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It's 2015, Let the Studio Bombs Commence!


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#1 Richard Boddington

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Posted 07 February 2015 - 05:06 PM

Wow, we are only 5 weeks into 2015 and Hollywood has already managed to put out a few massive budget movies that have tanked at the box office. Seems even the A-list stars and massive P&A spends can't save some films.

 

I wonder how many more box office disasters the studios have in store for 2015?  They're certainly off to a good start!!

 

R,

 


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#2 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 08 February 2015 - 01:21 AM

I keep on preying every year the studio's loose their shirts on these big films so they'll stop making them. 

 

When you sit down and do a realistic budget for a common every day film, you realize very quickly pretty much every script could be made for sub $50M if they didn't go crazy with computer effects. What I love the most is Tarantino's new film has a budget of 44M, yet it's being entirely shot AND distributed in 70mm, something everyone on the planet has said is too damn expensive. 

 

Here's hoping Tarantino's film will show everyone that cinema is still alive and ticking! :) 


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#3 Gregory Irwin

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Posted 08 February 2015 - 09:55 AM

I keep on preying every year the studio's loose their shirts on these big films so they'll stop making them. 
 
When you sit down and do a realistic budget for a common every day film, you realize very quickly pretty much every script could be made for sub $50M if they didn't go crazy with computer effects. What I love the most is Tarantino's new film has a budget of 44M, yet it's being entirely shot AND distributed in 70mm, something everyone on the planet has said is too damn expensive. 
 
Here's hoping Tarantino's film will show everyone that cinema is still alive and ticking! :)


Hi Tyler,
I hope you reconsider your comment above due to its insensitivity towards all of the motion picture workers out there who rely on those exact studio jobs to feed their families. I'm one of those who hope that every film makes money so the studios keep producing them. I'm talking about the business and not the art of cinema. If you don't like the big budget, studio pictures, don't watch them! As for myself, the movies I like to watch are certainly different than the ones I like to work on. I couldn't make the living I earn working on the small, indie films but I sure appreciate the efforts and passion that goes into them. I'm simply trying to offer you a different point of view to think about while wishing gloom and doom on an industry that many of us depend on for our family's security. Cheers Tyler...

G
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#4 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 08 February 2015 - 11:11 AM

Possibly what people might be thinking of here is the stuff in the 10-20million range which really ought to be enough for everyone involved to make a decent living while producing top quality product. And yes, US$20m is barely the advertising spend on a major motion picture these days. Productions at this level can avoid the extreme risk-aversion that seems to mean that very high budget movies are often so... can I say topically unadventurous. Clearly I have no idea what I'm talking about, not being a production executive at a major studio, but you'd have thought that it would have spread the risk a bit too. Big as these organisations are, how many nine-figure losses can they really absorb - is it impossible that one of them might eventually fail? Then everyone's out of work.

 

I say all having personally experienced a constant diet of hopelessly underbudgeted film and TV work and I'm certainly not arguing for that, but I think the point remains.

 

P


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#5 Freya Black

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Posted 08 February 2015 - 11:39 AM

I was about to write something similar to Phil. I think Tyler was more hoping that Hollywood would make more movies on smaller budgets and still pay everyone although obviously the kind of movies he is talking about would probably hire less VFX workers.

 

The thing is that it isn't just about the studios being risk averse but that the studios are following this forumla because they are trying to create "must see" tentpole movies that will hold things together. They have to give a compelling reason why someone has to see the movie at the cinemas now, rather than wait for a torrent to become available or even for them to just ignore the movie and get on with something else instead as there are a lot of things competing for peoples time these days from the endless TV channels to kitten videos on youtube.

 

Having content that people feel they have to see right away is very much the driving force in a lot of things at the moment actually. Just look at Game of Thrones and people staying up till the crack o'dawn to see it on sky at the same time as it screens in the states.

 

So I don't think Tyler was so much coming at it from that old angle where people used to hope the studios would die and that there would be lots of independent cinema in it's place as we have seen from other industries affected by the digital changes that this doesn't tend to work out as well as people might hope.

 

Freya


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#6 Freya Black

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Posted 08 February 2015 - 11:54 AM

Wow, we are only 5 weeks into 2015 and Hollywood has already managed to put out a few massive budget movies that have tanked at the box office. Seems even the A-list stars and massive P&A spends can't save some films.

 

I wonder how many more box office disasters the studios have in store for 2015?  They're certainly off to a good start!!

 

R,

 

 

Someone tried to predict the 2015 bombs here:

 

http://www.answers.c...e-bombs-in-2015

 

but personally I think the Mad Max and Terminator films are still in with a chance.

We shall have to wait and see.

