Thursday, 27 January 2011

Hollywood Babble On & On #666: Number of The Beast(ly Blog Post)

Welcome to the show folks...

In keep with the infernal number of this post, we will be diving deep into the deepest deep depths of two bottomless pits of infinite darkness.

I'm talking NBC-Universal, and the MPAA.

Okay, I exaggerate for comic effect, it's part of the job description here, anyway, let's get started...


NBC Universal's new overlords, Comcast, unveiled a new logo for the once venerable TV network movie studio combo. They dropped both the network's peacock and the studio's globe for something that can best be described as minimalist:
Not only do they have a logo done in a font that I think they stole from the cover of a Fantastic Four comic from the 60s they also have a new slogan:

Let's make history. Again.

I hope they learned some history before they try making it, so they don't repeat it.

Does that make any sense?

Comcast turned down my suggestion for a slogan:

This time we won't suck. We promise.

Let's hope this marks the beginning of a new era for NBC where they have more than the sitcom
Community worth watching.


According to Politico, via Nikki Finke, the Motion Picture Association of America just can't pull the strings the way they used to. They can't get politicians to attend the eating/screening/schmoozing get-togethers they were once famous for, they're having a hard time finding a replacement for the ultimately forgettable guy they had to replace the late Jack Valenti, and they can't exert the same sort of influence the group once had.

Here's my theory as to why:

1. IMBALANCE: Hollywood literally put all of its eggs in one proverbial political basket. Namely the Democratic Party. Now the industry has tended to lean Democrat in most areas since the New Deal of the 1930s, but in the past they were always able to do business with Republicans. In the past decade any semblance of bipartisan business has crumbled, a process that accelerated with the retirement of long time boss Jack Valenti. Sure, he had his detractors, but he was a very skilled Washington operator who could work both sides of the aisle.

With him gone Hollywood is now stuck with one party, the Democrats, that take their support for granted, whether they actually do anything positive for the industry or not, and another party, the Republicans, that's openly hostile to Hollywood on almost every level, because they believe that Hollywood is openly hostile to them.

That's not healthy for a political lobby group. In order to have influence, you need to present your support as available to those who best represent your interests. That way you get both bidding for your attention and favors.

2. INCOMPETENCE: What do people think of when they hear of the MPAA? A movie like The King's Speech getting an R rating for a scene with some F-bombs in it. Back in the day an R Rating meant either nudity or extreme violence, coarse language meant a PG or PG-13 depending on the amount of cussing going on. Nowadays it seems to rest completely on the MPAA raters' increasingly erratic whims. And to top it all off, the ratings system is pretty well unenforceable when it comes to home video or online streaming.

The rating system is a complete mess, it only serves to screw up films' theatrical releases, and no one at the MPAA seems to know how to fix it. That's not a good image to present to the power players of Washington DC, they smell weakness like a piranha smells blood in the water.

3. LACK OF COHESION: The studios used to be mostly independent corporations that competed on one level, but were willing to work together for interests that served the industry as a whole. Nowadays they are subdivisions of divisions of larger companies that often have interests that conflict with the interests of the movie studios. The current leadership of the MPAA seems unable to find those common interests to justify their own existence.

4. DECLINE OF INFLUENCE: The studios aren't the taste makers they used to be. The internet has spawned hundreds, if not thousands, of subcultures all vying for supremacy, and more and more people are getting their news from alternate media sources that aren't controlled by their big media parent companies.

Until all these problems are addressed, I don't see any change to the MPAA's continued decline.

1 comment:

  1. I find when you a running a business or industry. It is probably best to have political allies on both sides of the aisle. Why? just look how fast the political winds shift in the USA.

    2008 the DEMS were giddy that their messiah Obama won the presidency and were declaring the GOP dead. 2 years later we saw, the public support for Obama chill, the rise of the tea party and the GOP taking back congress and in a strong position to win the White House in 2012.

    Putting our eggs in one party basket is just foolish. We see this same behavior with the labor Unions, who how put their support in a party that really just cares only about them when it comes time to need their votes and campaign money. What has Obama or even Clinton done for unions, JACK SHIT.

    Don't blame those evil republicans, Obama is pretty much no doing ANYTHING for them, except giving bail outs to GM, which was more money of the corporate heads than the UAW members.