Hollywood out of ideas?

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Arjan S, Jun 16, 2006.

  1. Arjan S

    Arjan S Agent

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    I thought maybe i was just getting old when i thought their doesn't seem to much originality in the movies. It seems most Hollywood movies are sequels, remakes of movies, TV shows, or foreign movies, based on comic book, novel,short story, graphic novel, or video game and sometimes they are based on true life events or theme park ride.

    Then I checked the top 25 grossing movies for each year in the early eighties at box office mojo and it seems in in the early eighties only about 7-9 movies were based on previous properties and the others were original screenplays(ie. Raiders, ET, Back to the Future, Beverley Hills Cop, Top Gun)

    Then I checked the past few years and it is the opposite only 7-9 movie in the top 25 are original ideas.. Maybe thats why in 1996 there were approx 1.3 billion tickets sold and last year was about the same.

    Am I the only one who finds this depressing and wishing for more new ideas.
     
  2. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    Nope...you're far from alone. On the other hand, I still believe that if you can't find good movies, you aren't looking hard enough. That said, even as someone who has defended remakes in the past, I'm getting pretty sick and tired of them.
     
  3. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    Is Hollywood out of ideas?

    Yes.

    That being said, I guess it sort of depends where you live. If you're out in the boonies without many choices in more independent/foreign films, then you're especially stuck with hollywoods nonsense. Luckily where I am, in Seattle, we are almost oversaturated with great independent theaters, and one of the best video stores in the country so it's not hard to completely avoid the brain-dead nonsense that hollywood seems to be cranking out lately.

    I always joke when people talk about pirating and that sort of thing, my point is always: Hollywood should stop worrying so much about pirating until they actually start making movies people would actually WANT to steal.
     
  4. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    25 movies from an entire year is hardly a reasonable sampling. There is plenty of original stuff coming out every week, but you might have to move past the top 25 of the year. Besides, sometimes remakes are good. OK, maybe this is a bit of a rarity, but I consider the 2004 Dawn of the Dead and the 2005 Pride and Prejudice shining examples.


    Allow me to introduce you to NetFlix and NicheFlix.
     
  5. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    To me, it's not just the remakes, but the sort of mainstream films are all kind of the same fare. When one film succeeds in a certain way, Hollywood just cranks out a bunch more in the same vein until it doesn't work anymore. See Crouching Tiger and the various films like that since then, like Memoirs of a Geisha.

    We've been getting lots of comic book films. etc. It's just kind of uncreative when film after film is sort of the same cliche story as we've seen a zillion times before.
     
  6. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    On one hand I agree with you, but the success of mainstream comic book properties (Batman, Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, X-Men, etc) allows some esoteric stuff to slip by (Sin City, Hellboy, etc). If we have to sit through some cookie-cutter superhero films to get to the good stuff, that's okay by me.
     
  7. TerryRL

    TerryRL Producer

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    I don't think Hollywood is out of ideas, I just think that studio execs only want to greenlight "sure-thing" projects. With the cost of movies ever rising, studios only want to focus on properties that have the best chances of making their money back. Remakes to past successful flicks is a very low risk venture.

    Again, I don't think the industry is running dry on ideas, I just think that most of the studios have the stones to develop projects that don't have big money potential.

    Today you have to have a huge star attached to something that a studio otherwise wouldn't even think of financing. Even that often times fails to get a film off the ground (i.e. two of Jim Carrey's upcoming flicks being scrapped due to budget reasons). Those same studios would pour $100 million into another 'Ace Ventura' or 'Grinch' flick before spending it on original properties like "Used Guys" or "Ripley's Believe It or Not".
     
  8. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Sounds like they're in the wrong business. If they're that petrified of taking a loss, then why make movies at all? Just put the money in bonds or certificates of deposit. Easy earnings, little chance of loss, heck of a lot less stress.

    I keep waiting for the announcement of a Jaws remake. With today's CGI capabilities, they could definitely take that franchise ahead by leaps and bounds (technologically anyway). Perhaps use the original script that was going to have a lot more shark scenes before Spielberg and crew found the mechanical shark to be so uncooperative?

    I find it hard to believe that Universal is just going to ignore that franchise now that the technology has caught up to the concept. They just put out a new video game. Perhaps they're testing the waters (so to speak [​IMG] )?

    Or perhaps they'll wait to see how Meg fares (if it ever gets off the ground). If it's a hit, I'd definitely expect a new Jaws pic.
     
  9. Dick

    Dick Producer
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    I have a sure-fire solution to this problem, but it will never come to pass because there could never be solidarity - there would always be a few studios who would not participate:

    CAP ALL ACTOR SALARIES AT ONE MILLION DOLLARS PER PICTURE...

