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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
    jovie won, 6 Oct 2006 @ 8:28am

    whether or not Lucas followed his own advice as soon as he recognized is insignificant next to the force of his observation. The sisters of income - high budget movies and star power - are no longer going to secure top box office success.

    And if the movie industry is not seeing that, then it makes sense that we should take note of Lucas' observations. The reason? He has been a consistence source of movie making innovation across the board. Individuals who would rather dismiss him because the pre-quel failed to meet 20 years plus of anticipation, have basically ignored Lucas' observation.

    I think its an important observation, and they couldn't have used a better movie maker to state it.

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