Friday, 7 December 2007

Hollywood Babble On & On... #9: Popping the Bubble

I'd like to give a hat tip a friend to told me check out conservative blog Libertas for this quote from a recent piece about Tom Cruise's business partner Paula Wagner and the revival of United Artists in the Wall Street Journal. This quote specifically deals with the box-office failure of United Artist's debut film Lions for Lambs.
Ms. Wagner adds that UA is evaluating what kind of movies audiences want to see. "There is a learning curve and a process when you're starting out," she says.
Does anyone spot the cognitive dissonance in that little statement?

Why the hell are they evaluating what audiences want?

Both Paula Wagner and Tom Cruise have spent decades as consummate Hollywood insiders, an industry with the most advanced and sophisticated market research machine since Og asked Oog if he liked the cave painting of the wooly mammoth.

They, of all people, should know what the audience wants.

But they don't.

And the reason is simple.

They're Hollywood insiders.

They've spent so long without coming into any real contact with the peasantry that actually pays to see movies, that they have no real idea what they want.

They live surrounded by personal assistants, toadies, flacks, hacks, and minions, who act like their every cerebral fart is pure genius. The civilians they do meet are either people trying to get into the business, or blinded by the glamour of it all.

They eat together, sleep together, party together, and even when they travel they only seem to go to places where other Hollywood people congregate. It's a strange form of artistic incest.

The press used to be the link between the 'Beautiful People' and 'groundlings' during that brief period between the collapse of the studio system and the rise of the unholy publicist legion, but they're thoroughly cowed now.

You see, if you displease a publicist, your media outlet suddenly loses access to the 'A-list' stars they tell you to adore. And since, like high school with money, no one wants to be in the 'out' crowd they want to be with the 'in' crowd, so they don't ask too many hard questions unless the celebrity is having a career meltdown, then it's open season.

Which is the reason why Britney's in the news all the freaking time.

Now Lions for Lambs wasn't made for the regular movie goer. It was made for the Hollywood In Crowd so they would let Tom back in after too many couch hops.

Sadly, the In Crowd doesn't pay to see movies, and United Artists loses $25 million dollars in investor's cash.

This creates a strange bubble where the Hollywood folks live in.

They use their fame and their glamour to suck in investment capital, but then piss it away on movies no one would pay to see. The other Hollywood types and the media praise them for their 'courage' in taking on people who don't respond with violence, so they think they're on the right track.

But this track leads away from the audience.

Without the audience there is no Hollywood.

And then the bubble bursts.

1 comment:

  1. So Cruise and Wagner admit they have no fracking clue on what the audience wants.

    I know this from Libertas as well, all those political films are also expected to LOSE money in DVD sales as well.

    You are also right, Golden Compass is a total Box Office bomb and a bad film to boot.