Skip to comments.Is Hollywood no longer making blockbusters for the US market?
Posted on 04/18/2012 10:35:40 AM PDT by Carbonsteel
It's curious enough that toy company Hasbro now counts as a Hollywood powerhouse, and still curiouser that Peter Berg managed to make a narrative (sort of) out of Battleship, but what makes me most curious is the fact that the premiere was held in Tokyo. In fact, much of the marketing of this unabashedly patriotic film about the US Navy fighting aliens has focused on the international angle, which leads us to wonder- are non-Americans now the primary audience of Hollywood cinema?
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The question is why?
I think it has more to do with Hollywoods moral bankruptcy then anything else.
International sales is just now becoming a factor.
Ender’s Game is slated for winter next year. Anybody that knows sci-fi knows that book is huge, and the movie could possibly make its popularity explode.
Hollywood is so full of blame-America-liberals. They are probably worried that if they hold a big red-carpet premier for a pro-America movie in Hollywood no one would come.
Those were great books. I had no idea they were making movies out of them. Awesome news!
Say what you want about the cheesey movies made in the 80’s. One thing you can’t deny, films like Delta Force were still proudly American...
In many recent movies, those with a plot seem to bomb in the US and explode overseas, Captain America and Thor are two examples. America wants explosions and effects with no thought required.
Hollywood started its downward descent in the aftermath of World War Two when the communists started pushing the ‘film noir’ aesthetic. These were movies that left the viewer leaving the theatre feeling less good than when they entered. ‘Thought provoking’ ‘challenging’ and etc. were all just code words for depressing.
This devolved into the 1970’s movies that I call the “Despair Aesthetic”. Movies of that period were filled with so-called ‘anti-heroes’ that set society on its head as audiences sympathized with the bad guys and then none of these movies ever had a happy ending. Horror movies of this period are notorious for having none of their protagonists alive at the end...a nice vehicle for instilling hopelessness into society.
In the mid 1970’s and early 1980’s some brave film makers went against the communist order of the day and they produced movies that were universally panned by the high brow leftist critics.
‘Star Wars’ early reviews panned the film. ‘Top Gun’ was denounced as jingoistic propaganda. ‘Red Dawn’ was denounced as paranoid and juvenile.
Yet all of them were blockbuster hits that featured people doing honorable things at great personal risk and then the movies had happy endings that left audiences feeling inspired and happy.
The 1990’s brought back an echo of the crap films of the 1970’s only to be slapped down as films like ‘The Patriot’, ‘Gladiator’, and, yes, even ‘Titanic’ brought back stories of individuals doing noble things that left audiences inspired and happy.
Hollywood does not want to make these films and they only allow these films to be made because the BILLIONS that these films earn allow them to keep producing crap.
To a very great extent it is a shame that the blacklist of the 1950’s did not also come with a firing squad to exterminate the Soviet moles who still work in Hollywood.
‘Battleship’ will no doubt be savaged by the leftist critics if it is the patriotic work that it seems to be.
Captain America did really good business in Europe, actually. I saw it in Berlin; good film.
And the villains weren’t just your garden-variety boring old Nazis; they were super-duper Nazis! None of that wimpy “Heil Hitler!” for them. Oh no, it was nothing less than “Hail HYDRA!”.
And Hugo Weaving was great, as was the Captain. I enjoyed it: good film, and well-written to boot. Didn’t see Thor, but I’ll have to check it out.
Lot’s of movies do better internationally than domestically. Good example; Hayao Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away”, which grossed over $200 million in Japan alone BEFORE opening in the USA.
Betcha in Hollyweird’s version, a multi-racial Andrew Ender will have some combination of:
1) “gender issues”
2) “environmental concerns”
3) a disdain for Christianity.
4) a devotion to “non-judgmental”, moral equivalence.
5) Roll yer own.....
Hollywood is just earning the foreign exchange the U.S. needs to buy oil in the international market.
Right now it’s just Ender’s Game to start. The problem obviously is the child violence in the book. Things like how to portray that and how much to show.
The IPO on hsx.com is over $100 now and it’s still a year and a half from release, and this isn’t getting all the big news like the superhero movies, or the big action movies.
Was the screen play written by someone who read the book? So many have been butchered, I don’t have much hope for it.
I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that a movie staring an Irishman with an accent that he never gets rid of is “unabashedly patriotic American”. Not to mention the fact that the Battleship movie just looks painfully stupid.
As for if they make movies for American audiences, yeah, most of the tent pole blockbusters are aimed here where the crazy money comes from.
