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Steven Soderbergh on the state of Cinema. 
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Post Re: Steven Soderbergh on the state of Cinema.
KWRoss wrote:
PeachyPete wrote:
He's a guy who has plenty of experience both in the studio system and outside of the studio system. He's incredibly more qualified to make these sorts of claims (and back them up with actual numbers/facts) than virtually anyone else in the world. So yes, it's a pretty big deal that he came out and said these things. But, some people choose to ignore that and ignorantly dismiss the points he's making because they didn't like Magic Mike. Because, you know, those things are so related.


No question about it. When a respected filmmaker makes a claim that echoes what critics have been saying for more than a decade, it's worth listening to just because he has the insider knowledge.

Obviously, there's room for all sorts of movies in this world. Just because most of us on here are "serious" moviegoers who look for meaning in things doesn't mean all we like is hard-hitting, depressing drama. I for one enjoy a good action movie or silly comedy just as much as the next guy. But there needs to be balance. Once again, this is why I hate the term "Oscar bait." Soderbergh makes quite a few baseball references in his article, and I'll make one here. In sports, athletes who shoot for greatness, awards, and the Hall of Fame ultimately earn a lot more respect than guys who are mostly in it for the fattest paycheck (and those in the former ultimately get their money anyway). So give me a filmmaker who wants to say something and win something any day over one who cares more about the green.

But there are filmmakers who do genuinely enjoying making blockbuster films regardless of the money they make. If I were a filmmaker, i'd want to make something like Fast Five or Bad Boys 2, not because of how much money they might make, but because those are the types of films I like. I say directors should try and make films that they would actually want to see themselves, be they big or small.


Thu May 02, 2013 1:55 pm
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Post Re: Steven Soderbergh on the state of Cinema.
Vexer wrote:
But Steve did mention that were more independent films released last year then there were ten years ago, and he says that like it's a bad thing. Isn't the fact that were seeing more independent films a good thing?


That's not the point he was making with that comment at all. It's a numbers-based way to again make his larger point that while studios are becoming efficient at making money, they're also killing creativity.

Double the number of independent films are being released, and fewer studio films are being released, but studio films are making even more of the total money. That doesn't seem to make sense until you realize how good studios are at capitalizing on their investments.

Vexer wrote:
but I think he got the wrong impression, seeing someone on a plane watching action scenes "inspired" this piece? it seems incredibly judgemental of him to assume all those things about the passenger


He didn't "assume all those things", he saw a guy watching nothing but action scenes and drew a conclusion from that. Unless you think he's making that up, it actually isn't an assumption at all. It's something that happened. The guy he saw possibly having a justified reason for doing that is irrelevant. Soderbergh saw something that got his mind going in one direction. It's inspiration, nothing more, and isn't terribly important to the points he's making.

Vexer wrote:
Also he mentioned how the guys behind Memento started their own production company so they could get it distributed, why dosen't Steve do something productive like that instead of making complaints that don't really make a lot of sense


He did. With George Clooney. It was called Section Eight Productions. He even mentions it in the speech. They stopped for financial reasons and because Soderbergh wanted to get back to directing.

Regardless of whether or not he had, it isn't particularly fair to call him out, seeing as how he's a director who makes movies. You can't place the blame on him for not producing too, and you definitely can't say he isn't doing anything productive since he's actually out there making movies.

Vexer wrote:
I don't think it's a "big deal" that he's made such a rant when countless other directors have had similar things to say about Hollywood.


Countless other directors? Really? Countless other directors have gone into that much detail about how the studio system works? Directors may complain here or there about a thing or two, but they don't attack the studios like this. Critics do, directors don't. And if a director does, it isn't someone as successful and uniquely qualified as Soderbergh.


Thu May 02, 2013 3:44 pm
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Post Re: Steven Soderbergh on the state of Cinema.
Since Steve is so passionate, ultimately I don't believe his retirement is going to stick, I think somehow he'll find a way to make the films he wants to make.


