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Lucas Reflects on the Dark Side of Filmmaking


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#1 of 54 MarcusUdeh

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Posted June 30 2005 - 08:04 AM

Quote:
George Lucas has predicted the imminent demise of big-budget epics like the Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies with which he is associated. The online edition of Wired magazine quotes him as saying, "The big tent-pole movies will be the first victim of the rapid technological changes we're seeing now. ... We're just not going to see those being made anymore." Internet piracy was one of the factors influencing change, Lucas observed. "Why pay for something when you can get it for free on opening day? ... If they don't solve this problem of how to sell over the internet, the business is going to shrink, and what's produced will be more like TV movies. They'll be low budget, and there won't be as many of them." Another factor, he said, was the growth of home entertainment systems. "There is a difference between how you make things for big screen and small screen," he said. "When you're designing for DVD, you tend to end up with more close-ups, and your wide shots aren't so wide. I don't subscribe to that stylistic shift, but a lot of kids making movies now grew up on TV and DVDs -- not films in theaters -- so that's how they make movies."
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#2 of 54 Tim Glover

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Posted June 30 2005 - 08:50 AM

Interesting Marcus. I hope the tent-pole films are indeed still made because it's those that drive me to the theater. Otherwise it's a rental.

#3 of 54 DavidPla

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Posted June 30 2005 - 09:22 AM

I definitely hope Lucas is wrong. No matter how high the budget gets on TV Movies or Direct to DVD Movies, they are no match for the magic of film. It would be quite a shame if that is where the future is headed. I don't think Lucas gives future generations much credit.

#4 of 54 Jason Harbaugh

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Posted June 30 2005 - 09:26 AM

Ditto to what Tim said. I love the movie going experience, or I should say 'loved'. It is getting harder and harder to justify when patrons are so obnoxious or poor QC at theatres. But it's those tentpole pictures that make me come out on opening day or a midnight showing. I just have a very short list of theatres I will go to and I call to make sure it is playing on a specific screen in those theatres.

Anyway, it's usually these tentpole pics that really exploit the large screen and powerful sound system. I personally think this is another kneejerk 'the sky is falling' reaction to the so called 'boxoffice slump'.

#5 of 54 Holadem

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Posted June 30 2005 - 09:53 AM

Messa think he is talking out of his arse, at least as far as big movies are concerned. You can't thow a cat in hollywood right now without hitting some big budget epic.

I want some of whwat he is smoking...

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H

#6 of 54 Damin J Toell

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Posted June 30 2005 - 09:56 AM

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Messa think he is talking out of his arse, at least as far as big movies are concerned. You can't thow a cat in hollywood right now without hitting some big budget epic.


And how many of them are making the kind of money the studios want them to? You can't throw a cat at an issue of Variety without hitting a report about box office receipts being down again and again. For how much longer will studios be willing to let those films bleed money away before they decide to do something more cost-effective?

Quote:
I want some of whwat he is smoking...


Yeah, Lucas knows nothing about the film industry...

DJ

#7 of 54 Chuck Mayer

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Posted June 30 2005 - 10:15 AM

No, he does, but he's wrong here. The audience might be taking a breather, but people are still going to the cinemas. The slump is a financial myth, as well. Take a look at some of DPoland's numbers at The Hot Button. That, and thanks to DVD, almost every film is a profitmaker at some point.

Lucas is the same man who expected under $300M for his ROTS, so he's not the first guy I'd listen to for the future of cinema. Fortunately (for him and us), we decide what sells and what doesn't.

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#8 of 54 Russell G

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Posted June 30 2005 - 10:34 AM

Actually, Lucas is giving future film watchers exactly the credit they deserve. I know more people who downloaded the big summer movies and watched them on their PC's and declared that they sucked, as opposed to people who saw them in a proper theater setting and enjoyed them. Let's face it, big movies don't play well when downloaded by ignorant f**k's who would rather watch a s****ty handy cam version than sprout off about it than actually see the film the way the creators made it.

Lucas knows damn well how the movie buisiness works, and that's to cater to the lowest common denominator so you can milk the most money out of the film. If that denominator is content with bootleg quality s**t, or, in my opinion, need to feel like rebels by watching stolen product in order to get hard, than why waist money on producing big budget epics?

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#9 of 54 Magnus T

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Posted June 30 2005 - 10:55 AM

Russell, spare me.

This year has been HORRIBLE so far when it comes to films. I have not watched one film in the theater this year, and the only reason is that there has been absolutely zero films I've been interested in seeing. I have yet to buy one film from this year on DVD also. The only film I'm looking forward to is Batman Begins which premiers July 15th here.

This is a message to the studios:
You start making smart, thought- provoking movies I'll be watching them.

