The end of Hollywood

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Vijay Bal’s blog on the ‘State of Hollywood’ provoked me to look into the very near future where, when SPIDERMAN takes his mask off, he will either be Chinese or Indian. Where Spiderman will swing not in New York, but in Shanghai or in Mumbai. And the film will be funded and produced in Asia. And I do believe that Hollywood is on the decline, bieng crushed under it’s own weight. And near-sightedness.


And this is not about ‘us and them’. It is pure economics and consumerism. The prime culture of the world since the 2nd world war has been the American Pop culture. And for good reason. It was rebellious and new, it appealed to the youth and did not sit in arrogance of orthodoxy. And it was cutting edge and encouraged individuality.
It does not do that any longer. Big is not neccesarily beautiful.
The American Pop cuture sprung it’s world wide appeal on the financial strength of it’s home market. A few years ago North America accounted for 80% of the revenues for Hollywood product. Now for films like Harry Potter, it accounts for a third or less.
As the ‘foreign’ component continues to rise, Hollywood will be forced to cater more and more to consumers overseas. Studies show that we are heading to a revenue model where 75% of the revenues for entertainment will come from Asia.
When that happens, the Asian consumer will flex it’s financial muscle just as the North American consumer did once. The consumer will not just accept the notion that Asia is an expanding market for Western product. It will want home grown product that is much closer to it’s own cultural preferences. So if you want to make an international ‘hit’, then you will only be able to do so if the film appeals inherrently to Asian consumers.
So what will Hollywood be then ? The films will neither be written in Hollywood, nor will they be produced in Hollywood, nor will North America be the significant market.
But there are internal factors too. Film making in Hollywood is becoming too Corporate. As the Corporations turn into Mega Corporations through mergers (Time Warner), the owners and the film makers are largely distanced from each other. The CEO’s of these corporation respond far more to the share price of the Corporation in the stock market than to the encouraging of risk taking in the creation of exciting new films. This is also proving so obviously true in the music bussiness.
The essentials of managing a large Corporation require the standardization of product. The essentials of the entertainment bussiness is individuality. You cannot expect McDonalds to have the diverse Menu of a good French or Italian restaraunt. This is ‘McDonaldization’ of films. Film in Hollywood is now defined as Product, and what you make is largely controlled by the ‘marketing Boys’. Is it any wonder then that most big films now are sequels of succesful films, and every Hollywood studio is scouring to pick up film rights for Comic Books or succesful TV serials ?
So I see the new wave of film making coming from the East. The new mega stars will not be ‘western’ but probably Chinese or Indian. There will be reverse cultural colonization. After all if western Media could sell Tom Cruise as a sex symbol to a Chinese teenager in Shanghai, surely in the future, and based on the same economic and cutural principles, India can sell a future Amitabh Bacchan as the worlds next super star.
Is this a good thing ? Absolutely. Change and Chaos is always great for the creative process. Individuality is great for the creative process.
Perhaps over the years maybe the new Asian Media corporations will be as overburdened with their own overhead and arrogance as Hollywood is now, but then we quite a few years to go for that,
Till then, lets celebrate individuality of story telling and film making. Just enjoy the new , Mexican, Chinese, Japanese and Indian films.
Shekhar

9 Responses to “The end of Hollywood”

  1. Rajan says:

    Hi,
    Here are my few cents.
    [
    Note: I am no expert in economics/sociology. Also I dont understand the dynamics of the film market the way you do but still would like to put forward my opinion on this one even if they are kind of amateurish 🙂
    ]
    Its true that a general trend “that hollywood is on the decline” is being observed but I attribute that to greedy and old thinking ( command & control) nature of Hollywood.
    They are not able to understand there have been discontinuities in consumer needs, in fact they don’t even have the cognitive capacity to sense that change. Now how is that, it is partly technology and partly other reasons.
    With the invent of technologies like peer to peer, the distribution cost of any media( movies & music) have reduced to nearly zero. People enjoy and gain by sharing but media companies (RIAA & Hollywood) dread that and try to put
    curbs (that the consumers hate) which then
    get eventually hacked.{A simple tautology that
    I have/like is that anything that can be hacked
    will be hacked) and RIAA & Hollywood would end up
    suing people. Hollywood’s problem is its antiquated busines model. It does not embrace
    sharing (non commercial use & derivatives).
    If instead they try to re-invent its own business model and give what the consumers want
    they have a better chance of doing well.
    Here is thought that I penned a while ago
    as to how can embrace sharing for music.
    http://thiyagarajan.blogspot.com/2005/03/decent-thought.html
    Something like this can be worked out for movies & hollywood.
    Well talking about consumerism in America you are very right when you say that “prime culture of the world since the 2nd world war has been the American Pop culture” but of late America & americans have started hate this and are moving from this trend – organic food,vegetarianism, work for a cause etc. The general american society is slowly transitioning from a consumerist to one that is seeking more meaning in its existence. And media(Hollywood) by large should get aware of it and provide the americans entertainment that help them seek such meaning.
    While the rest of the world , ( India largely included) are aping the consumerist culture that US has. So the Hollywood which was catering to s consumerist americans find new target audience but of course the hollywood has to culturally contextualize in the geography they are delivering.
    Ofcourse change is the only constant (I love it ) and in this current times of inflection hope you will bring in a catalysis
    required to transform this whole thing that is of value to everyone involved.
    Cheers,
    Rajan

