Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Sequels, sequels, sequels...

Do I bloody look like I want to make another one?

For the record, I'm looking forward to Indiana Jones 4, Pirates of the Caribbean 3, Shrek the Third and whatever clever title they've come up with for the second "Batman 2."

But check out this post worth reading over at Libertas regarding Hollywood's addiction to sequels, a sickness reaching new heights this summer. I've wanted to post on this topic for some time, but thanks to 'Dirty Harry' I get a free pass.

Let me add my humble observation that 'sequelitis' is even better evidence than its politics that Hollywood is the worst-run business on the planet. Imagine Goodyear spending $1,000 a tire to produce retreads, making a few new ones that don't fit cars actually on the road, then lavishing gold statuettes on itself at the annual earnings report.

The sad fact is that Hollywood is an industry with zero clue how to make its own product anymore, zero clue as to why these movies in their original form worked so well, and zero faith in its ability to consistently produce bankable new stuff the way it did during its Golden Era.

Back then, of course, studio execs demanded to know "will it play in Peoria?" before green-lighting ideas. Today, they take it as a snobbish badge of honor when their unwieldy, pretentious slate o' crap is ignored by flyover country -- a badge of honor they'd wear all the way to the poorhouse were it not for sequels "tent-poling" their house of cards.

Libertas sees light at the end of the tunnel:

"People are flocking to [sequels] because they don’t trust or even like 'mainstream' Hollywood anymore. This will work itself out. It always does. It just takes a while for a bloated, narcissistic, battleship to turn around. "

Even better is an emerging model for film funding that some think will replace studios soon. Borat was funded by a limited partnership of venture capitalists created to produce the film and reap its sizable profits. It was a gamble that paid off, so look for others to follow suit. Should this become the norm, studios would be reduced acting as distribution systems with benefits, something a few have reportedly indicated they may be more comfortable doing.

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