 

That American Sniper film has done surprisingly well. It doesn't seem like an obvious film for success beyond the Clint Eastwood connection.

 

Freya


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#7 Richard Boddington

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Posted 08 February 2015 - 12:37 PM

 I'm one of those who hope that every film makes money so the studios keep producing them. 

 

I hear what you're saying Greg, these mega tent poles employ a lot of people and offer high wages.  And of course I know you know, that there is no way every film could turn a profit.  It's a super high risk industry, and the profits from successful films are often eaten up the by the losses on the bombs.

 

But really, how can one have any sympathy for the studios when they keep spending 150 million plus P&A on these movies?  The plots and scripts are ridiculous, and clearly the "movie" is more about being a giant commercial for after market items.  The market place, aka the audiences, have already spoken loudly on this topic.  They don't care what the budget is, or who the stars are, if they don't like it they don't like it, end of story.  I've seen budgets for these tent poles leaked on-line, and it's hilarious to see what some stars get in terms of extras on set and how the money is wasted with such great efficiency a Washington DC politician would be jealous.

 

For me it's also a case of realizing that the very studio executive who green lit another 150 million disaster, is the same guy who would say to me, "sorry Richard, your latest script just has no chance of being successful."  Really?  What the *bleep* do you know?

 

R,


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#8 Richard Boddington

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Posted 08 February 2015 - 12:44 PM

 Big as these organisations are, how many nine-figure losses can they really absorb - is it impossible that one of them might eventually fail? Then everyone's out of work.

 

Yes, I believe Spielberg predicted this very scenario.  And there have in fact been cases where studios have bet the farm on a huge movie that bombed, and serious financial consequences resulted for the studio.

 

I say again, there is simply no need to spend these amounts on a movie.  I realize you can't make Lord Of The Rings or Star Wars for 15 million, although technically you could.  Give the script and budget to a good indie producer and he'll, "back the movie into the budget."  It's done all the time.

 

Do I really need Greg Irwin on this movie?  Hmmm, I think I can pay a student 10% of his wage, next line item please.  :D

 

R,


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#9 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 08 February 2015 - 12:47 PM

I hope you reconsider your comment above due to its insensitivity towards all of the motion picture workers out there who rely on those exact studio jobs to feed their families. I'm one of those who hope that every film makes money so the studios keep producing them. 

 

Did you ever think about the hundreds of thousands who were put out on the street during the move from film to digital distribution, which was instigated by the studio's to save money. Yet, these are the same studio's who are willing to put millions behind films which will barely break even. Do you ever think about those families? People who like yourself, mentored and trained for years before getting their jobs, worked their way up the ladders doing a trade they loved. Then the rug was pulled out from underneath them. Everyone from visual effects artists through lab employees and projectionists. Jobs that disappeared or moved over seas. 

 

One thing to think about… Imagine if the studio's produced sub 50M films? They could make more films per year, putting more people to work. Sure, nobody would make boat loads of money, but everyone would be working. Right now, it's the salaries which are the biggest hindrance to the budgets. 

 

So no… I really don't have any sympathy. A myopic few get the spoils and everyone else gets to watch the studio system literally destroy itself from the inside out.  Wishing someday they'd wake up! 


Edited by Tyler Purcell, 08 February 2015 - 12:49 PM.

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#10 Richard Boddington

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Posted 08 February 2015 - 03:00 PM

The original 1977 Star Wars reportedly cost 11M to make.  This is a clear example of a filmmaker like Lucas backing the movie into the budget and making do with what he had.  I realize those are 1976 dollars. But am I to believe that if Star Wars was made in 2015, it would cost 150 million?

 

Oh wait, they are making Star Wars in 2015, I'll guess we'll soon know that cost after 39 years of inflation.

 

R,


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#11 aapo lettinen

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Posted 08 February 2015 - 06:43 PM

it looks like the original was under 50M in todays dollars if the conversion was correct:   (dollartimes.com)

 

"$11,000,000.00 in 1976 had the same buying power as $46,539,315.32 in 2015.

 

Annual inflation over this period was 3.77%.


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#12 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 08 February 2015 - 08:33 PM

I don't know what movie tickets go for in other countries these days, but here in Australia it's $20 a damn ticket... and quite frankly, at that price (especially if you're taking the whole family along), you really need some serious motivation to go see a film.

 

I believe pretty firmly, that if ticket prices down here were lowered considerably - and a big song and dance was made of the price lowering. Movie attendances would soar. People love going to the movies, that really hasn't changed. But people's ability to justify going to movies has changed. And I think until we address that, we're much more at the mercy of the winds.


