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Discussion in 'Movies' started by Jeff Gatie, Oct 5, 2006.
Lucas tilts at studio tentpoles 'Star' man sees shrinking pic biz Discuss . . .
The big GL is officially a businessman first and foremost...with art as a secondary concern. That is what happens when you become a CEO. I don't believe he is wrong from that perspective. I do believe he is going to test his brand loyalty with a marriage to TV. TV shows don't sell many figures or video games.
Interesting article. Lucas has usually been on to something in his past statements on the future of the film industry, although the leaders of the big studios have seldom listened to him. I think he's absolutely right. Smaller, more innovative pictures are the way to go. Once you get the ball rolling, that sort of atmosphere will foster more creativity, and produce more interesting results. I hope Lucas is wrong about people abandoning the habit of movie-going, but I am afraid that he is not. I admit I've been frustrated too often by bad sound in theaters, noisy patrons, sloppy threaters, etc., but I don't want to lose the sense of community that comes with going to the theater.
Very interesting article on the state of Lucasfilm. It's really no surprise to see the company move out of the tentpole business, considering they only have 9 tentpole films since the beginning (Star Wars and Indiana Jones). And it's not like he produces tentpoles year after year. Lucasfilm just isn't big enough for that. Let's hope he can produce small, remarkable films, whether live action or animation. I'm really looking forward to Red Tails. But, I still believe that the studios won't completely abandon tentpoles...yet. But, the most interesting thing about the article that breaks the heart is the idea of VOD and downloading films...and it seems that Lucasfilm is interesting in that aspect of the business. Personally, I just don't want to see either take off. I like the idea of going to the retails and getting the films I want. The idea of having to download or do VOD just does not appeal to me. But, considering the piracy issue that has the studios freaked, I can see why they would go this way. As for the movie-going experience, I hope he's wrong as well but apart of me believes he's right. I mean, it's not pleasant any longer and the prices are just too high. I still go and will continue to go as long as movie theatres are open, but something's got to change. It needs to be pleasant again...and fast.
He's right about quantity. In 1948, 20th Century Fox adopted a strategy identical to the one Disney adopted this year, and it very nearly destroyed the studio twenty years later when Cleopatra and Doctor Doolittle (amongst others) went belly up. Fox policy thought that with the end of vertical integration B movies would never be popular. Most of the majors followed their lead, pulling support from B or second-bill pictures. This gave rise to AIP and the dominance of drive-in, because by and large, most people like pulpy populist entertainment that drives the B-mindset. But AIP couldn't do A-style B pictures, they didn't have the stars and couldn't risk the budget. It was partly an industry wide dearth of B stories done A list style (which had been done regularly since King Kong) that caused such massive success for films like the French Connection, The Exorcist, the Godfather, Jaws, The Poseidon Adventure, The Sting and Star Wars -- all are B stories and genres, not high faluting drama that's 'important', or massive scale epic spectacles. Star Wars was hardly an anomaly, I'm sure George Lucas was a good enough businessman to see what enormous successes were being made with the first quality major release in each genre and he also noticed Scifi hadn't been touched yet, a genre he really liked, he saw the oppurtunity and struck platinum. heMan GI Joe Transformers Voltron Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mighty Morphin Power Rangers oh. Wait. Did you mean action figures meant for adults (firefly/spawn) not the market geared mostly towards children that Lucas taps with the star wars toys (naturally he targets collectors as well, but children drive the market)?
That's my take on it as well. It's not like 20th Century Fox is saying that they're going to stop producing movies and stick with just TV shows. It's a tiny, tiny independent studio that can really only focus on one medium at a time. Right now, that medium is television.
Can you show me numbers, Adam? I'm much more likely to believe that the bulk of SW toy sales are NOT to children. You listed cartoons that sold toys to kids in the 80's and early 90's. How is that market now? Enough to sustain LFL? Those "Droids" and "Ewok" figures didn't light up the sales chart. His bread and butter has always been, and will always be, Star Wars. I don't think a Star Wars television show can sell toys at any level approaching a film release. And make no mistake, LFL is always looking at the tie-in market.
It's surprising but I'm pretty sure that the majority of Star Wars toys are sold to children. Obviously, the farther away the movies get, the more collectors will become the majority.
Pity he said this about three films too late ...