Orson Scott Card wouldn’t allow a movie to be made if the script and character were written like that. It’s taken a long time to get that wheel rolling, and if there were stipulations such as what you mentioned, OSC would’ve told them to pound sand and look for someone else.
As for the disdain for Christianity, I remember his father being Catholic, but I think Ender didn’t want much to do with it. So there will be that in his character.
Other than that, I’m very worried about the movie as Gavin Hood, who also directed the X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie, is directing Ender’s Game. Now I don’t know if it was his doing that made the movie terrible, the writers, or Hollyweird, but I thought that was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. Nothing about it meshed with the first X-Men movie, and alone it was total crap.
“These were movies that left the viewer leaving the theatre feeling less good than when they entered.”
Exactly how I felt after seeing Oliver Stone’s “JFK” in 1991. I was so rattled that I went directly to the local watering hole and stayed until I ran out of money. I’ll never watch that movie again.
I would add to your history summary, the influx of casual immorality (adultery, open, self-congratulatoru pre-marital sex, etc) that I USED to believe started in the mid 1960’s.
However, I just viewed a 1958 Doris Day vehicle in which among other unsettling things, her neighbor (Gig Young), was an open and quite casual, serial adulterer.
The rather rude awakening that Palin's "Undefeated" or the highly produced "Atlas Shrugged" received suggests that there is no massive "silent majority" of adults who are thirsting for purely conservative messages. However, I have staked a considerable amount of my own money on the fact that this "silent majority" will, if marketed to properly, support "movies Hollywood won't make."
That said, Hollywood also makes clear business decisions based on the fact that most movies will not last in a theater longer than two weeks; and that American theaters are merely advertising vehicles for DVD/VOD sales; and that American sales are mostly dollar-setters for the overseas market. Example: "The Expendables," which had terrible reviews and ok domestic dollars, was already profitable based on foreign pre-orders because of Stallone, Jet Li, and Statham.
The other two staggering realities of Hollywood is that someone with a digital cam and a good home editing system can "make" a quality movie for a tiny fraction of what anything other than a special effects blockbuster would cost. This has introduced waves of new competition. And finally, the explosion of hand-held video devices means that things other than movies compete for even teenagers' limited time, and therefore only the very biggest blockbusters can recoup at the gate initially.
If I recall, Card is a liberaltarian.
Thus, I don’t expect much defense of social conservative issues from him, except to the extent that they distort his storyline and plot.
The book is fairly complex in its attitudes.
IIRC there wasn’t much if any overt religion in the book.
No gender issues either.
There is considerable “moral equivalence”, of the “war is bad, and I’m very sorry about the enemies I was made to kill for no good reason” sort.
Well I just checked IMDb and Gavin Hood also wrote the screen play. I don’t know if that’s good or bad yet.
He’s a Democrat that sounds more like a Republican. A couple of his articles have been posted on here, so you can check for yourself.
“IIRC there wasnt much if any overt religion in the book.
No gender issues either.”
Well that’s my point. The intent and focus of Card’s creation, certainly won’t stop Hollywood from inserting its usual messages, unless the author specifically reins them in.
Cameron distorted much of the real history of HMS Titanic, and that was an ACTUAL documented, historic event.
Foreign grosses became the predominant factor in Hollywood profits about twenty years ago. The need to appeal to the international market drives a lot of decisions that otherwise seem hard to explain.
He self-describes as a Dem. I'd call him a Conservative Christian Democrat. That makes him a pretty rare breed of cat, IMHO.
And FWIW, I've not read Ender's Game. I've tried to read a couple of his other books (don't remember the titles, they were so unremarkable) and I thought they were pretty much unreadable. Came across sort of like a Tom Clancy-lite, without the character development and plot.
I think he faced that in Speaker For The Dead. Not at all in the first book. I think it may start in First Meetings.
Ooooooh....I didn't know that.
They managed to downplay the kid-on-kid violence in the Hunger Games. I’m sure they can do so on Enders Game.
Might have been the Alvin Maker series, or the Homecoming series.
You ought to give Ender’s Game a try. It’s required reading at OCS I’ve heard.
It’s the latest fantasy craze and I personally don’t care for it. Ender’s Game still is relatively underground but has a hardcore following. I think sci-fi is generally more abstract than fantasy so that may have something to do with it.
And another thing, the violence is also something that helps shape and strengthen the character. It can’t just be left out.