  2. James Joseph says:

    Dear Shekhar,
    i was longing to get thru you for decade, i’m father of 02 children working in service industry, however my ambition is to be an actor
    and i had tried (approched) years togather in molliwood( chennai) could not get thru , then the life rolled down ….
    i would request u that if a chancce provided to
    me , i can proof my ability and my ambition will get fulfilled ..
    looking forward for your earliest reply
    Best regards
    James

  3. rajeev mishra says:

    hello shekahr ji
    sir iam rajeev mishra an actor..confident about myself…sir as an actor i want to work with you
    it very natural for an actor to look forward to work with DIRECTOR who dont make
    j[l]ustfilm ..they make CINEMA.you r one OF THEM who make cinema.sir ihave acted in hindi film directed by PANKUJ PARASHER..those film are
    1]saab gol maal hai[unreleased..name might change]
    2]Benaras[unreleased..]my character name is MAHAMAYA.
    WELL SIR IT IS BUT OBVIOUS FOR AN ACTOR TO WORK WITH A DIRECTOR OF CINEMA.I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO YOUR REPLY…..REPLY FOR THE FUTURE IN PRESENT!

  4. arun agarwal says:

    sir
    i have read ur opinion on hollywood in a negative manner which is very much disappointing….it seems u alongwith other so called asians want the hollywood industry to go down on knees and beg for a place and support from asians (indians) to let them survive…i am not good in english but i wud try to express myself…its a fact that reverse cultural colonisation is happening as it is change is inevitable on every aspect of life and the universe on the whole…we just cant write hollywood off just like that…we shud accept they r really talented and made great movies and has been entertaining the world for the last few decades and still r goin strong if not stronger…i dont see anythin wrong if they want to make commercially successful films and make money out of it….wud u get any finance for a film if u keep makin films which are not bringin in profits…i dont see anythin great bout the films u have made so far (masoom/phoolan devi/elizabeth)i think except for masoom u have chosen the subjects very carefully ….people watched phoolan devi coz of its shock factor…otherwise its juss a regular film…nothin special bout it…there is no distinctive style in the makin of the film…till now u have selected the subjects which are of high curiosity to the public in general…like elizabeth/mandela or budhha (if u r still makin them)…i guess anyone with some experience and resources cud have made a film u have made so far…i think directors shud have some style of makin films …like hitchcock,brain de palma,martin scorcesse,gurudutt,ritwick ghatak,john woo,ramgopal verma,raj kumar santoshi, and some others i dont recall their names right now….they all have some style in their work…people dont care who the star is or wut the story is when they go to see their films…they go coz they like their style of film making…and wut asian culture are u referin here i dont know …talkin of india…where is india…wut the industry is doin now…every filmmaker from top to bottom is recycling hollywood films and makin money out of it….wut culture we are projecting…our films are desperately tryin to look western on the lines of hollywood…sir amitabh bacchhan replied on bein asked bout bollywood actors gettin hollywood projects …he said we wont fit there at all as we are totally different from them we are brown we speak different language …we behave differently…we are completely a misfit there…i have seen some english films made by some modern indian directors…they look so funny speakin english…very uncomfortable but they dont mind they want to be called modern western indians….they feel proud in makin films like that showin nudity and stuff in the name of modern cinema ….i dont see india in our movies now….india is lost …its gettin extincted gradually…on the other hand i wud appreciate the chinese people who have made a mark of their own from actors to directors…they have put their martial arts on global scene…wut have we done ….we have only mananged to recycle the hollywood films only…a lagaan once in a while wont make any difference…actors in india feel proud and on the ninth sky speakin only english in interviews as if they dont know if there is a language called hindi…why we have to think of makin spiderman …why cant we have indian hero…we have so much of mythology lying idol…but who is bothered ….filmakers are copying shamlessly and feelin proud that they copied successfully …we are not a patch on them ….they r really genius and wud remain so…india is nowhere near hollywood and never will….

