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Steven Spielberg Predicts 'Implosion' of Film Industry


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#41 of 62 ONLINE   schan1269

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Posted June 14 2013 - 05:00 PM

To me, your number two "long winded" explanation is unnecessary.

The title of a book, changed to the main character whom is merely a vehicle for the story around him...add in Disney.

I was disinterested in this movie when I googled John Carter and saw Disney.

#42 of 62 OFFLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted June 14 2013 - 05:41 PM

Michael, I'm really confused by your listing of Spielberg projects.  You clearly admit that you removed the titles that didn't fit your assumptions.  Is your intent to say that Spielberg doesn't encourage younger filmmakers in their starts in the business?   How do you explain the donations he has made to USC among other places, as well as his commitment to education?   Or are you saying that because he has put money into popcorn movies, he shouldn't have an opinion here?

 

I agree that the gloom and doom prediction is over the top, but I wouldn't say that his only contribution to film has been to make big budget entertainments.

 

My mother has made donations to USC as has even deadbeat filmmakers who have come out of there.  He can put his money where his mouth (in this article) is and give young filmmakers a break just like the one he got when he was young.  Yeah, he shouldn't have an opinion on Hollywood blowing itself up when he's doing nothing more than funding these types of movies.  He's one of the biggest problems that awful films like TRANSFORMERS are getting made and he can share the blame that they are being released with God-awful screenplays.  Of course, we can always blame people for skipping BEFORE MIDNIGHT in favor of MAN OF STEEL but this here is the world we live in.  Heck, if I was a producer I'd give cash to Michael Bay before a majority of talented filmmakers but I shouldn't then turn around and be upset at the current state of Hollywood.



#43 of 62 OFFLINE   Ejanss

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Posted June 14 2013 - 07:58 PM

I'm just suspiciously wondering what are all these "$250M movies" that George and Steve say are going to be crippling disasters, all of a sudden?

We've just had the fallout from After Earth (but, it was Will Smith!  And it was directed by Shyamalan, he used to have hits!), and a lot of articles are now popping up over Hollywood's surprise that The Internship didn't do well (what happened?--It was the Wedding Crashers actors and director!), but those weren't excessively studio-crippling disasters to put the fear of Audience into studios, on the level of last year's Battleship and Dark Shadows.

 

Apart from Man of Steel, on which juries are just now deliberating their verdict, I know offhand of only one "$250M blockbuster" this summer to be worried about that would fit the "studio budget troubles" description, and think we may have gotten some proof--Not sure, mind, but think someone may have just gotten a look at The Lone Ranger early....

(I keep trying to warn everyone, but they never believe me!  :blink:   )

 

Every June, right at the halfway-mark after the May studio-action tentpoles don't deliver as hoped (Robin Hood?  Prince of Persia?) and the June guy-comedies don't live up to pedigrees, we traditionally get the early-panic "What happened to summer?  Is Hollywood finally doomed?" articles until the July 4 weekend shows up.

The Hollywood Reporter put out an interesting article, though, that correctly isolates a few of the specific symptoms of the current disease:

When Studio Loyalty To Talent Backfires


Edited by Ejanss, June 14 2013 - 10:10 PM.


#44 of 62 OFFLINE   Edwin-S

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Posted June 14 2013 - 10:32 PM

Spielberg talking about video games = STFU. Stating that videogames can't tell a story or make consumers care about the characters is a statement bordering on the brain dead. Maybe he should try checking his facts, because last time I heard the videogame industry was vastly outstripping the movie industry in revenues. Also, you wouldn't follow a game series like "Halo" if you didn't care about the character and what happens to him through the course of the game play. I wouldn't have played all three games in the "Uncharted" series If I didn't want to see how Drake's story unfolded in each installment.

 

Lucas lamenting about movies "being made for the masses and ignoring niche audiences" is laughable, because it is so pathetically hypocritical coming from the man who helped usher in the very thing that he is now lamenting about. Let me guess, Lucas didn't make STAR WARS for the masses. He made it for the niche opera loving audience that saw the word opera in "space opera" and rushed out to see it. RED TAILS?? Who did he make that one for? The niche audience that gets its historical information off the back of a cereal box?

