Vanity Fair recently posted an article: “Why Hollywood As We Know It Is Already Over” in which the author, Nick Bilton, makes the point that Hollywood, “in its over-reliance on franchises” has given up on creativity, ceding that aspect of movie-making to the likes of HBO, Netflix, and Amazon, one of which is more known for its cinematic TV shows than films. The question that Bilton pursues is: “Why is this happening?” I however, pursue an equally important question: how can we fix it.
The answer lies almost entirely in ideology. For years I have argued that Hollywood is more concerned with making profits than it is in producing good films- this article, along with countless testimonies serve as proof- and they have every reason to do this, and it is in no small part due to audience participation, for without audiences no films would ever be produced. Connected with this claim of profit-making then, is audience want. For decades, audiences have flocked to blockbuster films, franchise films, and action/adventure films, often because these are the films that require very little on the part of the audience, presenting little in terms of substance and discussion. This resulted in a trend in the Hollywood landscape, completely changing the business ideology of every major studio, the thinking being that if it was action packed and featured characters that everyone loved it would automatically make money.
The solution to this problem lies on the part of the audience and studios with the understanding that audiences know what they want; they just don’t know it, because what they have been given are sequels, franchises, and blockbusters. If Hollywood wants to remain relevant they have to listen to their audience and make films that matter to them. By making films that mean something to their audiences they guarantee a steady cash flow and a substantial revenue.Hollywood is not a bank, nor it is the US Mint, it is a group of film studios that need to get back to what they do best- make films.