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Justice Department Moves to Terminate Paramount Consent Decrees

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Adam Lenhardt, Nov 18, 2019.

  1. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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  2. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Lead Actor

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    In the context of our modern world, this could be very bad for movies and audiences.
     
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  3. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    Nice to see them trying to get rid of some of those lousy antitrust laws. I was worried that corporations weren't going to get make even more money that they don't need. Maybe we can keep turning the clock back and toss some of those pesky child labor laws then the money can really start to roll in.
     
  4. Mike2001

    Mike2001 Supporting Actor

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    I want to see the 6 day work week returned!
     
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  5. John*Wells

    John*Wells Screenwriter

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    It’s all about money
     
  6. DFurr

    DFurr Supporting Actor
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    This is bad news for mom and pop locations.
     
  7. John*Wells

    John*Wells Screenwriter

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    yep. Remember when Star Wars came out theatres were reluctant to show it but had to in order to get other films that they wanted
     
  8. Wayne_j

    Wayne_j Cinematographer

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  9. RobertR

    RobertR Executive Producer

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  10. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Lead Actor

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    This is bad news all around. Let's hope cooler heads prevail and these stay in place.
     
  11. Nick*Z

    Nick*Z Screenwriter

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    This is not bad news. It's a reinstatement of the principles that largely made Hollywood what it was back int he halcyon days of studio-controlled product.

    There was more diversity within that product because the studios knew they could experiment with topics and genres outside of the box because they were at least guaranteed a venue in which to be seen and could, essentially find their audience and turn a profit. And making it clear that the 'return' (if it occurs) will not include block-booking, ensures that the indies can still survive as well. The perceived advantage the consent decrees had in the mid-fifties was minimal if, in fact, non-existent. It didn't free up indie houses and theaters to find one another on a fairer playing field. All it did was close a lot of smaller picture houses and movie palaces, fracturing every studio's ability to cultivate a star-system and maintain an 'in house' style of artisans signed to long-term contracts.

    When that ended, so too did the era of taking chances in Hollywood. You had to make a blockbuster to survive. So, what do we have today? A proliferation of sequels, prequels, remakes and endless franchise film-making (DC, Marvel, Star Wars, et al). That hasn't helped Hollywood's outlook for true cinephiles either! Personally, I am all for the reversal. Bring it on!
     
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  12. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I think there is some potential danger and I understand the skepticism.

    But I think there’s also a certain truth to Nick’s statement.

    And then you have that this is already the business model for the new streaming outlets. Netflix makes its own show or movie and shows it on Netflix, etc. and that’s why you’re seeing the diversity of storytelling and risk taking on those platforms instead of theatrical.

    But then there’s this: the theatrical model as it’s stood for the last century or so is dying, and there’s no way around that. An industry that thrives in an era when it was the only way to view prerecorded content is going to have trouble in a new era where people have many more options for how and when and what to watch. And whether the theaters are owned by third parties or the studios themselves, I think audiences have spoken pretty clearly about what is and what isn’t worth their time/money/effort to see theatrically in the 21st century, and I don’t think changing the shingle above the theater will have much impact on that. A year ago, a movie like “Doctor Sleep” would have been seen as a sure thing, but the public reaction seems to have been, “Why should I go see that in theaters when there’s plenty of stuff just like it on TV, and it’ll be on TV in three months anyway.” Audience surveys and prerelease tracking showed that people wanted to see the movie, and that people who saw it liked it. There just wasn’t a compelling reason for audiences to see it in theaters in today’s environment. If Warner owned the theaters instead of Regal, I don’t think the movie would have sold an extra ticket.
     
  13. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    If I had to guess the reasoning behind this DOJ opinion coming down now, it's that Disney+ raises very similar concerns to the vertical integration that led to United States v. Paramount Pictures.
     
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  14. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    It’s funny this popped up when it did because I had just been thinking about how D+ and the other direct-to-consumer services from studios seemed to be very much the spiritual successors of that formerly banned practice.
     
