Spielberg says Hollywood is doomed

George Lucas and Steven Spielberg say the film industry is on track to have a “massive implosion” because there just isn’t enough time in the day for consumers to support all the films released in theaters. Films are competing with all the content and options that the Internet provides.

Studios in Hollywood are the equivalent of venture capital firms of Silicon Valley. They live and die on the homeruns. Each movie could be thought of as a startup. It all starts with an idea and grows into a team that creates and releases some piece of content out into the world where it’s loved or hated.

The summer is filled with the biggest bets. The cost to produce and market a single film these days can balloon to over $300 million. The studios need a film to pull in nearly a billion in box office revenue, the same on DVD and have a good, multi-year sale to television for it to be considered a success. Sprinkle in some airplane viewing rights and that’s a win for them.

Lucas and Spielberg don’t think that’s a sustainable model. Soon, a couple of those megabudget films are going to nosedive, and everything will change.

UPDATE – I review the box office and note that it has been 20 years since Spielberg had a really big box office movie (Jurassic Park). His more recent movies have been about half of that level after inflation adjustment. The hope for Hollywood is James Cameron movies, Marvel/Avengers/Iron Man and a Disney revitalized Star Wars and increasing box office potential from China and International markets.

They suggest the marketplace will contract because there isn’t enough time in the week for us to go to the movies anymore. With Netflix producing top quality content, and video games cutting into weekends, it leaves little room for date night out at the cineplex. It’s getting so bad that Lucas complains about how hard it is even for him to get a film in a theater.

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