Thu May 02, 2013 3:55 pm
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Post Re: Steven Soderbergh on the state of Cinema.
KWRoss wrote:
That paragraph about how fewer and fewer executives are in the business because they really love movies is quite disturbing.


That sums up something I long suspected. Most director's will talk about being told about needing to reach the widest possible audience. That's pretty obvious. You make a movie, you want people to see it. That's the case whether you're talking about a Spielberg or Cameron film or a Sayles or Coen Brothers one.

However, it seems as if Hollywood has given up about trying to reach the widest possible audience. It seems that the current philosophy is as folows: the audience doesn't count. Only the numbers do. That philosophy in practice is what led to John Carter, Battleship and the dismal remake of Total Recall and we know how well those turned out, both artistically and financially.

Vexer wrote:
I say directors should try and make films that they would actually want to see themselves, be they big or small.


One of the few things I agree 100% with Vexer on.

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Thu May 02, 2013 6:12 pm
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Post Re: Steven Soderbergh on the state of Cinema.
Found another article on Steven, he gives some more insight:
http://www.motherjones.com/media/2013/05/steven-soderbergh-interview-hollywood-gay


Thu Jun 06, 2013 6:48 pm
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Post Re: Steven Soderbergh on the state of Cinema.
Soderbergh seems to be burning bridges at every opportunity these days. Maybe his retirement is a little more permanent than we thought? Anyway, this one sounds more like a childish temper tantrum than his last, more insightful rant. It comes off as gossip, but I did like that he said this:

Soderbergh wrote:
"The point I was trying to make was not that anyone in Hollywood is anti-gay. It was that economic forces make it difficult, if not impossible, for people to think outside of the box…If audiences were going in great numbers to see stuff that was not down the middle, then everyone would be doing that…[Hollywood is] merely responding to what people are telling them they want to see!"


It isn't anything terribly original, but it's always nice to see someone in the business with clout (even if that clout is probably decreasing by the day with rants like these) say it. Your ticket purchases are essentially your vote in the movie going world. You can't go see every big budget superhero release and simultaneously complain that Hollywood makes too many superhero movies.


Fri Jun 07, 2013 8:54 am
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Post Re: Steven Soderbergh on the state of Cinema.
I used to think that... and I still kind of do. But I kind of don't, too.

There are really two problems involved. Yes, one of those problems is that the audience gets straight-up-the-middle crap because it mostly pays to see straight-up-the-middle crap. But that crap is "straight-up-the-middle" within certain parameters, and those parameters are dictated almost exclusively by financiers.

These financiers would have you believe that a vast majority of the moviegoing public is neurotically predisposed toward casts of characters and situations designed to reflect a very monochromatic mindset. I don't believe for a moment that this is an accurate picture of the tastes of the audience, but I can believe very easily that this is an accurate picture of the tastes of the people who control the movies. "We're just giving them what they want!" Yes you are, Mr. Financier, to the extent that what they want in a movie doesn't contradict what you're willing to make movies about.

We can charitably assume that financiers are somewhat behind the curve in terms of what the audience is willing to accept in a movie that they're paying to see.

I feel that this theory is bolstered by the recent case of the Cheerios ad with the interracial family. In the ad, absolutely nothing is made of the fact that the mother and father are different races or that the child is biracial--they are presented just the same as any other American family would be in a cereal commercial. It's all very innocuous and nothing about the commercial is making a political statement, except perhaps for the fact that it exists at all. The controversy that cropped up around it was something of a tempest in a teapot, but it was enough impetus that the company shut down YouTube comments and made its market research findings available to the public.

It turned out that every demographic they polled had responded positively to the commercial--except for the over-50 white male demographic, who, for whatever reason, objected to the sight of a racially mixed but otherwise normal family doing normal family stuff.

And which demographic do major movie financiers largely fall into? Everyone chime in all together now...

