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  #1  
Old 02-08-2011, 10:39 AM
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Default Death of the Hollywood Blockbuster…

http://io9.com/#!5748577/are-we-witn...od-blockbuster

Interesting article.
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Old 02-08-2011, 11:52 AM
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Pumping money into movies doesn't automatically make them good. The article claims that Star Wars and Jaws were the first blockbusters but totally ignores the men behind them. Of course business models change all the time (what do I care whether the movie industry makes more money with theatres or DVDs?) but great moviemakers are timeless.

I also disagree with the thesis of the author as there is a difference between the hyperfinanced trash Hollywood is spitting out and great epic movies. Blockbusters will survive, only the budgets of trash movies will decrease back to the appropriate level. Or in other words, B-movies will be B-movies again.
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Old 02-08-2011, 12:20 PM
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I think in respect of the article that it's just a case that Hollywood is smack bad in the middle of a rapidly changing environment that they haven't quite worked out how to manage themselves through.

And of course, having a microbudget does not mean you have a good movie just because it's an indie or a B movie. The best creative minds can do wonders with large and small budgets because they are creative enough to work their scripts and budgets to suit. Everything usually comes back to the script itself.

It's partially subjective - yes, you can spend $150/$175/$200/$250/$300 million dollars on something and find it excellent or find it trash just as much as you can a $5/$10/$15 million dollar costing indie flick.

It depends on the inherent quality of the product - this is a combination of factors including but not mutally excluding production values, direction, effects, script quality, the film's intentions and casting/performances - itself. So, Christopher Nolan spends $160 million on Inception and half the world calls it a masterpiece. Darren Arronofsky spends £13 million on Black Swan, or the Coen brothers spend $38 million on True Grit and what do they all have in common?

A - They were basically quality films and B - they've all made a ton of money.

(J.J Abrams spends $150 million on Star Trek and splits folk down the middle though so you can't have it all ways! )

Most people can tell when something has quality........and that's not necessarily something that will have exactly the same meaning to all, but has some comon factors that mark it out.

Jaws and Star Wars were not high budget films (even by 70s standards) but they were made by talented and passionate people. They were the first blockbusters because of how people reacted to them and the fortunes they earned after being produced. That said, even that never stopped Lucas and Spielberg graduating to megabudgets (Episode III cost $115 million, Indy 4 cost $185 million) when it suited them or was given, but usually they come in under the normal spend for a blockbuster. But they are creative themselves. Compare this to the $175 million dollar mess and $160 million dollar mess of the less creative Stephen Sommers' G.I Joe: The Rise of Cobra and Van Helsing respectively.

Creativity doesn't really always need a megabudget.............but it never says no to one either!

Plus, in simpler terms, what with HD, Blu-Ray and today's demanding audiences BIG movies do cost a fortune because of the cost of creating High-Definition digital visual effects of the best kind for today's viewers who don't want to see strings attached to models anymore. Even in 'non-visual' effects movies this is a requirement often. Did anyone know that in David Fincher's Zodiac they created an entire 360 degree CGI street for the actors to stand in because the real street now didn't look like it did in the 1960s?

It's amazing how many times we watch visual effects that we don't realise at the time are actually visual effects and they cost money at times.

So, on a practical level, I can understand why the cost of summer blockbusters goes ever higher. But, a good creative team can do wonders with the resources they have if they have the ability themselves to be creative.
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Old 02-08-2011, 12:55 PM
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Some nice examples of real blockbusters and blown-up trash as well as of the underlying Hollywood trend to substitute quality with budget. I am thinking here about Indy 4. But as the article pointed out this trend will sooner or later come to an end and a more healthy approach to budgets and effects will become dominant.
About background CGI, they can indeed increase the visual quality of movies. But while it might be beneficial in Fincher's Zodiac it becomes slightly artificial in his Benjamin Button and here the usual disclaimer applies, all the money is spent in vain if your story sucks (and being a Fincher fan I would call Benjamin Button his only stinker).

