GQ: The Day the Movies Died

In recent GQ article The Day the Movies Died, author Mark Harris discusses how films like Inception, which made over $800M USD worldwide, have trouble getting greenlit by studios. How we, as an audience, have given up on Hollywood giving us material for which we willingly pay for, and how studios are too scared to take a gamble on original, new ideas.

The industry is freaking out because Inception seems like a glitch in their system? What? You mean people actually paid to watch a film that’s not a book adaptation, a franchise, a remake or a revamp? You mean people like original ideas?

We can’t blame them when the Top10 Biggest Opening Weekends (at Box Office Mojo) are made out of two Spider-Man movies, two Pirates of the Caribbean, three book adaptations, two more superheroes (Batman and Iron Man), and Shrek the Third.

We also can’t get mad when directors and writers who can’t get projects greenlit at movie studios turn towards cable television. Let’s say this straight off the bat, cable television series and miniseries have been a lot more awesome than movies for the past couple of years.

What’s left for us to do except wait for the right movie to come and keep complaining until it does? Is it the masses’ fault for paying to watch Twilight 20 times? Is it because people like to consume garbage? Do we even care enough to watch something at the theater?

Poll time! (you can choose up to two options)

Don’t forget to comment on why!

How do you watch new movies?

  • Wait a week or two so there's not so many people at the theater (31%, 14 Votes)
  • Dowload the movie (iTunes, Torrents, Megaupload, etc) (29%, 13 Votes)
  • Watch them on the opening week (18%, 8 Votes)
  • Wait until it's out on Rental/DVD/Blu-ray/etc (13%, 6 Votes)
  • Wait until they're on cable (VOD, Pay Per View) (4%, 2 Votes)
  • Wait until they're on a network (local channel for free) (4%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 27

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13 Responses

  1. Rodrigo says:

    Poll was hard to vote on since I don’t really fit on any option.

    In regards to Inception drawing a lot of money, it may have to do not only with the idea of people liking an original concept, but it could be possibly attributed to an idea of people willing to enjoy something that includes a certain actor or director in the film.
    Nolan has become a very famous name thanks to his two Batman films and both were succesful in the box office and critically acclaimed. So mainstream people may have the idea of Nolan being someone that you can expect an excellent work, so Inception being tied to him helps to draw money.

    My two cents, maybe I’m overvaluing Nolan’s name and star power a bit, but he’s a great director nonetheless.

    • amy says:

      @Rodrigo, I think if it were for Nolan and the cast, Inception wouldn’t have had as many problems as it did to get approved for production. The article linked above says Inception was greenlit as a favor and to push Nolan to get to work on Batman 3 already xD

      Perhaps Batman’s success… at least partly, is because it’s Batman.

    • Julili says:

      @Rodrigo, What kind of option do u fit?

      • Rodrigo says:

        @Julili, more like depending on the film and/or how I feel about it as well as level of interest and other film variables. It’s hard for me to be full-fledged strict on any of the option polls, except maybe 4 since I’m a lazy person, lol.

        Also, depending on films I could wait for reviews to appear. If I’m on a fence regarding a film: if the reviews are great, I’d go to the theater, if it’s half-assed or sucks bad, wait ’til it hits cable.

        Okay, at first I thought I wouldn’t fit on the poll. But I guess I could fit on 1 and 4 (or even 3 and 6). I don’t often go to theaters these days due to lack of time and movie premieres in Peru sucks as well.

        So basically by explaining this to you, I can safely say that not fitting on any option was a wrong opinion. I’ll admit that.

        • julili says:

          @Rodrigo, Lol that’s oki!
          I’m very random with my movie viewing. I used to be a bigger movie fan, went to the cinema once a week. But now, not so much. I’m aware of movies playing and I feel like going but then I end up dl when I see a link haha.

  2. ROXY says:

    I mostly LOVE going to see them in the movies. It’s where I enjoy movies the most. You just immerse yourself completely in the world of the movie to the point where you forget the outside world for the duration of it. But I do prefer going when it’s relaxed and I don’t have to stress about whether I’ll have a good seat or not.

    And then when I can’t catch them in the movies I’ll just watch them home. I like renting movies but usually I forget what movies I had wanted to watch. When they come up in HBO and I happen to catch them then I’ll see them. Unless someone recommends something and I go and rent it. Plus those few times a RedBox has tempted me.

    I’m surprised the local “free” option was the last actually…

  3. Castor says:

    Agree with Rodrigo, I really don’t fit any particular category, or actually I fit nearly all of them depending on the movies ;) Most of the time though, I usually wait until the week after opening weekend to see my movies.

  4. airbubble says:

    In terms of inception being a orginal film ,i disagree. I saw the movie that inception was based on- its a japanese anime called paprika . But i still give them the thumbs up able to improvise with the plot and turning it into success.

    I feel that its all about those who are overestimated and underestimated. Hollywood has turned into a big pretty picture- and viewers are like moths and drawn into the screen. Thereby, we are just filled with pointless movies on which outshines in terms of visual appearence.

    There are those whom are underestimated – with a great plot but are visually lacking.

    inception won through these two concepts but if i ask u if it was not so pretty – u reckon people would come to watch it.

    In my opinon, i don’t expect much from hollywood- i think better films are being made elsewhere.

    • amy says:

      @airbubble, I agree about your mentioning Paprika. Didn’t Nolan mentioned he got inspired by it? The idea of dream exploration is there, but he also made it a heist. I do think Paprika is a lot more complex than Inception.

      I can’t also deny that there are a lot non-Hollywood movies out there, but not all of those are better than the crappy Hollywood films. xD

  5. Camiele White says:

    I have to say that I’m sort of up and down as to my viewing styles. If I see something that’s intriguing in the way of Black Swan or Inception, I’ll try my best to see it a week or so after it’s been released.

    As regards the article itself, the same can be said about music. The consuming public may set the trends; however, the truth is we’ll grasp on to anything that’s entertaining. I think it’s all in how studios react to these trends. Are they type of innovative parties that want to keep the medium fresh, new, exciting? Or do they want to ensure they’ve got enough money to pay for innovative technology (albiet, they usually don’t use the stuff to its best or above its limits, so instead the technology becomes worthless and sloppy).

    Inception, it seems, was a luck of the draw sort of thing (from the comments and the article). Star power goes a long way. I wonder if the stars will trade in the so-called “mainstream pull” from their bigger budget money-makers in order to rally behind quality storytelling, innovative feats of technology, and sincere acting. I mean, isn’t that why most of them got into the business, to bring characters and their stories to life?

    Anyway, I’m rambling. But, just thought I’d respond :)

    • amy says:

      @Camiele White, I think capable actors are as important as a good story. I wouldn’t be able to imagine Inception without Nolan, or the cast… one of the many reasons why remakes are hard to swallow.

      What I find interesting is the talks that Hollywood is done, but many people say American television (at least on cable) is still top-form thanks to the likes of ACM, HBO and Showtime. You will listen to hundreds telling you an x-country film is much better than this “american copycat,” but you will never hear someone say “this x-country tv show is so much better than Mad Men” LOL

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