29 mars 2012

Overfed Hollywood Economists

Should we cry for Hollywood?
  • Hollywood imports ONLY 8.4% of foreign films, and blames foreign countries (whose market is at least 40 to 80% from Hollywood) for being too "protectionists"
  • Hollywood gets 2/3rd of their BO from overseas, yet doesn't even give a chance to foreign films in the USA
  • Hollywood whines about the difficult economy of a 100 to 300 Million$ budget movie, while the rest of the world just makes fine popular entertainment with 1 to 30 Million$ max per production
Get real America!!! The World will not complain if you stop making movies budgeted over 100 M$ !!! Focus on quality, and forget about hiding your lack of talent behind piles of advertising money...

Look at South Korea, a market inspired by Hollywood in every way (except they have talents!), they make better entertainment than Hollywood, with a fraction of the Hollywood economy, and their best movies would deserve to get planetary blockbuster status over such failures as John Carter or The Green Lantern...
Look at the attendance of Bollywood movies, with budgets equals to your so-called "indie" market!
Face it Hollywood... you suck at this. Pouring more money into a bottomless pit, and bullying foreign markets into breaking their quotas, is all you know how to do to keep the appearance of a world-leading industry... 

The struggling World market spoon-feeding an oversized Cuckoo nestling (Hollywood) parasite who can't take care of itself

Kristin Thompson: "One summer does not a slump make. Nor does an entire year. Yet at the end of 2011, the press was trumpeting the fact that the film industry was suffering a slump that might become permanent. After all, “the movies are in a slump!” makes for more catchy copy than “the movies have sunk back to normal” or “the movies are in a downturn from which they will probably recover.” [..]
Hollywood box office has its ups and downs, which is only to be expected. One year the successful releases cluster together; another year, they spread out or drop off a little. Any decline will be seized upon by many reporters as a slump, a sign that people are souring on the movies and turning to the many other forms of pop-culture entertainment available in the digital age. [..]
We’ve seen that Avatar’s 2010 box office was comparable to two major blockbusters. [..] That’s the equivalent of having four very high-grossing films in one year. [..] These are exceptional years, so one would expect the box-office to sink afterward. Yet somehow the industry and the world of entertainment journalism see years with such big box-office spikes as forming the new norms against which all other years should be judged. Studio executives seem to think that 2002 or 2010 indicate a realistic goal that they could achieve all the time, if only they could put out the right films. Almost inevitably, articles on declines in box office end with the notion that the films released in that particular year or quarter were just not appealing enough. But of course, there’s no way to deliberately achieve such a combination of blockbusters."
Finally an American scholar with a reality check. She never mentions the indie market or the absence of foreign films (focusing essentially on 3D products, Digital conversion and commercial movies), but we're getting there baby step by baby step...
It's a little more reality-based economy than what David Bordwell did  2 years ago (my comment at the bottom of this post). However I notice that Kristin now pays attention to explain the jargon when she uses "worldwide gross", "international gross", and "North-American market". 
 It's important that more institutional authorities start to speak the truth about Hollywood self-deceiving PR, so that the press stop to report whatever memos they got from Hollywood tycoons writing their own history, and start pointing a CRITICAL eye at their fantasized accounting and wasteful economy. The emperor with no cloth is in Hollywood, not at major festivals!
 More theaters theoretically need more product. (More on that below.)
I was hanging on her promise to elaborate on this point, but she didn't actually go back to screens or distributed titles...