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Fri Jun 07, 2013 7:00 pm
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Post Re: Steven Soderbergh on the state of Cinema.
Ken wrote:
These financiers would have you believe that a vast majority of the moviegoing public is neurotically predisposed toward casts of characters and situations designed to reflect a very monochromatic mindset. I don't believe for a moment that this is an accurate picture of the tastes of the audience, but I can believe very easily that this is an accurate picture of the tastes of the people who control the movies. "We're just giving them what they want!" Yes you are, Mr. Financier, to the extent that what they want in a movie doesn't contradict what you're willing to make movies about.


Bingo! I can say the exact same about the people who call the shots regarding tv-commercials. I work in that business as a musician (not a fraction of what I did during the 90s, but that's not the point) for about 22 years. The guys who pay (which are the heads of the companies/brands, not the marketing directors nor anyone in the ad agency) want to see spots they like - no exception. I always wondered: are they that stupid and that driven by hubris and vanity: they want to see little movies they like, not movies that sell the fucking product? I mean WTF? Sure, it's a little more complicated than that, but strip it down to what's really important and that's what you got. Filthy rich divas with mediocre tastes rejecting both ideas with great arctistic merit (prestige) and ideas which sell like hotcakes (money). The only reason the system still kinda works is because some people have the balls and manage to get good ideas unchecked into the final product or charm the big shots into believing it was their idea in the first place.

Seems to be the exact same with theatrical feature films - and very likely with commercial music (how come we have such a flood of completely untalented "singer-songwriters" lately who manage to sell bullshit as something "authentic"....)


Sat Jun 08, 2013 12:34 am
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Post Re: Steven Soderbergh on the state of Cinema.
Threeperf35 wrote:
The only reason the system still kinda works is because some people have the balls and manage to get good ideas unchecked into the final product or charm the big shots into believing it was their idea in the first place.

They should call Dom Cobb.

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Sat Jun 08, 2013 5:33 am
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Post Re: Steven Soderbergh on the state of Cinema.
Quote:
"We're just giving them what they want!" Yes you are, Mr. Financier, to the extent that what they want in a movie doesn't contradict what you're willing to make movies about.


Bingo indeed. When a film rules the box office, it means a lot of people saw it, not that a lot of people loved it.


Sat Jun 08, 2013 8:51 pm
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Post Re: Steven Soderbergh on the state of Cinema.
I didn't want to start a new thread, but think this belongs here. Doesn't surprise me about Lincoln. Spielberg's implosion prediction echoes Cook's...

Quote:
Steven Spielberg on Wednesday predicted an "implosion" in the film industry is inevitable, whereby a half dozen or so $250 million movies flop at the box office and alter the industry forever. What comes next -- or even before then -- will be price variances at movie theaters, where "you're gonna have to pay $25 for the next Iron Man, you're probably only going to have to pay $7 to see Lincoln." He also said that Lincoln came "this close" to being an HBO movie instead of a theatrical release.

George Lucas agreed that massive changes are afoot, including film exhibition morphing somewhat into a Broadway play model, whereby fewer movies are released, they stay in theaters for a year and ticket prices are much higher. His prediction prompted Spielberg to recall that his 1982 film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial stayed in theaters for a year and four months.

The two legendary filmmakers, along with CNBC anchor Julia Boorstin and Microsoft president of interactive entertainment business Don Mattrick, were speaking at the University of Southern California as part of the festivities surrounding the official opening of the Interactive Media Building, three stories high and part of the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

Lucas and Spielberg told USC students that they are learning about the industry at an extraordinary time of upheaval, where even proven talents find it difficult to get movies into theaters. Some ideas from young filmmakers "are too fringe-y for the movies," Spielberg said. "That's the big danger, and there's eventually going to be an implosion — or a big meltdown. There's going to be an implosion where three or four or maybe even a half-dozen megabudget movies are going to go crashing into the ground, and that's going to change the paradigm."

Lucas lamented the high cost of marketing movies and the urge to make them for the masses while ignoring niche audiences. He called cable television "much more adventurous" than film nowadays.

"I think eventually the Lincolns will go away and they're going to be on television," Lucas said. "As mine almost was," Spielberg interjected. "This close -- ask HBO -- this close."

