The year is almost over and folks are looking back at the year that was, and Nikki Finke posted a report on where the studios stand, market-share wise....
1. Paramount - projected $1.9B
They're number one, but this one comes with an asterisk since they acted as just a distributor for some of their biggest money-makers rather than the usual studio role as producer and distributor. They did unseat Warner Bros. from the top slot for the first time in three years, and are considered likely to hold onto it if Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol lives up to the promise shown in its initial limited release.
2. Warner Bros – projected $1.8B
First time in 3 years they haven't been the number 1 studio, but they really have nothing to complain about since they've been either #1 or #2 for most of the past decade. What they do have to worry about is what they're going to after next year when Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy wraps up, and the Harry Potter money factory closes its doors.
3. Sony Pictures - projected $1.3B
Sony went for a low risk/high reward strategy. Cutting back on its output of obvious big budget blockbusters this year, going for smaller budgeted but commercially appealing films. It seems to have worked well, keeping them safely in the middle of the pack.
4. Disney – projected $1.2B
Muppets had a good opening, but quickly ran out of steam, and Cars 2 made money, but mostly because it was the only major Pixar release this year, and Pixar is pretty much a license to print money, even with the lackluster Cars franchise.
5. Universal - projected $1B
While no longer at the bottom of shit creek, Universal did drop more than few bombs and pretty much owes their position as next to the bottom to Bridesmaids and that last Fast & Furious sequel.
6. Fox - projected $950M
As I wrote before, Fox has pretty much out-foxed themselves by not knowing the difference between being cost-conscious and just plain cheap.
But what does it mean to be to be #1 or #6 when overall box office is in an ongoing, and seemingly never-ending slump, and people, like the folks at Filmdrunk, are starting to blame the slump on the studios, their laziness and their extreme lack of imagination? It doesn't matter if you're on top of the shit-pile or the bottom, you're still going to stink.
The folks at Filmdrunk have a point when they ask when was the last time you were actually excited to go see a movie in a theater? How many times were you excited to see a movie, only to be disappointed by a lackluster story and overdoses of visual trickery?
These are questions the studios should be asking. There's a terrible disconnect between show-business' Axis of Ego and the rest of the planet Earth. The problem is that the people running Hollywood are so scared of getting fired before they cash out their next quarterly bonus they honestly have no idea what to do, and will do anything and everything in their power to keep out anyone who might rock the boat and empty it of all the dead weight that slowly sinking it.