I think we need less CGI and more old-school movie-making. If Jackson can produce the most epic movies ever on a budget of about 100 million $ per movie Hollywood should be able to work more with miniatures and props and on real sets and so on as well.
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Old 02-08-2011, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horatio View Post
Some nice examples of real blockbusters and blown-up trash as well as of the underlying Hollywood trend to substitute quality with budget. I am thinking here about Indy 4. But as the article pointed out this trend will sooner or later come to an end and a more healthy approach to budgets and effects will become dominant.
It has to either be revised or altered in some way, because simply not enough movies will really recoup investments of around $200 million dollars (and that's never even the whole spend once Promotion & Advertising campaigns come into play) or thereabouts.

You won't get an Avatar every year or with every film.

But, for all that, say, Robin Hood cost universal a supposed £237 million, the more into the past you go with a film the more you have to create (the 12th Century just doesn't exist much anymore!) and thus the more you have to spend to create/recreate it. Same with the ancient worlds created in Prince of Persia, which also flopped - even though I actually kinda like RH!

Or, for something like Harry Potter, Narnia or anything in the sci-fi/fantasy genre up to and including later Star Wars, Avatar etc or basically anytime you have to build a whole universe, world, environment that doesn't really exist your costs are going to rocket in the modern age because of the demand for 'Oh my God, it's REAL' style visuals in the Blu-ray age.

Quote:
About background CGI, they can indeed increase the visual quality of movies. But while it might be beneficial in Fincher's Zodiac it becomes slightly artificial in his Benjamin Button and here the usual disclaimer applies, all the money is spent in vain if your story sucks (and being a Fincher fan I would call Benjamin Button his only stinker).
IIRC a large part of the Button budget was because of the specific effects of making Pitt de-age and look like himself all the way through. But he also had to create a lot of the 'past' that just doesn't exist now as well. I think that aging was pretty inherent to the film anyway, but budget-wise, anything period or futuristic will quite often screw you.

Unless you do a Moon and have a small self-contained environment for the most part of your film!

But it's also one of my least favourite Fincher film's as well, to be honest. Probably second to Alien 3.

Quote:
I think we need less CGI and more old-school movie-making. If Jackson can produce the most epic movies ever on a budget of about 100 million $ per movie Hollywood should be able to work more with miniatures and props and on real sets and so on as well.
Those things are still employed a lot by some film-makers (Nolan being one of them in fact) and they haven't died out. But it's usually mixing and matching things like CGI, modelwork and other tricks. The best creative effects folk know how to balance them out.

It's true that Jackson used a lot of old-school techniques as well and they worked very well. I think the whole trilogy indeed cost less than $300 million to make (of course you're going back to 1999-2003 dollars there as well) his upcoming two films of The Hobbit are rumoured to have a combined budget of $500 million.
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Last edited by kevin : 02-08-2011 at 01:29 PM.
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Old 02-08-2011, 02:27 PM
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Question: Do you think CGI is being overly used these days and is it a driving force behind today's sales pitch?

In the old days when Forbidden Planet was being pitched its biggest selling point was that the monster (Id) was going to be invisible and therefore cheaper to produce.
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Old 02-08-2011, 03:21 PM
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I think Kevin kinda already answered that question, CGI is fine if it is used well. I think though that it rarely is and that contemporary movies are often visually overloaded. The classic you mentioned on the other hand supports important moments with strong visuals instead of supplying them constantly and thus without any dramatic value.

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Old 02-08-2011, 07:01 PM
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Interesting article. Just wait till the movie industry gets where the music industry is now...

Neither has or will adapt fast enough.
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Old 02-08-2011, 11:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by omegaman View Post
Question: Do you think CGI is being overly used these days and is it a driving force behind today's sales pitch?

In the old days when Forbidden Planet was being pitched its biggest selling point was that the monster (Id) was going to be invisible and therefore cheaper to produce.
Personally, I don't think it's so much over-used as it's sometimes used to mask other problems with a film.

Inception for example, uses CGI (and model effects) to support it's story. But something like Van Helsing (which, I actually enjoy as a Friday night dumbness flick to be honest) uses it's effects to mask how incoherent the rest of the film is - the 'chuck it all the screen and hope some sticks' approach, if you like.

But both have effects-based 'money shots' that were used in promoting them in trailers etc. You can lure audiences in on opening weekend with purely sweet visuals, but that's not always what will make them go back again and again to see the film.

But CGI itself can create things that even the best models/practical effects can't so I don't have a problem with it really.
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