Hollywood Keeps Breaking Box Office Records... While Still Insisting That The Internet Is Killing Movies

from the because-if-the-story-sounds-good,-why-bother-with-the-facts dept

Hollywood is still 100% focused on trying to blame the internet for any of its woes, mostly with bogus attacks on internet companies it doesn't like. And yet... it seems to keep on setting box office records. The latest is that Universal Pictures has broken a new record in bringing in $2 billion in box office revenue faster than any other studio in history, pushed over the top by the successful opening weekend of "Straight Outta Compton" (a movie that seems to have some big fans in Silicon Valley).
Thanks to the overperformance of N.W.A biopic “Straight Outta Compton,” Universal Pictures is tracking to cross the $2 billion mark at the domestic box office on Saturday, setting a new speed record in doing so.

Universal’s historic climb will break Warner Bros.’ previous record of reaching $2 billion by December 25, 2009. The studio is also extremely likely to break the record for all-time domestic box office high, which was set by WB in 2009 with $2.1 billion.
That does not sound like an industry that is having a problem getting people into the theaters, even if the movies are available via infringement. But, people will argue, these services are actually harming the "home video" revenue stream. But that's questionable as well. First off, it was Hollywood that angrily fought against ever allowing a home video market in the first place (remember that?). And, more to the point, we've seen over and over again that when the industry actually adapts and offers content in a reasonable format at a reasonable fee, people will pay at home, just like they do in theaters.

But, of course, due to continued Hollywood confusion and jealousy, it's still holding back lots of movies from Netflix streaming -- one successful service that has shown that it's totally possible to "compete" with infringing content.

So, again, it's confusing as to what Hollywood's real complaint is. It's shown that if it makes good films, people will go out to the theaters to see them, rather than just watch them online. And if it offers them in a reasonable manner for a reasonable price online, people will pay for that as well. And yet, it doesn't do a very good job of this and then blames the internet for its own failures to adapt. Seems like a weird strategy. If I were an investor in those companies, I'd wonder why they've spent the better part of two decades so focused on "stopping piracy" rather than doing a better job delivering what the public wants.

Filed Under: adapting, box office, business models, hollywood, internet, movies, records
Companies: netflix, universal pictures

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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 24 Aug 2015 @ 1:36am


    I see where you're going here, although it is the same boring "stop liking what I don't like!" that too often crops up during these discussions.

    This should be no surprise - Hollywood is primarily run by people with no interest in the art. They're there to make money, and make "safe" investments. That means middle of the road, populist, inoffensive, generic. Sure, some break the mould, but this is the way Hollywood and every other mass market medium is run.

    If their current trends don't satisfy you, but they make a huge amount of money, then the current top 10 isn't made for you. Look elsewhere, there's great cinema being produced all the time. The same goes for any other medium - and it always has.

    "he problem is that the amateurs aren't producing anything of merit either. YouTube shows are as twee and insufferable as anything Nickelodeon or Disney churn out, because all three are targeted to the teen market"

    You clearly watch different videos to me. Might I suggest not looking at the ones produced for a teen market?

    "I'm going to have to give the major houses the edge on this one: Amazon doesn't have a Picoult or a Grisham. It has Fifty Shades, and fifty million other wannabe Fifty Shades"

    Erm, I'm not sure where the hell you were going with this one. Although they do have a publishing arm, they didn't publish Fifty Shades. Being primarily a retailer, they most assuredly do have Picoult (and Grisham - a strange choice of an example for someone railing against generic populist fiction), among many thousands of other authors, ranging from the greatest literature ever written to trashy crap. This, again, is how things have always been, apart from the current ease of self-publishing potentially increasing the numbers.

    "Occasionally you'll get a MASH or a Seinfeld out of the mix, but for the most part it's always been one-season wonders and inane ratings stunts."

    If it's "always" been this way, what's your sudden issue with it now?

    "What does Netflix have? Art-house women's prison porn and a show about Kevin Spacey as a better president than anyone in the 2016 clown car could ever be."

    Sure, if you want to cherry pick 2 things they produced out of a much larger selection, and a massive selection of available pre-existing content larger then you could ever watch. You don't have to watch those things if you don't like them.

    "The rest is reality garbage and game shows."

    It's also The Wire, Breaking Bad, Sons Of Anarchy, Justified, Louie, Silicon Valley, Hannibal, The Killing, True Detective, to name a few off the top of my head. Thanks to Netflix and similar services, I can't remember the last time I was subjected to a reality, soap or game show. Because I choose not to.

    "the fact that nobody with two brain cells to put together wants to fork over cash for Adam Sandler's latest nonsense"

    the fact that nobody with two brain cells to put together wants to fork over cash for Jerry Lewis's latest nonsense

    the fact that nobody with two brain cells to put together wants to fork over cash for the Three Stooges's latest nonsense

    You're not only stuck on repeat, you're repeating stuff from many decades ago... There's plenty out there if you dislike that particular actor. If his films are successful despite your distaste for him, watch something else.

    "anything coming out of Amazon's incoherent monkey room"

    What, specifically, do you have against this particular retailer? Why are you expecting a "coherent" set of offerings from a store who don't produce 99% of the things they sell?

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