Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Hollywood Babble On & On #84: No New Line No Never No More

Looks like New Line Cinema, the company that I tried to save for the past few months is well and truly sunk. First came some massive layoffs, and it looks like there are more on the way.

Well, I must say that it's a shame, and if anyone from Time Warner is reading this, and I know you're out there, I think it's a mistake.

Yes, some heads had to roll, but I think that the only heads that really needed rolling, were the heads of the company.

Does that make any sense to you?

I've always advocated that the company be spun off. Get some desperately needed new managerial blood, new investment partners, and set it up as an independent producer and domestic distributor with Warner Bros. retaining 30-40% ownership to guarantee a first-look / first-refusal deal for foreign distribution and television rights.

But, judging from the way the axe is swinging I guess nobody's listening to this voice in the wilderness.

Now there are folks who are wondering if it's good business to literally create a competitor.

Well, it is when you're in the movie business.

The core of the film business is the making and marketing of movies and television shows for profit. However, in the age of media consolidation the core business for these companies have become acquiring more companies, especially media outlets, while reducing the output of content for these outlets.

There's something I call the Law of Consolidation. Each film studio, no matter how big, can only produce so much original content, and each studio has its own mindset concerning what kind of content that is. So when a bunch of smaller companies get swallowed by the bigger one, suddenly the amount of fresh content produce plummets.

That's why I can't turn on TBS/Peachtree TV without seeing the Austin -frikkin'- Powers trilogy playing on a pretty much weekly basis. I enjoyed the first two films, now I won't even look at the third one, because their constant presence on TV has made me sick of the whole franchise.

The immense size of these corporations also make them slow to react to changing trends and times. There's nothing more pathetic than seeing a movie, constructed from focus groups, trying to cash in on a trend that was over 6 months before the film was even given the green-light.

That's not healthy for the movie business.

It's not healthy for any business.

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