Movies are made in Mexico and Canada to cut costs.....UNIONS plus over paid actors.....imho
i don’t want to think of what horrific thing they’re going to do with the bonzo fight.
“I think it has more to do with Hollywoods moral bankruptcy then anything else.”
Well that’s certainly part of it, but there’s a large measure of value-neutral business calculation operating here as well.
The global market dwarfs our domestic market and movie makers are targeting that audience and not us. So America-specific themes get rejected.
It’s similar to what’s led to outsourcing and the wholesale transfer of manufacturing to China. The world changed dramatically when the USSR collapsed in 1989 and the old Communist bloc joined the world economy. The developing Third World economies began their explosive growth as well.
The ‘Boomers grew up in a world where the American market was the largest market in the world. American located businesses employed Americans and targeted their products to the American market. Large firms even had specific ties to individual cities.
Well that world and that economy is gone. What we once thought of as ‘American’ corporations went from having a national focus with some international sales, to being multinational with a global focus. Most would likely defer from being described as ‘American’ firms at this point. Their market is global, their workforce is global. So the product they make becomes less and less distinctively American. This is true in Hollywood as well, but it’s probably more just more visible to us.
Enders Game isn’t a bit underground, as I understand it. Its on lots of high schoool reading lists.
“In many recent movies, those with a plot seem to bomb in the US and explode overseas, Captain America and Thor are two examples. America wants explosions and effects with no thought required.”
Wait, I don’t get it. Are you saying Captain America and Thor weren’t just about explosions and effects?
Way to work in an irrelevant dig at Palin in a discussion about Hollywood movies, and defend the Hollywood left, smooth....
Maybe Star Trek.
The international market has definitely became an even bigger factor than it was in the last few years. And not just on the films you might expect. Look how huge Mamma Mia was overseas. Foreign grosses used to be expected to about match domestic grosses on a Hollywood blockbuster. Now I would say they inching closer to averaging 50% more than domestic.
U.S. ticket sales seem to be declining, no doubt because of the huge price increases in the last year or two which came at the worst possible time, when our economy is cratering.
There also seems to be a little boredom setting in for superhero movies and CGI cartoons, which used to be reliably massive grossers here but have been declining. But foreigners are still eating up those types of films and seem to be much less picky about quality. Spider-Man 3 was panned here and grossed much more poorly than the other two, but it was the most popular of the series overseas.
Unfortunately if you look around at other markets, EVERYTHING’S doing better overseas. The U.S. economy SUCKS right now. That cannot be understated. There is NO growth potential here in just about any market, but lots of it overseas.
“Lots of movies do better internationally than domestically. Good example; Hayao Miyazakis Spirited Away, which grossed over $200 million in Japan alone BEFORE opening in the USA.”
You’re confusing yourself, there. That was a Japanese movie. It doing better in Japan than here excludes it as an example of something doing better internationally.
Faux Trek ? Noooooo.
Uhhh...I guess we saw different "Captain America" films...
“Exactly how I felt after seeing Oliver Stones ‘JFK’ in 1991. I was so rattled that I went directly to the local watering hole and stayed until I ran out of money. Ill never watch that movie again.”
It’d help to watch again with the mindset that it’s a wildly paranoid piece of contradictory juvenalia. Keep asking yourself, “Just how gullible can grown men be?”
actually, he is a Mormon.
There hasn’t been a gerat movie in a very long time. We used to buy lots of them but in the past few years we haven’t bough but a handful and they were terrible.
Gran Torino is about the only good Hollywood film I’ve seen come out in the past several years.
“There is considerable ‘moral equivalence’, of the ‘war is bad, and Im very sorry about the enemies I was made to kill for no good reason’ sort.”
I don’t know about that, exactly. Equivalency, yes. We get force fed the wornout canard that war is caused by failures to communicate. Though the bugs started it, we are taught to hate the humans in charge and damn them for tricking the hero.
The “kill for no good reason” part is a little off, though. Like I said, they did start it. But more to the point, not only does Ender kill them; he commits genocide (or so they think). That’s a genuine moral problem, even for good wars.
Well the answer is easy - what happened 20 years ago?
A lot of why things do better overseas is scale not economy. There’s 311 million people in America, 6.5 BILLION in the not-America part of the world, that’s a lot more people to sell to. Even if you only get half the penetration you’re still talking 5 times the sales.
Thanks for the advice Tublecane but that’s pretty much what I was thinking once I settled into what was probably my seventh beer that afternoon. Nevertheless, I couldn’t stop talking about it for a week!