Hollywood has long been dying, but beware when movie legends tell you so
A view from Russell Davies

Hollywood has long been dying, but beware when movie legends tell you so

I bet you get bored with all the apocalyptic media talk - this is dying, that is falling off a cliff, the other is exploding...

But, every now and then, someone who really knows their stuff says these things – and, if you’re very lucky, they do it with the sort of clarity that makes you examine the future of a whole industry. That’s worth paying attention to. So, if you’re interested in the movies, I would urge you to look at a site called The Verge for reports of a recent talk given by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.

Spielberg points out the seemingly inevitable conservatism of the movie industry in the face of expanding content choices: "You’re at the point right now where a studio would rather invest $250 million in one film for a real shot at the brass ring than make a whole bunch of really interesting, deeply personal – and even maybe historical – projects that may get lost in the shuffle."

At some point soon, a slew of mega productions will flop all at once and Hollywood will be forced into change

He suggests that, at some point soon, a slew of these mega-productions will flop all at once and Hollywood will be forced into dramatic change. That change will include: movie-going becoming a rarer, more special and more expensive occasion; movies being released in all formats, everywhere, at the same time; and most "movies’"coming to us via online services. This, the pair suggest, will mean a bright future for movie-makers with a particular vision – they will be able to make a living out of globally aggregated niche audiences.

And they end the whole thing with just the right media-prognosticator tone – apocalyptic vision mixed with starry-eyed optimism. Lucas puts it like this: "It’s a mess. It’s total chaos. But out of that chaos will come some really amazing things. And, right now, there are amazing opportunities for young people coming into the industry to say: ‘Hey, I think I’m going to do this and there’s nobody to stop me.’ It’s because all the gatekeepers have been killed!"

Russell Davies is a creative director at Government Digital Service
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