 

Also, charging different rates for different movies will only be the final nail in the coffin for the movie theater business. I wouldn't have gone to see Spielberg's LINCOLN movie for 7 dollars, because a movie about Lincoln's life doesn't interest me enough to see it in a theater. If IRON MAN 3 cost 25 bucks to see it in a theater then I wouldn't pay to see it, because IRON MAN 3 isn't worth 25 bucks to see.

 

Edit: corrected typo in Spielberg's name.


Edited by Edwin-S, June 14 2013 - 10:39 PM.

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#45 of 62 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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Posted June 15 2013 - 01:14 PM

Again, Michael, I'm not seeing the reality to justify your attacks on Spielberg.

 

I agree with you that he and Lucas have put their name on plenty of popcorn movies.  No argument there.

 

But you're completely dismissing the work that both men have done to encourage young filmmakers.  I wouldn't call either of them "deadbeats" in this respect at all.   And I don't understand why you dismiss their donations when you applaud others.

 

You also don't know about the multiple ways these guys have in fact encouraged up and coming filmmakers over time.  You cite only the movies that list Spielberg as a producer, but you don't take the time to look into what work he has done as the head of Amblin and DreamWorks to make it possible for younger and newer filmmakers to get into the fold.  You don't look at the work either of these guys has done at USC to encourage film students.  

 

It's frankly too easy to ignore the good things these guys do.   I agree they've both had their hands in plenty of the popcorn movies that have spurred the industry toward where it is today.  And I agree that a lot of their warnings here are more hyperbole than anything else.   But they're not wrong on every count and I wouldn't discount or attack everything they're saying here.  



#46 of 62 OFFLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted June 15 2013 - 01:23 PM

Kevin, we just have different opinions on what helping someone actually means.  Him giving a speech does jack for young filmmakers IMO.  Plus, I'm pretty sure even John Carpenter speaks more at USC than Spielberg or Lucas put together.  Him getting into his (or the studios) checkbook and giving money to filmmakers is what counts and by what I've shown he has yet to do this.  You can't complain about blockbusters killing Hollywood when you yourself do NOTHING but make blockbusters.  Heck, someone like George Clooney is doing more for "niche" movies or young filmmakers than the biggest name in the history of cinema. 

 

Please tell me the last time encouragement has gotten a film student some money?  There's no question that they are great people to go out on a date with and I'm sure they're the hot cheerleader everyone wants to take out but to pretend that either of them are doing anything where it counts is something I'm obviously missing.

 

Where is their money going to help these "niche" films that both of them seem to be worried about and why are they doing nothing but giving money to these blockbusters that they are also upset about?  If Spielberg gave that $150 million for TRANSFORMERS to some young filmmakers then we could get dozens of "niche" titles that they are so worried about.  But, again, they aren't producing anything like that.

 

I don't see anything to justify your support of them and the types of movies they are putting money into.



#47 of 62 ONLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted June 15 2013 - 01:31 PM

Kevin, we just have different opinions on what helping someone actually means.  Him giving a speech does jack for young filmmakers IMO.  Plus, I'm pretty sure even John Carpenter speaks more at USC than Spielberg or Lucas put together.  Him getting into his (or the studios) checkbook and giving money to filmmakers is what counts and by what I've shown he has yet to do this.  You can't complain about blockbusters killing Hollywood when you yourself do NOTHING but make blockbusters.  Heck, someone like George Clooney is doing more for "niche" movies or young filmmakers than the biggest name in the history of cinema. 

 

Please tell me the last time encouragement has gotten a film student some money?  There's no question that they are great people to go out on a date with and I'm sure they're the hot cheerleader everyone wants to take out but to pretend that either of them are doing anything where it counts is something I'm obviously missing.