I urge everyone to buy the Daredevil: DC DVD to hear how Hollywood producers really think. I don't remember his name, but he said something about "intellectual property" not having any place in theatrical movies, which was why the movie was cut by over 30 mins.

Stop underestimating the audience, goddamit!! People WANT smart movies, no matter what you silly Hollywood producers think.
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#10 of 54 Alex Spindler

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Posted June 30 2005 - 10:59 AM

I don't think I'd agree with his conclusion. The reason that we don't see stellar numbers for movies isn't because of piracy or DVD sales, or any other cause. There are simply far too many big budget films, 'event' scaled films from too many studios.

Is there any reason to wonder why we don't have stellar numbers for all of them. They're often of arguable equivalent quality but coming in such quantity that we're given at least one per week that all aim to hit certain peaks. Heck, I remember seeing a movie again a week or three later because nothing else of note had even come out. How many weeks go by that there isn't some big notable release (February dregs notwithstanding)?

There seems to be some belief that if we'd shell out lots of money for a good event film, we'll shell out twice as much for two of them. Worse, they come so often as to still have another, similar movie in our recent memory so it doesn't seem fresh and new and fun. Is there any reason to think that Troy, Alexander, and Kingdom of Heaven wouldn't have done at least marginally better if they had some time distance from Gladiator (and, of course) from each other).


I mean, look at the slate of Marvel movies coming up. They aren't even a studio per se, but their schedule is a never-ending juggernaut. When we get tired of seeing comic movies and give lackluster performance, is it because of piracy or just plain saturation? I rarely see a movie a second time anymore (a very common occurance up to the mid-90s for me) because there's so much coming up to see that I just don't have the time. And I don't have a very restricted budget. For those that do, there's no way they could see Batman Begins and War of the Worlds and Fantastic Four more than once (if that). And they all came out within a weeks of each other.

#11 of 54 Chuck Mayer

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Posted June 30 2005 - 11:02 AM

Oddly enough, I think it's been a damn good year for movies. Granted, I only see about 15-20 films a year anymore, but they tend to be quite good.

I think there is simply a lot of competition for those dollars.

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Chuck
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#12 of 54 Malcolm R

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Posted June 30 2005 - 11:17 AM

Sounds like more billionaire sour grapes to me.

Oh woe is me, I only made $45 billion dollars this year instead of $47 billion, woe is me, how will I ever be able to maintain my 12 houses and 55 fancy cars on such chicken-feed? Posted Image

I'm all for Lucas getting out of the film business. He can crawl into his little hidey-hole and pull the sod in on top of him if he wants. I won't shed a tear.

How many weeks go by that there isn't some big notable release
Actually, for this summer it pretty much ends at Fantastic Four. I suppose you can count Charlie & the Chocolate Factory and The Dukes of Hazzard as big films, but there's really nothing else out there until the holiday season. We seem to get big films every week from mid-May to July 4th, then that's it until fall. The studios are definitely cannibalizing each other. If they'd spread them out over the year, they'd definitely do better. As The Passion showed, you can have a $400M blockbuster even in "the dregs of February" if you actually put out a film that people want to see.

Contrary to popular belief, people do not hibernate from September to May.
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#13 of 54 MikeRS

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Posted June 30 2005 - 11:38 AM

I would advise against taking out of context quotes from an IMDB (!) news story, at face value. Lucas clearly stated in the original piece this was taken from, that the communal theatergoing expertience will never completely go away. People will always want to see movies in the theater -- but changes to the Hollywood infrastructure are definitely coming.


And Malcolm, even when Lucas isn't personally directing a motion picture, he's completely affecting the industry. His influence is vast. It's naive not to realize that.

The biggest directors and studio executives in Hollywood would testify to this.

#14 of 54 Chuck Mayer

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Posted June 30 2005 - 11:45 AM

Mike,
Others are just as influential, several moreso. I respect Lucas immensely, but the industry would survive (and thrive) without him. I just don't think it'll have to.

And I was unaware the quote originated from an imdb article...that makes the quote worthless. It's a gossip site.

I should have known from the title Posted Image

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#15 of 54 Kirk Tsai

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Posted June 30 2005 - 12:49 PM

I recall in the Siskel and Ebert interview book, "The Future of the Movies," Lucas was already on this course of thinking (the other two filmmakers were Spielberg and Scorsese). The book seemed most inspired by high-def projectors that Siskel and Ebert had seen. That book came out more than a decade ago. Then already, Lucas was pretty sure that the future was home theater projection with a pay per view type of system.