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#13 Richard Boddington

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Posted 08 February 2015 - 09:28 PM

 People love going to the movies, 

 

No one is sure on this point anymore.  We don't need theatres to deliver the motion picture product to the masses like we used to.  With the click of a mouse the movie can be made available to millions of homes via VOD.  Everyone I know has a big screen TV and a 5.1 sys now.  I'm not really sure if theatrical releasing even has a future?  Plus the costs to put a movie into the theatre system are staggering.

 

Part of the reason ticket prices are so high is to factor in the cost of building these mega plexes and the land needed for the parking lots.  If you take that cost out of the equation and consider that you no longer need 35mm prints or even a DCP, then you make the cost to view the movie pretty cheap.

 

I predict that more and more films are going to skip a theatrical release and go straight to the public, then eventually this will become the norm, and that will be the end of the theatres.

 

Once I got my Apple TV is was clear to me that even the TV networks are finished.  The content can come straight into my home via the web for 8 bucks a month, and I can watch it whenever I want.

 

I hope the broadcasters realize their days are numbered, all they have to offer now is news.

 

R,


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#14 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 08 February 2015 - 09:53 PM

 

I hope the broadcasters realize their days are numbered, all they have to offer now is news.

 

 

Amen! The only reason they exist today is because they've got lucrative deals with satellite/cable providers and live event holders. Once those companies go belly up (which will happen soon) the broadcasters will slowly disappear. 

 

The other key is a successful VOD distribution model. Hulu and Netflix are just scratching the surface. It will take a powerhouse like Google or Apple to finally crack through that barrier and produce a service that makes sense. Right now, nobody has a good service, I'm still downloading most of my content off torrents because I can't stand the horrible interfaces and commercials of current VOD systems. I don't mind paying, but I'm not going to pay to watch commercials. 

 

Apple's solution is monopolistic, but it may be the smartest. Using their iTunes as a distribution method, people can pay a monthly subscription for first-run content and stream it ONLY through their devices. So if you have an Apple TV, it uses DMR through the HDMI to prevent copying and right into the television. We do some of this already, but the studio's are more scared of security then anything else. Once someone comes up with a foolproof system of making money without distributing to theaters, the game is over. Multiplexes will be history and cinema will turn back into a special, once a year experience where people go, pay "theater" prices and enjoy an experience that is very unforgettable. 


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#15 John E Clark

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Posted 09 February 2015 - 01:39 AM

 

Amen! The only reason they exist today is because they've got lucrative deals with satellite/cable providers and live event holders. Once those companies go belly up (which will happen soon) the broadcasters will slowly disappear. 

 

One of the problems with Netflix and Hulu is the changing landscape of their library. When one buys a disk (or heck even a VHS/Beta...) one had a physical medium which if one maintained the playing equipment... one could view the material for a 'very long time'...

 

However, in the case of Netflix, which I've been watching more TV (mostlty BBC and cable content) shows, but every so often I'll see that a show has 'disappeared' from the Netflix streaming library.

 

I still buy a large number of disks, and that is usually to get the special features in addition to the film or tv show.

 

I don't have a cable connection... so all my over-wire viewing is via Internet services.

 

From the daily news brief that NAB sends out, it seems there are some cracks in the pipe of cable TV, and definitely Broadcast TV is not going to be able to demand the fees they once could charge with near impunity. Viewers who 'like' NBC/CBS/ABC/FOX will become more and more impatient with viewing shows at the convenience of the broadcaster.

 

There is a lot of talk about 'over the top' distribution of broadcast and cable content via the Internet, and the cable companies are 'worried' and lobbying against 'net neutrality' to maintain their monopolistic practices. However, HBO has announced a more direct path to consumers than via Cable carriers, I think CBS has also announced some sort of pay subscription option to their content, which would bypass any local affiliate, and lower the affiliate's ad pricing basis if there is too much 'cord cutting'.

 

On the other hand there may be a large majority of 'old fogies' who never do cut the cord... and so Broadcast and Cable may continue for quite some time to come.

 

The FCC chairman has announced a plan to designate Internet 'carriage' as Title II communications pathway. One can look up what all that means, but basically it means that ISPs and other Internet transport providers may not charge 'extra' for 'fast lane' access for specific customers.

 

One thing which the chairman did state was that there would be no 'unbundling' of the local loop. What that means is that there will still exist the lack of competition at the consumer end of the connection for the Internet. At the moment in many locations there is only one 'realistic' provider, The Cable Company. In various places The Phone Company has provided a competitive alternative, but still only 2 providers in a local area is not really that competitive. The Cable Companies have lobbied for years to avoid Title II, and now it seems that they may have lost... years of litigation may prove otherwise...