    Tom Cruise included. Three or four months work, no matter what kind or how challenging (unless it is for a scientist who just cured cancer), should not be rewarded with twenty five million or whatever. Top-grossing prima-donna actors (and some athletes) are getting paid fifty times what an average person earns in a lifetime for a few months of red-carpet treatment, catered meals, exotic shooting locales, a kazillion ego-driven awards shows, etc. It is really the fault of the studios for letting it get out of hand. Of course, these insane salaries trickle down to admission prices at cinemas, but in the meantime can (if the movie fails in theaters and on video) cripple studios and cause them to take fewer artistic risks on more unique and intelligent fare, relying instead upon re-hashes of the same old crap. It's disheartening.
     
  10. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    If you're just randomly naming a ludicrous number, why not only give all actors scale? After all why should Tom Cruise get any more than the actor was Thug #2 on CSI: Miami? They're both just acting, it's the same thing. Just because Tom Cruise is a major star that brings people into the theater and whose appearance will make millions of extra dollars for a studio than another actor would, I guess he shouldn't be compensated for that.
     
  11. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    I'd have no problem appearing in a movie for a paltry one million dollars. What do these people DO with that much money anyways?
     
  12. TerryRL

    TerryRL Producer

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    I believe that the time is coming when the big money actors/actresses in the industry will have to accept much smaller salaries. Its just not fiscally responsible to give anyone a salary of $20-$30 million and expect to keep a budget under control. Superstar salaries really play havoc on film budgets and its just going to get worse if something isn't done about it in the near future.

    I think more of the big money performers should do what Tom Hanks does. He mostly takes smaller upfront fees for a bigger share in the overall profits, hence what netted him so much coin for films like "Forrest Gump", "Apollo 13", "Saving Private Ryan", and "Catch Me If You Can". Not a lot of stars are willing to do this though, instead opting for fat salaries AND fat backend deals.

    What ends up happening is that studios make most of their money from home video rather than the theatrical releases (this is what Sony faced with both "Men in Black" movies, as a majority of the theatrical profits went to Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Barry Sonnenfeld, and Steven Spielberg). Sony is also facing a similar situation with "Spider-Man 3" as Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, and Sam Raimi all are getting big salaries and large pieces of the profits. Even if "Spider-Man 3" grosses over $900 million worldwide, the original film will still be the most financially lucrative for the studio in terms of the money they (the studio) made from it.

    As for another "Jaws" movie, if "Meg" turns into a big hit than you can bet Universal will dust off the "Jaws" franchise for another installment. I also love the current comic book/superhero craze, but I think the industry should be very careful not to make the same movie over and over again.

    I think the studios should focus on original ideas with new up-and-coming actors/actresses, this way budgets won't be nearly as big a concern as it would be with someone who is making $20-$30 million is headlining the film. Look at "Rush Hour 3" for example, about $42-$45 million of that film's budget will be taken by Chris Tucker, Jackie Chan, and Brett Ratner.

    As far as I'm concerned, a film should carry a huge budget if its loaded with special effects not because more than one person involved in the project is making more han $10 million.
     
  13. Nathan V

    Nathan V Supporting Actor

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    Arjan, you might want to look beyond the top 25 BO performers if you're looking for quality. There's so much great stuff being made right now by so many great directors I'm not going to bother listing them. The second half of this year is going to be incredible.

    Regards,
    Nathan
     
  14. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    The same thing that other entertainers (musicians and professional athletes, for example) do who make the big bucks.
     
  15. Patrick_S

    Patrick_S Producer

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    That's actually incorrect. Hanks’ never takes a share of the profits because with Hollywood accounting hardly anything makes a profit. Hanks’ takes a percentage of the "gross". If I recall correctly the author of Forest Gump naively signed a contract that gave him a percentage of the profits and ended up with tiny little amount because Gump's profits after all of the accounting tricks was very small.

    As for actors salaries: I believe they should get as much as they can since I certainly wouldn’t want anyone else to make a judgment on my salary and decided that I should have to take a pay cut.
     
  16. TerryRL

    TerryRL Producer

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    You're right, I should've said gross instead of profits. Still, Hanks did walk away with about $75 million for his work in 'Gump'. You're also dead-on about Hollywood's accounting practices. Peter Jackson currently has a lawsuit against New Line for their "creative accounting" in terms of his share of the LOTR profits.
     
  17. JediFonger

    JediFonger Producer

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    these discussions sprouts up in movies forum now and then. i think we should keep a sticky =).

    no1's brought up classic films yet, so i'll just bring it up. what about today's films compared to "golden age o' cinema"? 30s-40s? discuss.
     
  18. Andy Sheets

    Andy Sheets Cinematographer

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    Yeah, I recall a friend and I running down a list of every classic movie we could think of, realizing that the majority of them were based on other works, predominantly novels or plays.
     
  19. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

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    The original Hollywood ideas were mostly hoary cliches back then.

    As Ebert said:

    It's not what you are about, it's HOW you are about it.

    There are three stories in Hollywood:
    Boy Meets Girl
    Revenge
    Giant Monkey

    That's it,
    Chuck
     
  20. JediFonger

    JediFonger Producer

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    it'd be interesting 2do the same exercise for original works not based on any novels, plays or previously released sources.

    that's more right than you know. what makes a piece of art original isn't the what, it's the how. and that takes talent.


     

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