#16 of 54 Brent M

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Posted June 30 2005 - 01:17 PM

Jason,

I know exactly what you mean about it becoming harder and harder to tolerate people at the movie theater these days. I went to see War of the Worlds last night and probably 75% of the crowd was obnoxious little high-school age kids. They talked and giggled through the film, played with their damn cell phones and just generally pissed me off. I'm not a grumpy old man or anything(I'm only 32), but I do find it very annoying seeing a movie in a crowded theater these days. I was lucky enough to get a private screening of Episode III the night before it opened and it's a good thing I didn't have to put up with a bunch of asshole teenagers during that movie or I might have cracked a few skulls. The bottom line is that going to the theater is occurring less freqently these days for me. The only movies I've seen at the theater since last fall are Episode III, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Batman Begins and War of the Worlds. As it stands right now, those are probably the ONLY movies I'll be seeing at the theater until December when King Kong comes out. Everything else that's on the horizon is either a DVD rental or purchase as far as I'm concerned and after my experience during WotW last night I don't plan on going back to a crowded theater anytime soon.



Malcolm,

I didn't detect any sour grapes in Lucas' statements, but I surely detected them in your little rant.
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#17 of 54 Russell G

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Posted June 30 2005 - 02:04 PM

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Russell, spare me.


Good point, this year has been the damn week as far as interesting movies goes. All I'm saying is, of my friends who have enjoyed current movies from the past 3 years, the chasm between the ones who saw them in the theaters and enjoyed them and the ones who downloaded them, watched them on their computers and hated them is vast. Factor that into marketing dollars, with the marketing people knowing that people think their all bad ass by watching stolen property, and knowing that this piracy is causing the numbers to go down in theater audiences (find me one person who downloaded a movie on opening week end who didn't justify it by saying something to the effect of "If Hollywood made good movies, I'd support them.") and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to extend this to a conlusion where they think that the audience would be satisfied with lower spectical, ie cheaper pictures. I'm talking about the money guys and marketers here, the souless, artless demon money worshipping scum that actually manage the money and make pictures happen.

And no, I'm not stupid, I really don't think that downloading is bankrupting Hollywood, it is a great excuse for studios to make to justify poor returns for:

Quote:
There are simply far too many big budget films, 'event' scaled films from too many studios.


Absolutly right Alex! We live in a day and age where every single studio movie has to have a min $150,000 opening weekend to be considered a success. In stead of making interesting pictures that can captivate an audience, the studios have chosen to make giant big dick waving special effects extravaganzas. Now don't get me wrong, I like big d... uh, special effect extravaganzas, but not every time I go to a movie.

I remember a interview with Ebert, from the 90's, in which he expressed concern that our movie culture (my term, movie culture, because I can't think of what else to call it) was heading in the direction where the Hong Kong industry had already arrived. Basically, that movies would be expected to be huge, make a ton of cash the first couple of weeks, than bang, another huge movie, at the cost of generally dumbed down movies. Pretty astute prophecy from Ebert, if my newspaper listing of what's playing is any indication.

I think this is very real, at a very real cost as to what we can expect to see at the theater in the future. Steven Soderberg already announced that he is working on a project that well be done on DV and released to theaters, home video, and pay-per-view at the same time. I like Soderberg's stuff, so I'm sure this release well be pretty great, but I'll put money down that it not's going to be exactly Lawrence Of Arabia in scope and awe inspiring spectical.

#18 of 54 Yee-Ming

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Posted June 30 2005 - 02:10 PM

I'd agree with Lucas's observation that if you shoot with the ultimate display medium in mind, i.e. DVD in a home theater rather than a full-blown cinema, stylistically things are going to be a little different. However, precisely because DVD is such a nice little earner, there's still plenty of incentive for studios to "invest" in big-budget epics, and even if the box office is less than stellar, they'll continue to make money hand over fist in DVD sales.

But I do agree with the other sentiments expressed: box office is down because cinema-going is such a dicey experience these days -- I've only seen two movies in the cinema this year, ROTS and BB; and I will probably try to catch WotW there as well, precisely because it is the sort of "big budget epic" that should be caught in a cinema. Everything else can wait until the DVD comes out. Also, the alternative to the cinema is now quite attractive: our HT setups are a far cry from a 29" (or at best 33") 4:3 TV with a VCR.

#19 of 54 Malcolm R

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Posted June 30 2005 - 02:43 PM

I didn't detect any sour grapes in Lucas' statements, but I surely detected them in your little rant.
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#20 of 54 DavidPla

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Posted June 30 2005 - 02:56 PM

Quote:
Oddly enough, I think it's been a damn good year for movies. Granted, I only see about 15-20 films a year anymore, but they tend to be quite good.


I totally agree! There's been more quality blockbusters this summer than any other summer I can think of. While this year we have had great blockbuster films from "Star Wars: Episode III", "Batman Begins" and "War of the Worlds" while last summer there was... "Spider-Man 2"... which is about it.


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