 

Where is their money going to help these "niche" films that both of them seem to be worried about and why are they doing nothing but giving money to these blockbusters that they are also upset about?  If Spielberg gave that $150 million for TRANSFORMERS to some young filmmakers then we could get dozens of "niche" titles that they are so worried about.  But, again, they aren't producing anything like that.

 

I don't see anything to justify your support of them and the types of movies they are putting money into.

Michael,

 

You have no idea how much monies both Lucas and Spielberg have given to help young filmmakers.  Lucas alone gave USC 180 million to their film school.  I'm sure both of them have given millions more anonymously to schools and individuals.  I think Spielberg probably does so moreso considering he likes to downplay his public persona while Lucas is more visible at USC.  Both filmmakers have their faults like the rest of us, but I'm pretty sure they believe in helping others as well as their film industry.  Could they do more?  Only they can say for sure.


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#48 of 62 OFFLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted June 15 2013 - 02:59 PM

Robert, where are the films?  Even if that's off topic, how can anyone read what they said in that article and not be confused when you look at the films they are producing?  If they're so worried about blockbusters killing off niche films then why are they just producing more blockbusters?  Don't you think that both of them are powerful enough to where they could walk away from TRANSFORMERS 4 and instead start making more niche titles? 

 

Most people give to their schools but these two grads have enough power to give a student the money, the spotlight, the exposure, the release (be it Sundance, streaming or something bigger) and perhaps get them better known to the world but instead they are giving Michael Bay $150+ million.  I just don't see where anything they're doing makes sense of what they said in that article. 


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#49 of 62 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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Posted June 15 2013 - 04:00 PM

Michael, I'm going to disagree with your response.  But I'll try to be specific, as you seem to be confusing parts of what I'm saying.

 

I'm not just talking about giving a speech at USC, although most successful filmmakers tend to do that.   I was referring to both Lucas and Spielberg generously donating to film school programs there and elsewhere.  I agree with Robert that there are likely many areas where they (and others) donate anonymously. 

 

In the case of George Lucas, you can look up his record, particularly in the 80s, of supporting non-blockbuster productions, including Powaqqatsi and Kagemusha.   You can look at the people he's hired to direct for him, including Bill Norton and Mel Smith.   The part that would be interesting to check would be the work that Lucasfilm has done in the Bay Area to support local filmmakers or to help with scholarships for film students.   In the case of Steven Spielberg, he's had his hands in a LOT of pies.  You admitted that you removed a bunch of the imdb producer credits from your list earlier.  I would add to this that he's supported younger filmmakers via Amblin and DreamWorks, in far greater of a capacity than he got when he was starting out.  We should remember that Spielberg started out as a novice filmmaker whose work was seen by Sid Sheinberg, who proceeded not to give him a pile of money but instead to give him a chance to direct one segment of the "Night Gallery" pilot.  Spielberg was by no means given the keys to the city with that, and he has admitted that he wound up spending several years directing television episodes before he finally made "Duel".  

 

I do agree that I wouldn't classify either "Red Tails" or Lincoln" as some kind of micro-budgeted independent movie.  "Red Tails" was an in-house Lucasfilm project which got released based on Lucas' name in spite of its major shortcomings.   "Lincoln" was a prestige movie for both Spielberg and Daniel Day Lewis, and it certainly looked sumptuous enough onscreen.  I agree that neither of these movies was in any danger of being turned over to HBO - Lucas couldn't have brought "Red Tails" there as they had already made a TV movie on that subject, and Spielberg easily has the clout to make anything he wants.

 

The issue they were discussing in the press conference wasn't their desire to make extremely low budget movies.  (Although Lucas has certainly talked about doing so in the past)  They were talking about the growing divide between the mega-budget blockbuster at 250 million dollars and the tiny indie movie market at 1 million dollars.  The concern is that the whole middle area of moderately budgeted movies seems to be fading out.  I agree that much of the gloomy scenario they were presenting is hyperbole that doesn't line up with the reality we see today.  But I'm not going to attack them for not doing enough to make low budget movies themselves.  It could actually be argued that both men tend to work in the moderate budget area for their own movies - look at Raiders and E.T., for example.   Their point is that the moderate area is the one that's contracting.   Lucas' idea is not to make a movie for 250 million, but instead to make a movie for 25-50 million and have It MAKE 250 million.