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  15. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    Leaving aside that people vote with their wallet and they're spending billions on endless and forgettable comic book movies, I think this would make studios put even more of their eggs in their franchise baskets. There is no chance that this would result in smaller movies or a wider variety of movies. The only thing that causes that is the public not going to franchise pictures by the millions.
     
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  16. RobertR

    RobertR Executive Producer

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    I don't think anyone is under the illusion that this decision is going to return us to the golden age of Hollywood. It is, however, an example of supposed good intentions that did not have the positive effect that was promised. In fact, it made things worse.
     
  17. Nick*Z

    Nick*Z Screenwriter

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    You're missing the point. Hollywood of yore experimented because it could. In the post-studio era, brought on by the consent decrees, such experimentation proved impossible. Studios could no longer afford either the volume of product as before (32 pictures a year) nor spend on B-movies, shorts, newsreels, cartoons, etc. It all went away. Everything had to be an A-list product, from the mid-sixties onward, with such landmark pictures threatening to close the studio gates forever if they failed to perform well. Getting rid of the consent decrees will take the pressure off the studios again.

    People are voting with their wallets. But the market is more skewed toward the tween-teen-and-twenty-something sect than ever before.

    That's left the rest of us out in the cold. I can't tell you the last time I watched a 'superhero' movie. Oh, yes I can. The Nolan Batman trilogy.

    And I'm not adverse to having the studios make more if the public appetite is there to lap it up. But it shouldn't be the only place where the studios are putting their money. And it wasn't so long ago that studios still made diverse product.

    Remember the 90's?!? Quality literary adaptations like Sense and Sensibility, The Remains of the Day, Howards End, Emma, and, Hamlet, riotous comedies like The First Wive's Club, The Nutty Professor, and, In & Out, quality actioners like True Lies, The Rock, and, Face Off, sci-fi hits like Starship Troopers, The Fifth Element and T2, suspense/crime dramas like Goodfellas, Cape Fear, The Silence of the Lambs, and classic animated fairy tales, like Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King.

    Sorry, but Hollywood had lots more to offer the avid movie buff then than it does right now. The audience didn't shift away from this stuff. The studios gradually realized they could make more off the stuff that satisfied the younger audience with the disposable income, but not as interested in the movie genres listed above. That didn't make those genres and tastes obsolete. It was a forced obsolescence from within. Hollywood - then, as now, thinks in terms of dollars to be had. But just because there is more to be had in the quick n' dirty endless proliferation of superhero garble does not mean others have gone away from seeing the stuff I mentioned earlier. It just means there is nothing for them at the cinema these days. So, they stay home.

    One final point to consider. Someday, today's teen will be a 60 year old man whose navel-gazing interests will have hopefully expanded from watching men in tights tear apart the scenery against a backdrop of CGI generated effects. But if Hollywood continues on its present course, where will he get his fix then? Where indeed?
     
  18. Worth

    Worth Producer

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    Except that Hollywood took the greatest chances from the late 60s to early 80s, well after the studio system was gone.
     
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  19. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    People didn’t lose interest in b-movies and other such fare because of consent degrees. That content evolved into the early days of television, which posed the same question to moviegoers then as streaming does today:

    Why should I go out and pay to see what’s available to me for free in the home?

    The more you separate needing to go to a specific physical location from being able to partake in a certain activity, the less demand those locations experience. Make it so that b-movies come into the home, and people choose to enjoy them there. Make it so that you can get a book without going to a book store, and people stop going to the store. But just in the way that the disappearance of Borders doesn’t mean that the appetite for the written word has vanished, the absence of any kind of content in a theater does not automatically mean the audience has lost interest. On some level, this is no different from people formerly having to walk to the reservoir to collect water. Now we have indoor plumbing, so we turn on the faucet instead of walking to the shore. It hasn’t changed our need for water, just the way we get it.
     
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  20. Worth

    Worth Producer

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