"We're talking Lincoln and Red Tails -- we barely got them into theaters. You're talking about Steven Spielberg and George Lucas can't get their movie into a theater," Lucas said. "I got more people into Lincoln than you got into Red Tails," Spielberg joked.

Spielberg added that he had to co-own his own studio in order to get Lincoln into theaters.

"The pathway to get into theaters is really getting smaller and smaller," Lucas said.


http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/s ... ilm-567604


Thu Jun 13, 2013 12:42 pm
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Post Re: Steven Soderbergh on the state of Cinema.
Paul Schrader has been saying this for years. There's a podcast interview he did in 2008 on the press junket for Adam Resurrected in which he predicts that the influx of new media and the increasingly insular nature of the mainstream film business will lead to more people who would traditionally go into movies going into other media instead. He goes so far as to say that if he were entering the arts today himself, he wouldn't choose movies, because "movies are over". And he expressly likens the future of movies to the theatrical experience.

It's also worth bringing up his argument with Roger Ebert over whether or not You Don't Know Jack should be considered for awards and lists alongside the theatrical releases of that year. Schrader was firmly on the side of considering You Don't Know Jack, which was an HBO release.

EDIT:

The kind-hearted scamps who conducted the interview have since put it on YouTube.

It's a little over half an hour and there's a lot of good stuff in it. Well worth the listen for anyone here who has the time.

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Thu Jun 13, 2013 2:36 pm
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Post Re: Steven Soderbergh on the state of Cinema.
Quote:
I didn't want to start a new thread, but think this belongs here. Doesn't surprise me about Lincoln. Spielberg's implosion prediction echoes Cook's...


Glad to hear he and I are on the same page :D To be fair, Lincoln was not very theatrical. I refuse to believe that movies are over though. I just think people need to start thinking outside the studio system and outside of old presumptions. What Lucas is saying about films becoming like Broadway shows...that's happened before. Roadshows of the 1960s, which included some of my favorite films El Cid and Roman Empire. But then Hollywood died and slowly came back to life. It's exciting to hear Spielberg himself nail it down. All it takes is 4-5 huge flops for things to start to change? We can't be too far from that. He's the guy who made the biggest blockbuster of the 1980s with a borderline Chronicle-sized budget.


Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:47 pm
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Post Re: Steven Soderbergh on the state of Cinema.
Any predictions for recent or upcoming movies which might end up flopping?


Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:50 pm
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Post Re: Steven Soderbergh on the state of Cinema.
MGamesCook wrote:
Glad to hear he and I are on the same page :D To be fair, Lincoln was not very theatrical. I refuse to believe that movies are over though. I just think people need to start thinking outside the studio system and outside of old presumptions. What Lucas is saying about films becoming like Broadway shows...that's happened before. Roadshows of the 1960s, which included some of my favorite films El Cid and Roman Empire. But then Hollywood died and slowly came back to life. It's exciting to hear Spielberg himself nail it down. All it takes is 4-5 huge flops for things to start to change? We can't be too far from that. He's the guy who made the biggest blockbuster of the 1980s with a borderline Chronicle-sized budget.

The trouble is that now there are greener pastures, whereas in the 1960s, movies were the greener pastures that young people with a mind for expression were turning to. What was happening in movies back then is now happening in television and web production, and the film industry has sort of wrapped its cocoon tighter as a result.

The only thing I see happening now that is reminiscent of the movie brat generation is the way certain filmmakers, once they've proven successful in the smaller scale arena, are stepping out of relative obscurity to helm bigger productions. But there is a sense that they're largely being picked to mind the store. Marc Webb comes to mind, doing a commendably competent job on The Amazing Spider-Man, but not bringing anything recognizable as an artistic signature to the movie. And then there's Christopher Nolan, whose big productions obviously strike a chord with audiences, but don't have nearly the chutzpah of his less corporate-driven films.

