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
    self proclaimed geek, 7 Oct 2006 @ 12:48pm

    Re: we are all twenty years older

    I loved the first movies. I didn't know anything about cgi or movie making. I did know that all the sci fi movies I had seen had crappy special effects and I could almost always see the wires. When I saw Ep 3 I was glued to the screen. I has visions, daydreams of one day owning a laser pistol and trying to invent the light saber in my spare time. I even dressed up as Luke one Halloween.

    But that was a different time. Movies then were not made with the sp. effects that Ep 3 had in them. They made improvements and innovations over what was made at the time. This explains the failure (or what some people call a failure) of Ep. 1-3. This also explains why kids today don't like them either. No new cutting edge innovations in special effects were used just regurgitations from existing movies. I mean really after the resurection of the dinosaurs into living breathing actors in Jurrasic Park there's nothing left to be made wondrous to the viewing public. Also with the added technological advances that we have now days kids today aren't as impressed with a computer/communicator on someones wrist. They haven't quite got there in real life but they are really close. Sorry Dick Tracy your no longer needed.

    I admit that there is more advancements being made in special effects and maybe someday I will wonder again at how they did that. But for now, I am not wondering anymore. CGI has killed the childhood wonder in me and every movie that comes out with million dollar special effects just looks like a really well made video game to me.

    Yes, I agree that the acting and characters in Ep. 1-3 were seriously lacking and really the movies were just like, catching people up with the back story. Maybe as I have gotten older characters and plot is more important to me. I wish they would have spent 20 minutes with the back story and just made new movies with new stories and new characters. Then maybe they would have endeared themselves to the new audience instead of pandering to the old.

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