I often stumble on a movie, say on cable, watch it for a while and then ask myself: how on earth does crap like that gets made in the first place and who the hell puts up the money to make this stuff? Apart from the ones which are financed by the mob, obviously, who don’t really care about the content, as long as it can launder some of its dirty cash through inflated production costs.
But what about the other ones? Imagine, someone writes a really bad script and brings it to a big studio. The plot is non-existent, the characters are two-dimensional, the dialogues make no sense, the action is unrealistic and the intimate scenes are a joke. In other words, the whole concept sucks. And yet studio execs accept this trash and even throw a huge budget at it. Is there some hidden agenda in the deal? Are there commissions paid to studio execs behind the scenes? Because if it works like the world of banking, where loans are given to hopeless projects in return for kickbacks, then I can understand part of the incentive. Although, of course, it would be much easier to get a good script and make some money along the way for the studio as well.
What I fail to understand completely is how on earth private money is raised on the basis of bad scripts. How does that work? Apart from the instances when the mob is involved, as I’ve already pointed out. But why would venture capitalists put their money into a shitty script and expect to lose most of it, if not all of it?
I mean, it usually takes one quick glance at the script to figure out that it sucks. So how does the thinking go on from there, I’d like to know. Do the money men think that the film director will turn a bad script into a great movie? But there are practically no good directors left out there, so that would be a long shot. Or is it a vanity thing and venture capitalists just simply go for the glamour, the fame and the broads, of course?
I’ve heard from some people who know the movie industry inside out that big studios can squeeze a profit out of any rubbish by pumping money into the promotion campaign. Look at Titanic, they say. The whole concept was a lost one from the start. The plot was primitive, the ending was known to everyone in advance, the acting was abysmal and only the props looked impressive. Well, sort of impressive. And yet this hugely expensive project (was the mob involved in it by any chance?) made more money than any other film. Until Avatar came along, obviously, and made even more profit.
How did this happen? Well, the promotion for both films was huge, simply enormous. They say about $100 million and $200 million went into them respectively. With that sort of money even a silent Bollywood movie would probably gross a lot.
Ah, you might say, but what about the big Hollywood names, the actors and actresses who attract crowds of loyal fans? And I’d agree that a lot of bad films get at least some of their costs recovered by using ‘bankable names’, as they are referred to in the business. But still, there are so many films that are flops with money lost. (Apart from porn, that is: porn always seems to bring in a profit, considering the numbers of sad pathetic people out there who’ll watch anything if it’s got penetration of some sort in it.)
Still, what about all those money-losing movies? Again, my line of thinking can be countered by the depressing suggestion that brain-dead audiences now outnumber people who expect at least some sort of plot and some acting in the films they go to watch in cinemas. OK, I’ll say to that: but would it not be more sensible to make relatively good films and earn decent money on them? There are hundreds of great scripts out there that could be made into films. It’s just that good scriptwriters are finding it tough to get through the corrupt system that exists in the movie industry. A lot of this industry is run by mediocrities who wouldn’t recognise a good script even it kicked them in the crotch.
Baffling, really baffling. I honestly don’t get it. Do you?
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