#50 of 62 OFFLINE   Ejanss

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Posted June 15 2013 - 04:41 PM


I do agree that I wouldn't classify either "Red Tails" or Lincoln" as some kind of micro-budgeted independent movie.  "Red Tails" was an in-house Lucasfilm project which got released based on Lucas' name in spite of its major shortcomings.   "Lincoln" was a prestige movie for both Spielberg and Daniel Day Lewis, and it certainly looked sumptuous enough onscreen.  I agree that neither of these movies was in any danger of being turned over to HBO - Lucas couldn't have brought "Red Tails" there as they had already made a TV movie on that subject, and Spielberg easily has the clout to make anything he wants.

 

Spielberg's getting a bit drama-queen about Lincoln:
ISTR it was the big draw in December theaters, not so much in numbers as compared to The Hobbit, but easily more in prestige compared to Les Miserables.  I hope no one's immature enough to still expect "dinosaurs and spaceships" when we hear Spielberg do a film these days; in 2012, when the director of War Horse and Saving Private Ryan said he wanted to do a Lincoln biography, we listened, and Daniel Day-Lewis delivered.  If he wants to make himself a martyr next to his own x-produced Transformers sequels, he'll have to bring his own cross. (Tell you what, Steve, you want to help bring down the bloat of blockbusters, then help do your part for mankind and please punch Michael Bay in the face when he brings you that outline for TF4...No, on second thought, hit him twice, I want to get him back for Deep Wang.)

As for Lucas...I'll believe his whining about Red Tails if he had taken the trouble to actually direct it, as he kept saying he was going to do for most of the Willow-era post-Jedi 80's.  As it is, it's armchair whining, and from a retiree at that.

 

As for "So what the heck are they so bugged about anyway??" I'll take back earlier theories:

It's not Lone Ranger; Hollywood still thinks that one's going to be a hit.  No, the obsessive talk of Hollywood right now is horror stories of the mounting budgets, rewrites, re-shoots, revamps, and otherwise bad karma surrounding World War Z, and while I wasn't rushing to the theater after the trailer, I hadn't heard about the panic predictions till last week.  In the industry at the moment, the very title is what "Waterworld" was fifteen years ago, and the WWZ producer came just that close to lashing out at bad set publicity stories with what's now known as "a Waterworld letter".  (You know, that's where a producer suddenly says reporters are mean and vindictive for picking on a movie's budget problems, and everything's okay now, and all you folks are all going to be sorry when it turns out to be the smash of the summer, so there.) 

So, it's apparently a big black-cloud to them.  I'm not arguing, but it would be nice if studios and directors would quit making sweeping statements about the industry based on That One Overbudgeted Blockbuster Which Shall Remain Nameless.



#51 of 62 OFFLINE   Professor Echo

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Posted June 15 2013 - 05:18 PM

In the 90's the world's only still existing silent movie theater, located here in Los Angeles, was closing because no one was willing to invest in it to save it. A tiny, but still important part of film heritage was fading away. Nothing was heard from Spielberg or Lucas even though buying and maintaining this small theater would have been an infinitesimal investment for them and made a lot of people happy, in addition to helping preserve the only venue left in the world for exclusively showcasing silent cinema. Instead a fan had to buy it and save it, renting it out to weddings and private parties to help pay for it. Now it's owned by a group of cinephiles, but no longer devoted to just silent pictures.

On the other hand, when LA's last revival house was heading into financial trouble, Quentin Tarentino stepped up and bought the building that houses the theater, thereby rescuing it from closing down forever.

There are more ways to support film than donating to a wealthy private university.

