We are now in our 18th week of Box Office Slump, which has heralded another round of "Where are we going? Where have we been?" from all corners. Ty Burr at the Boston Globe suggests the system is broken â€” movies aren’t worse, but we would rather stay in our increasingly well-appointed homes than pay to schlep our way out to a possibly unpleasant theater with the rest of the rabble. Burr also points out that no one makes movies for grown-ups anymore:
[T]he film industry has by and large written them off. This may be a smart business move â€” most of my peers are too exhausted to do much beyond popping in a Netflix movie and falling asleep 30 minutes later â€” but it leaves filmmakers and audiences with depressingly few options…It’s worth noting that the major studios no longer bother with straight-up dramas and awards bait, leaving such films to boutique wings that know how to turn a movie out cheaply. Even then, profits are rare.
Well, according to that study, the average G-rated film was eleven times more profitable than its R-rated counterpart, and while one could certainly quibble with those numbers (sans Pixar, which is certainly not the norm, they’d be far less impressive, and we can’t find David Poland’s analysis on that to link to or we would), it does seem that any movie shiny enough to hold a kid’s attention for ninety minutes does decently.
Geoff Pevere at the Toronto Star makes similar points, bemoaning the death of the drama and detailing the fact that the only "grownup movie" around this season is "Cinderella Man," and that despite decent reviews and all, it’s barely made back half of its production costs.
At the Guardian, Mark Lawson talks about the new, anti-word-of-mouth marketing ("zipped lip") being adopted by the "War of the Worlds" crew, seeming out of bewilderment that none of the old, trusty ways of building interest in a film seem to be working anymore. Lawson credits the internet with wresting control of advance buzz from the studios, and claims that for "WotW," some publications were kept out of advanced screenings (including the NYT?!). At said paper, Sharon Waxman has her on take on how this summer, watching the celebrities’ off-camera antics became more interesting to people than watching the films themselves. And at the LA Times, Rachel Abramowitz and R. Kinsey Low inform us that not only are Americans neglecting to go to the movies this summer, so is the rest of the world: "According to figures from Nielsen EDI, which tracks box-office performance, grosses in Germany are down 14%. In Spain, they’re down 9%, and in Australia they’re down 11%."
+ Are the movies dying? (Boston Globe)
+ Study shows G-rated fare more profitable (Reuters)
+ Where have the grownup movies gone? (Toronto Star)
+ Hollywood crisis as summer hits dry up (Guardian)
+ You’ve Read the Gossip; Still Want to See the Movie? (NY Times)
+ Moviegoing’s overseas slump (LA Times)