 

I think Google did get 'pole access' which means that Google may string it's fiber on Telephone Poles, or pass through Phone Company tunnels and pipes but Google still has to pay for the fiber and it's installation in areas that it wants to compete in.


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#16 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 09 February 2015 - 09:49 AM

No one is sure on this point anymore.  We don't need theatres to deliver the motion picture product to the masses like we used to.  With the click of a mouse the movie can be made available to millions of homes via VOD.

 

That's because going to the movies ceased to be an experience long ago.  Here's how I remember the cinematic cycle of technology & aesthetics, which is by no means scientific and may or may not be accurate...

 

When I was a kid, I still remember a few movies that showed cartoons before the film.  And many of my favorite films that I saw at that age were shot on 65mm and projected onto one huge screen.  So at 7 years-old I felt like I was truly in the film.  Then came the return of 3-D with ArriVision and other systems - coupled with really bad stories - in the 80s, which was just as much of a gimmick then as it is now.  In the early 90s, I remember a number of solid films with great stories, gorgeous cinematography and virtually no gimmicks or VFX.  Then came the rise of digital in the late 90s & early 2000s. 

 

And now we are back to large format films being the last & final push to preserve the cinematic experience, something that Tarantino has stated that he cherishes.  And he's absolutely on point with that.  I think it's a valiant effort and probably the best way one filmmaker could have tried to keep it alive.

 

 

Hi Tyler,
I hope you reconsider your comment above due to its insensitivity towards all of the motion picture workers out there who rely on those exact studio jobs to feed their families. I'm one of those who hope that every film makes money so the studios keep producing them. I'm talking about the business and not the art of cinema. If you don't like the big budget, studio pictures, don't watch them! As for myself, the movies I like to watch are certainly different than the ones I like to work on. I couldn't make the living I earn working on the small, indie films but I sure appreciate the efforts and passion that goes into them. I'm simply trying to offer you a different point of view to think about while wishing gloom and doom on an industry that many of us depend on for our family's security. Cheers Tyler...

G

 

Greg...I appreciate and understand your argument.  And just to be clear, I don't watch the bid-budget films that I don't think are worth my time.  But you yourself stated that you were "talking about the business and not the art of cinema."  So although the two elements are inextricably intertwined they are two different arguments.  And I'm sure you understand, it's nothing personal.

 

I want to have a desire to go to the theater, but I rarely do these days because it's not special anymore.  As a spectator, I look for a film to enlighten and move me in some way.  I don't know anyone who ever walked out of a theater and said "Wow, that movie was horrible but at least the crew won't have any financial woes for a while."


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#17 Richard Boddington

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Posted 09 February 2015 - 11:13 AM

And now we are back to large format films being the last & final push to preserve the cinematic experience, something that Tarantino has stated that he cherishes.  And he's absolutely on point with that.  I think it's a valiant effort and probably the best way one filmmaker could have tried to keep it alive.

 

Problem is that humans are hard wired to take the path of least resistance.  Go out and drive to the theatre, wait in line, fight for a seat, put up with the idiot checking his phone in front of you, vs, just sitting and watching it at home.

 

I think the home option will triumph in the end.

 

R,


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#18 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 09 February 2015 - 11:49 AM

 

Problem is that humans are hard wired to take the path of least resistance.  Go out and drive to the theatre, wait in line, fight for a seat, put up with the idiot checking his phone in front of you, vs, just sitting and watching it at home.

 

I think the home option will triumph in the end.

 

R,

 

Yes, sadly.


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#19 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 09 February 2015 - 12:34 PM

 

Problem is that humans are hard wired to take the path of least resistance.  Go out and drive to the theatre, wait in line, fight for a seat, put up with the idiot checking his phone in front of you, vs, just sitting and watching it at home.

 

 

Yea, but you can fix all those things. Arclight cinema's has done a great job building a business model that I feel is the future of cinema with assigned seating, excellent theaters designed properly and most importantly, every time you go it's a good experience. 

 

I honestly don't mind going to the movies at all… I use to go 3 times a week back in the film days because it's something I couldn't see at home. Now with digital projection, it's the same thing I can see at home, so what's the point? I have a digital cinema projector, I have an excellent home theater, high definition sources, the whole 9 yards. When cinema gives me an experience unique enough for me to stand up and leave the house, I will go… Interstellar and Inherent Vice I saw multiple times in 70mm, mostly due to the experience. I have a feeling The Hateful Eight I will probably see more then once as well. ;)


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#20 Richard Boddington

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Posted 09 February 2015 - 03:03 PM

 I have a digital cinema projector, I have an excellent home theater, high definition sources, the whole 9 yards. 

 

Right, so technology has signed the death sentence for the theatres.  What you have there would of been unaffordable just a few years ago.

 

R,


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