#52 of 62 ONLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted June 15 2013 - 06:11 PM

In the 90's the world's only still existing silent movie theater, located here in Los Angeles, was closing because no one was willing to invest in it to save it. A tiny, but still important part of film heritage was fading away. Nothing was heard from Spielberg or Lucas even though buying and maintaining this small theater would have been an infinitesimal investment for them and made a lot of people happy, in addition to helping preserve the only venue left in the world for exclusively showcasing silent cinema. Instead a fan had to buy it and save it, renting it out to weddings and private parties to help pay for it. Now it's owned by a group of cinephiles, but no longer devoted to just silent pictures.

On the other hand, when LA's last revival house was heading into financial trouble, Quentin Tarentino stepped up and bought the building that houses the theater, thereby rescuing it from closing down forever.

There are more ways to support film than donating to a wealthy private university.

He might be doing more than just that as Lucas pledged to give half his fortune to charity.  Like I stated earlier, he's probably given a lot more monies to supporting film than we know about.


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#53 of 62 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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Posted June 15 2013 - 06:29 PM

It's unfortunate that people are thinking they know what charity priorities should be chosen by others.

 

Someone could say as much about the end of the Mann National Theater in Westwood.  Except that Robert Redford and others did in fact try to buy the theater to save it from being demolished.  Only the land owner wanted more money than anyone was wiling to spend.  Should we hold Redford responsible for not wanting to pay a ridiculous sum? 

 

The politics of the Silent Movie Theatre are a bit more complicated, and it's not really fair to hold any one filmmaker responsible for what happened.  There was plenty of weirdness going on behind the scenes there that I won't get into here.



#54 of 62 ONLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted June 15 2013 - 06:44 PM

It's unfortunate that people are thinking they know what charity priorities should be chosen by others.

 

Someone could say as much about the end of the Mann National Theater in Westwood.  Except that Robert Redford and others did in fact try to buy the theater to save it from being demolished.  Only the land owner wanted more money than anyone was wiling to spend.  Should we hold Redford responsible for not wanting to pay a ridiculous sum? 

 

The politics of the Silent Movie Theatre are a bit more complicated, and it's not really fair to hold any one filmmaker responsible for what happened.  There was plenty of weirdness going on behind the scenes there that I won't get into here.

Not surprising as we've become such a judgmental society with little empathy for others.


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#55 of 62 OFFLINE   Professor Echo

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Posted June 15 2013 - 07:39 PM

I know the entire history of the Silent Movie Theater personally and it does not change the fact that neither Spielberg, Lucas nor any other industry person spoke out on its behalf, let alone contributed to help it. I'm sorry, but nothing I have read in their defense, either here or anywhere else, changes my opinion that they were hypocritical with their castigation of present day filmmaking and certainly disingenuous about their own participation in it. If that's being too judgmental, so be it. I've worked in the industry in LA a long time and I am confident in my assessment. So Kevin and Robert, you can believe what you want to believe and I will do the same. We can agree to disagree and for me anyway, move on.

Edited by Professor Echo, June 15 2013 - 07:52 PM.


#56 of 62 OFFLINE   theonemacduff

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Posted June 15 2013 - 08:13 PM

The whole idea is premised on several big films tanking at the same time; ask yourself -- how likely is that to happen? Seems to me it's not very likely at all, because it means that the people who usually go to these tentpole flicks are not likely to stay away from five or six of them at the same time and for the same reasons. Even the unlovliest of films will have its supporters, and if Lucas is right with his comments about films made for "the masses" (a less likely Leninist was never seen), then it seems even less likely that such a situation could occur. And of course, now that I've said this, watch it come true within hours..... Seriously, I don't think I'd grant them their premise, so the whole argument collapses like a house of cards. People get old, and get attached to past models, and I think that's what we're seeing here.



#57 of 62 OFFLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted June 15 2013 - 08:16 PM

Look, I'm not stating Lucas or Spielberg should be burned or stoned.  I'm just waiting for anyone to give me a list of movies or other things they've supporting to warrant their comments.  I know a lot of filmmakers, studios and other types spoke VERY highly of Orson Welles, his talent, his influence and everything else but none of them were willing to break out the check book.  However, this has been going on since the silent era so no one of today is really any different than those who built the studios.

