“Hate is a Train.”
– Metallica, ‘Hate Train’
If I were to walk up to you tomorrow, and give you a disc that just said, ‘Movie’, on it, would you watch it? Would you? Even out of some sick, Richard Matheson-esque fucking desire to satiate your curiosity? And what if the movie was really good? Like Event Horizon good? Who would you tell? How would you share it?
Today, a whole bunch of idiots who had secure jobs at Focus Features in New York are getting the hard boot into the gutter of Funemployment. They’ll be in good company, since Paramount is doing the same to a bunch of their people too. Hundreds of people, just suddenly without jobs, because instead of one of their movies making $500 million worldwide, it made $375 million.
This could be prevented in several ways. We can force people to go to the movies, by gunpoint, on threat of death or castration (or both, if we want to make a night of it). We can make financial take-back rules so that when a movie like Space Truck Into Space doesn’t make a billion, some of those producers, filmmakers, and stars who assured it get a couple million taken away from them. Or you can clean house and hire new marketers, because fuck ‘em, they’re just a number.
Or, lastly, you can decide not to invest $250 million into a Space Truck movie. I have no problem with the disgusting spending of hard cash money on films, and in fact, if families have to die of starvation in the Sahara so that James Cameron can make blue people swim at 60 f/p/s, I not only don’t mind, but sincerely encourage it. What I have a problem with is if a whole bunch of idiots think the old science fiction program about heavy-handed metaphors and men in colorful outfits should have a super secretive marketing campaign, and then get shocked when it doesn’t make beyond their unreasonable expectations. It’s simple math: niche + money = what?
There’s a reason the VOD took the world by storm. There’s a reason why everyone binge watches shit on Netflix and will ignore theater and DVD entirely. Nobody has money, so don’t be surprised when the boner of reality comes crashing snugly inside the mouth of Hollywood hopefulness.
There are a lot of great movies that came out this year that had piss poor marketing campaigns that cost a lot. You’re Next was the only major horror release that shit the bed in a year where EVERY FUCKING HORROR MOVIE was successful. The World’s End, despite being amazing, still couldn’t sell people on Britain, despite Britain being an island. One could attribute this to people being hateful towards things they’re told are smart, and that’s probably true.
That’s probably the biggest problem: smart stuff is fucking unsellable, and dumb stuff is fucking expensive. Pacific Rim (a.k.a. Secret Len Wiseman Movie) cost money I would physically kill people for, and smart stuff like Trance couldn’t get out of the theaters fast enough. While it’s nice to see a big budget retard menagerie lose its bearings cinematically once in a while, people shouldn’t have to lose their jobs because of it. If anything, smack the producers across the fucking face and add them to a “do not hire” list, since they clearly don’t care if people get fired.
And it’s even worse when the studio system fucks over genuinely good projects. Piano Faggot won a lot of gold and cash for HBO, who took a gamble that people might actually want to see a Steven Soderbergh movie where Mikey Douglas and Matty Damon bonk. The Hellbenders (3D?) is being dumped into a cold bucket of ice and left to be forgotten at a State Park by Lionsgate. And people end up discovering Ti West on Netflix all the time because studios are dumb and just won’t give him, like, $5 million and just let the movie speak for itself.
What’s the happy medium, you ask? It’s simple: David Cronenberg. David Cronenberg doesn’t compromise shit, his movies are profitable and most importantly, they’re affordable and GOOD. Cronenberg can do weird things, but weird things that are watchable. Of course Cosmopolis will be lucky to break the top 10 for the week, but guess what? It’ll make a couple bucks SOMEWHERE.
Art is about eventuality. David Cronenberg knows it. That’s why he doesn’t make $60 million movies about Denzel Washington and Tom Cruise fighting Middle Eastern People in Desertworld. That’s why he doesn’t make comedies about Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn getting a job at the biggest corporation in the Federal Galaxy. That’s why he doesn’t make The Lords of Impenetrable Third Acts. He makes good movies that cost a few million European bucks and will make a dime in the long run.
For a while, filmmaking was like gambling. You back a horse, give it what it needs and hope it makes money. But digital distribution changed the game. Breaking Bad is better than movies, and TV knows it. Netflix is cheaper than $13 a pop, and Hollywood knows it. If you can be a David Cronenberg, make a medium-sized great movie and not be a cocksucker who wantonly spends money because your childlike desire to fuck everything up runs rampant, Hollywood should hire you. But Hollywood doesn’t. As a result, people lose their livings and, ostensibly speaking, their normalcy. If Hollywood started churning out $30 million action movies, $30 million horror movies and $30 million comedies by great, passionate filmmakers who spend as much time in the scripting phase as they do on the phone, apologizing to people, then there’d rarely be unprofitable Hollywood movies.
So to answer my first question, if you watched “Movie” and liked it, then pass it off to someone. Let them see it. Enjoy it. Maybe they’ll do the same. I won’t see a buck from it, sure. But I also won’t be firing hundreds of people because of it. I won’t curse the name of Fake God because “Movie” was sent directly to DVD or marketed poorly. And in the long run, who knows? Maybe the whole world will see “Movie”, eventually. Whether they like it, that’s not my problem.