Forget about indie film. Hollywood has essentially gotten out of the film business. The studios have made it crystal clear that unless you have a brand or a franchise they are not interested in making your movie. For the foreseeable future, Hollywood will only make films for people under 25 that have some marketing value outside of the film itself.
What happened to films for adults? Forget it. It’s not worth their money. So even though State of Play brings in 36 M dollars at the domestic box office, it didn’t perform well enough for them to make money. Or enough money, because Hollywood has different expectations when it comes to profitability. (The overseas b.o. brings it up to nearly 60 M, about the budget of the film before P+A, reportedly.) Never mind that this film was undersold and then taken out of theaters two weeks after its release. Never mind that while this film cost 60 Million dollars, it didn’t have to cost 60 million dollars, and it probably shouldn’t have. They made the TV show it was based on for much, much less and that was six hours long. Of course, that didn’t star Russell Crowe.
From where I’m standing, 36 M looks like a pretty big audience. Or, at least, it looks like an audience.
So, the audience is there, it’s just not the audience that Hollywood is interested in anymore because they can’t make films like that and make money. But you don’t go to McDonalds for sushi, so why would you go to a Hollywood movie expecting anything other than the Big Mac Movie. Just because Hollywood can’t make money on these films, doesn’t mean that no one can make money on them.
Hollywood controls the distribution networks that put out their films, so getting different films to these unserved audiences will require creating an industry from the ground up. Where is the movie theater that charges less? Where is the movie theater that shows grown up films? Sure there are a few indie theaters around, but what I’m talking about is a wider audience; basically the multiplex audience that has been abandoned by the multiplex. Where is the Target of movie theaters? Or the Toyota of movie theaters? This business needs to be recreated from the ground up, with lower costs along the entire system.