 

My point is that giving money to USC is just one multi-millionaire giving to another multi-millionaire for a tax purpose.  I will say that I'm willing to bet that I talk to and know more film students than anyone here as I'm constantly in touch with them one way or another.  They either contact me for one reason or another or simply send me their student films to watch.  I think I've gotten to know some of this process over the past five or so years and I think I'm right in saying that Kevin, Robert and I are a lot closer to making a movie than any of these people are.  If they're even able to get a movie made it does nothing but lose money.  There's no money to be made with shorts in the festival rounds and it's certainly pretty hard to get any money for a feature.

 

So, once again, USC getting money is doing nothing in terms of getting it to filmmakers who could have talent to do something.  Yeah, it's nice (or great) that those who can pay the money to go to USC will have cameras, editing equipment and everything else available to them but, as Tarantino has said, the film school days aren't what they once were when Scorsese and Spielberg were going through them. 

 

Now, Spielberg and Lucas both own studios and have power, which is what independent filmmakers need to get movies made.  This here is something these two aren't doing and really haven't done in their 40+ year career.  But lets forget the past.  From this day forward, if either man truly believe in what they said, then we should be seeing a lot more smaller films getting made because if anyone can do it these two can.   



#58 of 62 OFFLINE   Ejanss

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Posted June 16 2013 - 02:36 AM

The whole idea is premised on several big films tanking at the same time; ask yourself -- how likely is that to happen?

VERY likely:  Usually in the summer (there aren't more than two or three "Christmas blockbusters", since theater showings are reduced, and November movies usually move out by December), and as a matter of fact, it happened in "The Massacres of" 2001 and 2003, and has since traumatized the living fertilizer out of studios for life.

(Quick recap:

2001 - Pearl Harbor, Swordfish, Tomb Raider, Atlantis: the Lost Empire, A.I., Planet of the Apes, Final Fantasy: Spirits Within, Jurassic Park III, and studios sacrificed chickens to learn why audiences were so attracted to Shrek.

2003 - Hulk, The Matrix Reloaded, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, Bad Boys II, Terminator 3, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Fast & the Furious 2, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, SWAT, Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life, and studios promised their virgin daughters to the Volcano God to learn why audiences were so attracted to Finding Nemo and Pirates of the Caribbean.)

 

Granted, that's sort of special circumstances; nowadays, it can happen, we just only get three flops to make studios cry "Box Office Is Dead!", and then usually all in the May rush if they stumble.

But you have to have been there to seen them be so AMAZED at why the "critic proof" Hulk and Terminator 3 turned out to be so mystifyingly audience-proof, since nobody in those days took Pixar seriously, and all the repeat business for Nemo seemed like mass insanity...What's with the kiddy film?--Didn't those paying audiences know a blockbuster when they saw one??



#59 of 62 ONLINE   schan1269

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Posted June 16 2013 - 06:54 AM

^^^

Sad part, the only one of the three blockbusters I saw in theatres was POTC. And I only saw it once.

The summer deadbeats those years, the only ones I did NOT see were Sinbad, FF:SW, JP iii and FF 2.

Except for Sinbad, I have all of them on DVD or BD.

#60 of 62 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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Posted June 16 2013 - 12:26 PM

Glen, since you know the history of the Silent Movie Theatre, I would think that you would not have expected everyone in Hollywood to get on board.   And I agree with you that it wasn't just Spielberg and Lucas that didn't show up with checkbooks for that outlet - it was everyone.  I too have worked in the business for a long time, and I agree that the comments by Spielberg and Lucas were full of hyperbole.  And I agree that they've contributed to the rise in blockbusters.  But I repeat that these guys have been known in their own productions for being a lot more sensible than to make 250 million dollar movies.  (Granted that Tintin was Spielberg's most expensive piece...)  Their issue is that the middle range movies are the ones that are disappearing.  I see the same trend that they do, but my belief is that the more expensive flops will wind up triggering a rethinking of the situation for the studios.

