George Lucas Announces The Death Of The $200 Million Feature Film

from the good-for-him dept

Back in April, at the Cato Institute conference on copyrights, someone in the audience from NBC Universal challenged both myself and Professor David Levine from UCLA on how the movie industry could keep making $200 million feature films in a world where copyrights were less stringent (or non-existent). The response, of course, is that he's asking the wrong question. Why focus on the cost of making the movie? It's like a mainframe maker asking how they can keep making million-dollar mainframes as PCs become more and more powerful. The answer is that you don't keep making $200 million films, but figure out how to make films for less. That means embracing technology that makes moviemaking, distribution and promotions much cheaper, while also recognizing that the value of star power (which is extremely costly) is greatly overrated. While the folks at NBC Universal may not like that, it does seem like some big moviemakers are recognizing the trend. John points us to an interview in Variety with George Lucas, where he discusses why he won't be making $200 million movies any more, saying that they're just too risky. Instead, he can spend the same amount of money making a lot more video for TV or for online. While he doesn't discuss ways to make quality films for less, he's clearly realized that the market is changing -- and it's changing in a way that will make him produce more content, not less. That's important, since the assumption from the NBC Universals of the world has always been that, if they can't make $200 million movies, the world would have a lot less content. Looks like that assumption isn't holding up either.

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  1. identicon
    G-Man, 6 Oct 2006 @ 7:16am

    Star Wars - the debate

    In my youth, I watched the Star Wars movies (Episodes 4, 5, and 6) and worshipped all things Star Wars. When Lucas announced he was doing the prequels, I was worried - but not like the rest of the skeptical world out there.

    I was worried that with the advances in technology and all that we had seen in film to that point (just before episode 1), we would not get to see anything new. I was also afraid that the public would reject anything that would come out with the Star Wars name on it.

    Well - the public suddenly fell in love with the concept that it was fashionable to bash all things Star Wars.

    I can go back now and watch episode 4-6 and can see similar flaws that people whine about in the newer movies. The story is constant - so arguments about the story/plot are pointless. Terrible acting for the star/focus of the movie - that's nothing new. Try to go back to Star Wars: A new Hope and put up with the whiney Luke Skywalker.

    Now I am not one who goes back and slaughters those movies for that. Remember, when I was a kid - I loved everything about those movies. Heck - I even followed the Mark Hammil train on through the terrible TV movie that was Corvette Summer. I watched the terrible ewok movies to follow the trilogy. It is what it is. When I saw episodes 1-3, I remember the feeling that the films brought when I watched 4-6. I had the same feeling with 1-3. Today, people focus too much on the negative and find it quite fashionable to bash Star Wars.

    I am over it. People who claim they are original Star Wars fans but cannot stand the new ones are contradicting themselves in my book. Once a Star Wars geek - always a Star Wars geek .

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