John Deere Doesn’t Make Bicycles Anymore:
In this audio segment, A.A. Dowd looks at the summer so far on the Brian Lehrer Show. Brian Lehrer’s premise is that the summer slate is full of films that haven’t met expectations (After Earth, White House Down, The Lone Ranger, Pacific Rim, R.I.P.D, and Turbo) but Dowd reminds him that an increasingly global-centric Hollywood isn’t necessarily looking at domestic revenues to determine a product’s success.
This globalization has an impact on the range of films that Hollywood is willing to finance; Dowd suggests that Hollywood isn’t in the business of making $15 million dollar movies anymore.
It reminds me of my friend’s old John Deere bicycle. John Deere is perhaps best-known for manufacturing tractors. All the raw supplies used to make a tractor can also be used to make a bike. They made two attempts in the market: once at the end of the 19th century and another time in the mid-1970s.
Similarly, Hollywood used to make innovative, intimate films but they stopped sometime in the late-1970s. It is time to stop thinking about Hollywood as a place that is even interested in producing artist-driven content. That is simply not the business that they are in anymore.
A studio like Paramount has tried to break into the micro-budget range, and it looks like they may try again, but the fact is that they are not agile enough, and not dedicated enough, to create content for this market.
Studios produce a specific product. Just because they have the raw materials to produce something else, doesn’t mean they can do it effectively. This is why so much small, innovative content is being made everywhere BUT Hollywood.
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