  5. Grant Reeves says:

    i am so pleased to discover a talent like yourself can be approached. it says much about your personal humility and desire for continuing growth.
    i am a composer and searched you out because i am awestruck by your film ‘elizabeth’. it is absolutely real and of course, very beautiful.
    as a person who is dedicated to writing music for the sake of the ‘harmonic’ journey, i share a parallel of frustration with yourself. (and i hope i am not being too bold in assuming the truth of that) yours, hollywood; mine, an audience for serious music – an audience for music as an art form. (which interestingly enough, good film provides possibly the only format for it’s exposure)
    to find/create a public that will allow itself to ‘hear’ a well crafted composition on it’s own merits is difficult to say the least. …my intent musically is to take an audience on a journey of self discovery thru the harmonic & rhythmic values inherent in my own compositions. -to develope that thought into film property/content: …through the process of listening to a collection of recent compositions, i am absorbed with visualizations from which are realized distinct storylines, from piece to piece. albeit as a composer, i don’t at this time have complete storyline/screenplays developed from these pieces, however the level of the ‘human condition’ that is explored in the ‘harmonic’ value of the compositions lend themselves to a series of (i believe, at least potentially) fascinating films.
    it is my intent to search out great talents with which i can align my own talents/visions to realize-as an immediate result-the creation of a series of films that explore the ‘human condition’. -observations on the various ways we as humans prey, love, hurt, inspire and ultimately, hopefully transcend our own species into… perhaps a new long awaited/overdue, raised level of conciousness. a lofty goal, and hopefully not from a point of personal arrogance, rather; from a long standing and continuing point of observation on humankind, that demands (at least) an attempt to explore possibilities on raising the concious state of our shared condition (from our own work as artists [music/film]. a raised moral cognitive state, i would hope) – as opposed to only observing it’s many, continued, repeated & largely celebrated flaws.
    I would welcome any opportunity to share my concepts with you. either through a meeting or initially: I could send you a CD of some of my pieces with basic storylines included, if you have a quiet moment to observe them.
    please accept my apologies in advance for any unknowing offense.
    thank you so much for your sharing your gifts.
    grant reeves
    grantlin93@yahoo.com

  6. rishi bisen says:

    i am the man which can play the role of budhha in film budhha because i think that i want to work in my life work for mankind like god budhha

  7. Vikas Rajput says:

    Hi
    I wish you great luck in whatever you do. May God give you lots of energy to accomplish all what you want.
    Also, I would like to invite you to my home whenever you happen to be in Delhi. Aapse baat karne ka bahut dil hai!
    Regards,
    Vikas Rajput

  8. vicky kamal says:

    BECUASE HOLLYWOOD CANNOT EXCEPT THE TRUTH AND PUT IT AS HONESTLY AS IT IS WRITTEN BY GOD,
    YES THIS IS ONE REASON TO APROACH YOU SIR,
    AND ALSO THAT AS YOU RIGHTLY SAID THE CONSUMERSIM, COORPORATISM AND MACDOLANDISM HAS CAPTURED THIER MINDS, ACTUALLY THEY ARE BLINDED BY SATAN TO SEE THE TRUTH,
    ANIL KAPOOR VERY RECENTLY SAID IN CHOCLATE,FILM,SATAN DOES NOT EXIST IN PEOPLES THINKING AND BELIEVES, THAT IS SATAN’S MAIN ACHIEVEMENT(I AM PUTTING IT IN MY VIEW , NOT EXACTLY THE QUOTE)
    I WAS PROVOKED IN MY THOUGHTS BY GOD TO FINALLY TRY FIND YOU, I GOT YOUR ADDRESS AFTER A LOT RESEARCH ON SEVERAL SEARCH ENGINES, BUT I WAS MORE INTERETED IN E MAIL.BUT AFTER FAILING AGAIN AND AGAIN, AGAIN A THOUGHT CAME TO ME BECAUSE I WAS THINKING ABOUT GOOGLE SEARCH REPORT SAID YOU ARE CALLED BY TWO DIFERENT NAMES SPELLING KAPUR AND KAPOOR. JUST THAN I TYPED http://WWW.SHEKHARKAPUR.COM AND BINGO GOT A SATISFACTION OF MY HARD WORK. THANK YOU.

  9. Disney Land animations will keep them Immortal.the next leap in movie making is Animation .

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