The End of Blockbuster Movies

Currently, I don’t have a good feeling. For some reason there is this nagging in my mind, telling me that perhaps we have seen the turning point of Hollywood blockbuster movies.

When we look at the numbers it becomes quite clear that this movie “genre” is not one that can show off its cost modesty. I for example still remember my gasp when I saw the production cost for SPIDERMAN 3 – and I still gasp: 258 Million Dollar! That is some big pile of money. THE DARK KNIGHT in comparison seems to look like a good guy with its budget of 185 Million Dollar.

Now the financial crisis is everywhere and begs this one big question: will Hollywood continue like this? Somehow I doubt it. Yesterday, for example, I (finally) read that Warner cuts 800 jobs and NBC Universal wants to cut 500 Million Dollar from its yearly budget.And I bet there are many more news like that out there.

I don’t believe that blockbuster movies will completely be erased from the production schedules in Hollywood because despite their costs they do make money. Well, most of the time. And this is the exact problem.

Producing a movie is high risk. Extremely high risk. A producer can never tell with exact precision that a movie will be successful. And in times, when the market collapses everywhere and seemingly everyone gets laid off, chances are high that movie ticket sales will go down, too. This fact increases the chance that a high budget movie won’t earn as much as possible to make it a certain financial success. In other words: the producers are living with a triple edged sword hanging on their neck.

Although I cannot sneak into a meeting room in Hollywood my guess is that in light of this crisis they will start to reduce the number of big budget movies. They won’t kill all projects. But they will think twice which project should be made and which not. Since it’s best to be conservative in such situation (I heard) they most likely will continue the projects of well known franchises (like IRON MAN or BATMAN) and well known directors like James Cameron or Steven Spielberg.

But the rest of the big bunch might get kicked off the list or delayed massively until the storm is over.

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