The Laptop Theater – The health of Hollywood is not the same as the health of motion pictures

The way people talk about the movie business these days, you might expect Hollywood itself to show up in the death montage at next year's Oscar ceremony. Heavily hyped films are fizzling. Online filesharing is cutting into box office receipts. The city's reliance on sequels and remakes has gotten so intense that it is now the conventional wisdom to say the studios are out of ideas.

The conventional wisdom is a little overwrought—surely it means something that one of the most critically and commercially popular films of the year, Toy Story 3, is not just a sequel but a sequel to a sequel—but the larger indictment isn't far off. Hollywood is undeniably in an unhealthy state.

But the state of Hollywood should not be confused with the state of motion pictures, just as the state of the dominant record companies should not be confused with the state of American music, the state of the Big Three should not be confused with the state of automobile manufacturing, the state of newspapers should not be confused with the state of journalism, and the state of public schools should not be confused with the state of public knowledge.

The last decade has seen movies breaking free of traditional Hollywood shackles and finding new creators, venues, and formats, some of which stretch the conventional conception of what a movie can be.

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Film Business, Hollywood


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