money to prop up Dreamworks and to finance his films and I don't think really cares anymore about making quality films, but money, even though he's already super rich.

 

Lucas burned out in 1983 after Jedi, but with Spielberg, I think he's reached his theoretical event horizon long ago, probably around the time of Jurassic Park.  So I think both of them are saying, "Look, if we can't make good movies anymore, and the system is abhors new talent, and new ideas, then Hollywood is pretty much screwed."

BUT, what both Spielberg and Lucas are VERY good at is finding new talent.  If they focused on finding the newest talent, they could save Hollywood...perhaps.

Sometimes I think that bombs like "The Lone Ranger" are intentional; simply a payout for the actors and producers as a reward for previous hit projects AND also act as a way for studios to mitigate any of the remainder of tax losses.  Disney is a HUGE corporation, and probably pays little taxes as is, and flops such as TLR probably help to mitigage any tax burdens.

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It's top-to-bottom corruption... and the ones who are getting screwed are the audience, the next generation of creatives who might actually be able to make better material for 90% less $, and the industry/art form itself. The film execs want million dollar salaries for having nothing but their arbitrary titles they earned for networking/sleeping their way to the top... and the union workers want $1000/hr for jobs, that more often than not, don't need to exist. Things have to adapt. They're basically using the same film-making model since the last overhaul in the 70's. Innovation needs to happen. We have the technology and capability to make films for about 80% less money and require 80% less labor... better start putting it to practice soon.

 

Hyperbole gets you nowhere.  No union is asking for $1000/hour.  While the unions are scrambling to deal with faster/easier production techniques, you still need grips, you still need electrical, and frankly, it's on your head if you kill someone trying to do it cheap vs. doing it right.  When it comes down to it, a guy asking for enough money so he can pay his mortgage and feed his kids > an executive bitching about not being able to buy his 3rd house in Malibu.  I know you've been here "for a year", but I've been here for 7+ years and have seen my share of incompetence/idiocy at all levels.  The unions can make some things difficult, but I'd rather have them than not (and I'm not in the union).  I sincerely doubt that union labor was a significant portion of Lone Ranger's budget, btw.  I can totally see it being an issue when you're working on a $30k film, but even then there are waivers and you can even go non-union (good luck paying less than prevailing wage, though).  I got my SAG actors for what amounted to $30/each, for example.  Anyway, don't mean to nitpick.  I agree that as the new batch of filmmakers come onto the scene, we'll see cheaper films made with more modern technology, etc.  I also know that it's hard to go from "well, everyone did this for free back in film school!" to realizing that while you might be living your dream, everyone else needs to eat and pay rent. 
 

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Wonder if it has something to do with a 50 year old white guy playing a Native American. Cause we all know there are 0 Native American actors...

 

 

 

Well, he got an heck of a tan though....

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