 

Michael, you should know that the Orson Welles situation was a little more involved than that.  I believe the phrase "burning your bridges" would come to mind.   And while I agree that USC is an expensive school (and one that I could not have afforded to attend), I wouldn't diminish the donations being made there.   There have also been plenty of donations made to UCLA.  The issue is that Spielberg and Lucas chose to donate, and I don't have a problem with them doing so.  Was it just to get a tax break?  I tend to doubt that.  These guys donate plenty to charity every year.  They donated to a film school because they're interested in the work being done there. 

 

You asked about smaller movies that they've been involved in.  I've already named Kagemusha and Powaqqatsi.  With Lucas, I'll add Twice Upon A Time, Mishima, Body Heat, Latino.   We don't even know the number of young filmmakers and students who were encouraged and supported by Lucasfilm.  I don't know that Lucasfilm is really in a position to do that anymore, since they're a wholly owned subsidiary of Disney now.  But over 30+ years of that company being an independent operator in the Bay Area, Lucas did plenty to encourage young filmmakers who were in the position he had been in at the beginning of his career.    As for Spielberg, the movies he helped produce over his career include the early Zemeckis pieces I Wanna Hold Your Hand and Used Cars, as well as Fandango, Class of 61, Semper Fi, and multiple documentaries about the Holocaust, World War II and other subjects.   Both Amblin and DreamWorks have spent plenty of time encouraging young filmmakers and hiring new talents into their teams.  Spielberg got his break because a studio executive let him direct an episode of television over 40 years ago.  In recent years, DreamWorks has hired many young aspiring filmmakers and technicians and seen them go on to solid careers.  You can find this stuff with a simple google search.    Saying that these guys have done nothing to encourage independent flimmakers is really not supported by the facts.   Sure, they're industry guys who normally make commercial movies.  But you can't just ignore the credits in their resume that you don't want to see.

 

Regarding student filmmakers, I think it's admirable that you've put the time in help these guys get started.  For myself, I have been helping people make their first movies for somewhere over ten years.   My pattern used to be that when I would finish a TV season, I would usually get a call from someone asking me to help out on one of these shorts, and then I'd work for free to get the movie scheduled and shot within the time that the director could afford.  In 2008, I worked on a full-length low-budget feature and that one had very little luck when it came to festivals or even getting a DVD release.    Two years ago, I was pulled into an AFI short and just two weeks ago I was pulled into a five day project running roughly 25 pages.  We all do this - it's part of the lifeblood of the business.  

 

I totally agree that pretty much all of these shorts and low budget features take a bath, even if they do well at the festivals.  I still remember going to Cinevegas in 2006 and watching four movies that I really, really liked proceed to make absolutely no impact.  The filmmakers who made those movies have progressed no farther in their careers - which is tragic considering that they were really showing talent with those movies.  (For the record, those movies are Danika, Park, Lies & Alibis and 5up 2down - which was finally released on DVD as "Getting High" several years later)   The fact is that Spielberg got his start in television.  He worked his way up from there.  Lucas got his start because he made a short at film school that got people's attention and he was able to parlay that into a feature version of the same story.   Both men have gone on to successful careers and they've also taken time to try to give back.  I again agree that their current warning is more than a little hyperbolic. 

 

It's not up to us to tell Lucas or Spielberg what they "should" be doing.  They've already been doing more than most other filmmakers do in terms of time, money and dedication.    I agree that newcomer independent directors usually face an uphill road, and that most independent producers will never actually succeed in making a career out of this.   But that's been the case throughout the history of the movie business.  There have always been people who really wanted to make a big movie but never could.  Ever since the 1980s, it seems that more and more people have been taking the course of financing their "big break" on their credit cards or on their own home mortgage.  And even in the face of so many people taking huge losses by doing that, there's always someone else who thinks that they're immune.   Lucas and Spielberg could spend their entire life savings trying to bail all these people out, and they'd barely make a dent.   I personally think the work they have done, in helping people start their careers and encouraging their talents, has probably been a greater good for the filmmaking community.






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