Hollywood’s Disconnect

Maybe Hollywood should look at the video game industry to see what is selling to American audiences. Despite Hollywood’s best efforts, there is no audience for a movie that portrays American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines as criminals, thugs, and dishonorable cowards, and Hollywood’s version of “dramatics” is clearly not what audiences want. One would think that Hollywood would stop producing movies that clearly have no mass market appeal, but apparently the only applied aspect of capitalism in that town has to do with salaries.

Meanwhile over in video games, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare continues it’s winning streak, landing in 2nd place on Xbox 360, 3rd place on PS3, and 3rd place for PC games for week 10 of 2008. CoD4 was also the top selling game for the month of Feb, shipping 296,200 units, which at retail is about $15 million in sales, and the title has been out for 8 months. Activision originally projected they would sell 7 million units of this title, translating into a total take of $350 million.

Friday’s No. 7 Stop-Loss fell a spot to 8th after it opened to only $1.7 million Friday and Saturday from a limited 1,291 plays. It eked out a $4.5M weekend. Although the drama from MTV Films was the best-reviewed movie opening this weekend, Paramount wasn’t expecting much because no Iraq war-themed movie has yet to perform at the box office. “It’s not looking good,” a studio source told me before the weekend. “No one wants to see Iraq war movies. No matter what we put out there in terms of great cast or trailers, people were completely turned off. It’s a function of the marketplace not being ready to address this conflict in a dramatic way because the war itself is something that’s unresolved yet. It’s a shame because it’s a good movie that’s just ahead of its time.”

[From Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood Daily » ‘21? Holds Winning Hand At Box Office; ‘Superhero’ Is Superflop; ‘Stop-Loss’ DOA]

More on this topic (What's this?)
I collect waste
Ride or Slide: GameStop
Finding Video Game Profits
Read more on Video Games, Game Consoles Wars: Xbox 360 vs. PS3 vs. Wii at Wikinvest

5 thoughts on Hollywood’s Disconnect

  1. One can only hope that the efforts of Hollywood celebrities to influence the 2008 election will prove as negligible as they did in 2004.

    Maybe the public is smarter than they think. When it comes to important political, social or economic issues of the day, perhaps most of the public realizes that the opinions of rich, sheltered and vapid “Hollywood elites” are simply irrelevant.

    “Ahead of its time” my *ss.

  2. Hey Jeff, are you suggesting that Hollywood, which is made up of different studios run by different people (not all flaming liberals, btw) decided as a group to come out with anti-American war movies to educate the public? Oh, were it that simple. And if we follow your suggestions, all Hollywood would put out would be movies of video games (hey, it didn’t do badly with Disney World rides). But appealing to the lowest common denominator won’t solve anything. Clint Eastwood’s recent patriotic WWII movies didn’t do that well, either.

  3. Leland,
    I am suggesting that Hollywood studio chiefs, producers, and influence peddlers are generally all within the same echo chamber and have disconnected from what American audiences want to pay $10 a ticket to go and see.

    It’s not about appealing to the lowest common denominator either, I believe it’s as simple as not being hostile to the American audience as whole.

    Flags of our Fathers did $62m gross in theatres and another $44m in DVD sales, which for a movie with a budget of $50m is a hell of lot better than any of the current generation of Iraq movies will do, probably as an entire group. Letters From Iwo Jima, a film with most of the dialog as subtitles, did even better. It’s theatre gross was $68m and DVD’s did another $15m, but that movie was made for a meager $13m budget. On balance, I think you are incorrect on the facts to suggest that Eastwood didn’t do well with these movies.

    Interestingly, Call of Duty has until the Modern Warfare title been entirely set in WWII and it’s surely broken over $1 billion in sales to date, suggesting that there is some correlation between what sells at the theatre and on the game console.

  4. Good point about Eastwood’s films, Jeff — guess I could have looked those numbers up, huh? The thing that really fascinates me about gaming/movies is that gaming is a much larger business, yet movies still seem to be considered somehow more important by media and online sources. I think the real problem in Hollywood is a complete lack of original source material, which means that it relies on films mostly based around books, nostalgic tv shows, theme-park rides, sequels and popular video games.

  5. yeah, I think gaming is far more creative than movies these days.

    One last point on Eastwood, I really preferred Letters over Flags. While both were interesting as a sort of “bookends” on Iwo Jima, Letters was a beautifully done movie that humanized Japanese soldiers without covering up their brutality. Tora Tora Tora is the only other mainstream theatre movie I am aware of that includes the Japanese POV.

    There’s a really interesting movie titled Tae Guk Gi that you should look into as well.

    Das Boot was a similar experience, albeit from the German perspective.

Comments are closed