Honestly, my weekly appointment with Mad Men generates more enthusiasm in me than any movie has this year. (With one notable exception that might or might not deliver, and I'll be finding out which is the case very soon.) Matthew Weiner and his stable of writers and directors have a keener sensibility for visual storytelling and human characterization than the majority of today's shake-n-bake producers and directors in the movies.

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Thu Jun 13, 2013 6:08 pm
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Post Re: Steven Soderbergh on the state of Cinema.
Sean wrote:
Any predictions for recent or upcoming movies which might end up flopping?


WB has gone on record predicting 75 mil for the Steel opening this weekend. That sounds a little high to me. This is the End won't outgross it, but it'll take away some of its audience. Superman Returns opened with 52. Thor opened to 65 mil, without competition. Steel is tricky to read, but it could end up with about 60-70. I think This is the End has a chance to hit 40. I disagree with JB, I don't see it being that huge. Brad Pitt will ensure that WWZ puts up a stiff competition next week.

I don't know about big flops for the future though. They always come out of nowhere. Pacific Rim could easily flop in this country, but I dunno about overseas.

Quote:
But there is a sense that they're largely being picked to mind the store.


cough[*]Josh Trank F4[*]cough. For those of us aspiring to create our own work someday, it's...kinda hard to know just what to do right now. All things considered though, I think Chronicle is a great model. To aspire to get a dream project made at a relatively young age. But yeah, all these guys are minding the stores instead of opening new stores. Well, if Edgar Wright ever ends up making Ant Man, that should be interesting.


Thu Jun 13, 2013 6:17 pm
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Post Re: Steven Soderbergh on the state of Cinema.
Jeff Wilder wrote:
KWRoss wrote:
That paragraph about how fewer and fewer executives are in the business because they really love movies is quite disturbing.


That sums up something I long suspected. Most director's will talk about being told about needing to reach the widest possible audience. That's pretty obvious. You make a movie, you want people to see it. That's the case whether you're talking about a Spielberg or Cameron film or a Sayles or Coen Brothers one.

However, it seems as if Hollywood has given up about trying to reach the widest possible audience. It seems that the current philosophy is as folows: the audience doesn't count. Only the numbers do. That philosophy in practice is what led to John Carter, Battleship and the dismal remake of Total Recall and we know how well those turned out, both artistically and financially.

Vexer wrote:
I say directors should try and make films that they would actually want to see themselves, be they big or small.


One of the few things I agree 100% with Vexer on.



John Carter does not belong on the same list as Battleship or the Total Recall remake.


Thu Jun 13, 2013 7:04 pm
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Post Re: Steven Soderbergh on the state of Cinema.
ilovemovies wrote:
Jeff Wilder wrote:
KWRoss wrote:
That paragraph about how fewer and fewer executives are in the business because they really love movies is quite disturbing.


That sums up something I long suspected. Most director's will talk about being told about needing to reach the widest possible audience. That's pretty obvious. You make a movie, you want people to see it. That's the case whether you're talking about a Spielberg or Cameron film or a Sayles or Coen Brothers one.

However, it seems as if Hollywood has given up about trying to reach the widest possible audience. It seems that the current philosophy is as folows: the audience doesn't count. Only the numbers do. That philosophy in practice is what led to John Carter, Battleship and the dismal remake of Total Recall and we know how well those turned out, both artistically and financially.

Vexer wrote:
I say directors should try and make films that they would actually want to see themselves, be they big or small.


One of the few things I agree 100% with Vexer on.



John Carter does not belong on the same list as Battleship or the Total Recall remake.

You're right, both of those films were a lot more entertaining then John Carter was.


Thu Jun 13, 2013 8:25 pm
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Post Re: Steven Soderbergh on the state of Cinema.
Ha! More like the opposite.

You actually liked the Total Recall remake?


Thu Jun 13, 2013 8:58 pm
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Post Re: Steven Soderbergh on the state of Cinema.
ilovemovies wrote:
Ha! More like the opposite.

You actually liked the Total Recall remake?

Yeah, does that really surprise you? I'm surprised you didn't already know that, i'm pretty sure i've mentioned before that I liked that film.


Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:13 pm
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