Excerpts (but read the whole speech!)
The bad news:
“…Here’s how bad the odds are: of the 5000 films submitted to Sundance each year— generally with budgets under $10 million—maybe 100 of them got a US theatrical release three years ago. And it used to be that 20 of those would make money. Now maybe five do. That’s one-tenth of one percent.
Put another way, if you decide to make a movie budgeted under $10 million on your own tomorrow, you have a 99.9% chance of failure.
OK, so now that I’ve battered you into severe depression, let’s move on to the hopeful part of these proceedings.”
Slightly better news:
“…The sky may be falling, but in the end, it isn’t going to hit the ground. We will be left with a little breathing room. And the question will become: what will succeed in this much narrower space?
I believe that a fair number of people—call them what’s left of the theatrical audience if you like—will always need to get out of the house: in part because they enjoy the benefits of a communal experience.
Clearly, only the better films will succeed in the theaters of the future. Certainly the number of releases will drop—by half or more. Probably everyone other than the folks who work on tentpoles will be paid less. The words “theatrical necessity” will take on greater and greater meaning. Probably a lot of theaters will close. But I think the best theaters showing the best films will always have an audience. And the rest of the films will have their premiere in Walmart, or on your cell phone.
Interestingly enough, in this Darwinian new future, there will absolutely be a premium for good films on tv, pay per view, on-demand, internet—or whatever that large pipe that goes to all of our houses will be called.
Why do I know this? Because one of the big research companies conducted a study recently which gave viewers on-demand everything. No more schedules. No more appointment television. Just tune in anything—any movie, any TV show—at any time. And guess what: the best stuff won out. Hands down.”
“…*Traditionally specialized films accounted for 5-6% of tickets sold. In the last few summers, it’s been over 10% on average. And that’s the season when Hollywood is supposed to dominate and indies are supposed to cower in the corners, waiting for the arrival of fall.
*And to back that up, for the first time in the roughly 20 years I’ve been looking at this data, more than 10% of the audience now is telling pollsters they prefer independent films….”
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