* * *
"[..] The $10.54 billion BO take in 2010 represented a small decline from the $10.6 billion in 2009, those missing grosses could be almost entirely chalked up to the lack of an Avatar-sized smash in that year's mix of titles and were perhaps only a mild source of concern for the industry. No such luck in brutal 2011, which saw an international BO dip of 3.5% to a mere $10.2 billion in grosses. Worse still was the continued evaporation in attendance. [..]"
The Great Slide (Donald Wilson; Film Comment; March-April 2012)
Supposedly this guy is an "industry veteran" (according to the byline), yet he still can't tell the difference between "international BO" ($22.4 billion in 2011) and "domestic BO" ($10.2 billion in 2011), please refer to Kristin Thompson article above, or directly to the MPAA theatrical report PDF. The international BO climbed, the domestic BO lowered. However, nothing to be alarmed about, the movie business is not an exact science... People buy tickets or not on an individual basis, and make this decision every week of the year... so even with quality entertainment it would be impossible to predict or to maintain the EXACT SAME number of consumers two years in a row. IT JUST NATURALLY FLUCTUATES!!!! As long as there is no dramatic drop of 50% of the previous average, there is no reason to even MENTION IT, because it has no relevance on the current quality of the offering or the state of mind of the consumers. Hollywood is not the Wall Street stock market, where nano-second variations of a fraction of 1% of the value mean a lot of business changes.
This "expert" blames the (insignificant) decline on a "dreadful winter" and the "Oscar race"... [insert rolling eyes] It's also ironic how he labels foreign titles (which production budget was paid-for by foreign producers) as "loss makers" in his table of all titles distributed by American studios (who only buy the rights to distribute foreign films, and pay for the minimal marketing costs, which are a fraction of what a normal American-made commercial movie costs, since foreign titles open on less than 10 screens in general)... 
"[..] There was a bright spot: Landmark Theatres, the specialty art-house chain that operates 63 venues in 17 states, saw a 4% uptick in attendance, without loads of 3D gimmickery.) [..]"
Did you see what the "arthouse" fare represents on the USA market? Scrap!
It's nice to show you care about how the industry works, from the business side, but Film Comment doesn't need to turn into The Hollywood Reporter... the MAJOR STUDIOS already have enough press dedicated to their self-congratulatory PR. Why don't you try to show some care for your target niche : EVERYTHING ELSE (American indies, repertory and FOREIGN CINEMA)? That's what the specialized "cinéphile" press is supposed to cover and champion, not to pat in the back the major studios who have staff hired to pat them in the back already... Apart from Gavin Smith, are there any readers of FC who care about the accounting side of BIG HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS??? 


2 commentaires:

HarryTuttle a dit…

"The global success of James Cameron's 1997 disaster film opened the doors for $200m-grossing blockbusters, but eroded the status of the 'singular' film [..]
Titanic arrived just as Hollywood's profit-centre was switching from US domestic to the overseas market, and it was the most dramatic demonstration yet of what a sustained global haul could achieve (it did just over two-thirds of its business outside America, a high figure for 1997). The studios readjusted accordingly, and upped the pace: in the noughties, the $900m-grossing blockbuster became the norm, with the built-in safety net of vast marketing budgets and franchises that locked in audiences. By the middle of the decade, Fox chairman Bill Mechanic was moaning that the market couldn't support 12 blockbusters a year; by 2007, the number was nearer 20. The event movie, in short, had stopped being an event."
How Titanic sank the event movie (Phil Hoad; The Guardian; 3 April 2012)

HarryTuttle a dit…

"In today’s digital distribution market, which ranges from VOD, to iTunes and other smaller online outlets, the numbers are hard to find or verify. [..]
Distributors try to hide or not make public their fees or the specific revenues from VOD. Why do they do this? Simply, it’s harder to analyze and compare options. When one can do this properly, you quickly realize how excessive fees are for certain rights categories and that there are extra middlemen who often serve no benefit to the licensor. [..]
Studios are less transparent and public about data because their dealings with Cable MSOs and key digital platforms are required to be secret (I am told this is a condition of the platforms and the MSOs). So we understand that their splits / terms (with MSOs and some platforms) are better but we do not always get the exact data. [..]
What would be the benefit of greater transparency?
2.Filmmakers and industry folk could spend less on business-to-business transactions and more on direct-to-audience marketing and community engagement.
3.We might actually see greater quality and less quantity--which would also positively impact audiences and create a more sustainable career for those who are the more talented.
4.We might see more innovative thinking around marketing for a change instead of having everyone rest on their laurels because no one can really evaluate what has or has not worked."
What The Film Industry Needs: Transparency (Orly Ravid; 9 April 2012)