Whenever I think about the box office problems that faced Hollywood in 2011, I’m always reminded of the author P.J. O’Rourke.
In his 1987 book “Holidays in Hell,” a collection of O’Rourke’s foreign reporting for Rolling Stone and other outlets, the author recounts a conversation with a Russian about the problems facing the former Soviet Union.
Those issues, the wit tells O’Rourke are “fatal, but not serious.”
Writing in The Wrap today, Sharon Waxman offers five remedies for filmdom’s current doldrums. But there’s not reason for optimism. I’ve written a couple of times of why that’s the case (hint: rhymes with ‘endless reboots.’).
She notes the industry has “lived through a decade of declining movie attendance – seven of the last nine year have represented falling attendance or, at best, flat attendance (see box, left, sourced to Boxofficemojo.com). The 3D bonanza, adopted last year by A-list directors Martin Scorsese (“Hugo”) and Steven Spielberg (“Tintin”) hasn’t translated into robust box office sales. We know that technology has decimated the DVD money gusher.”
And when she asked one expert whether things will get better, she got this answer in return:
“It’s not cyclical. This is a technological shift on a generational scale, and the long term technology is distribution on the web—and that’s not 10 years, that’s forever,” said the respected financial analyst Hal Vogel, who declared that the business “will never be the same again.”
To address the slide, Waxman offers a couple of thunderously obvious prescriptions (tell better stories, don’t forget the grown-ups) and one less obvious one:
“Explore the overseas markets beyond movie-saturated India and quota-bound China. Other markets are ripe for exploitation, countries with a middle class that is growing exponentially and eager to discover the pleasures of consumer society. We’re talking Brazil, Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia.”
And, oh yeah, don’t loathe high-tech, embrace it: “. So you didn’t buy a new media monster? Get used to working with the digital masters who move the needle in our brave new world. They will eventually bring Hollywood major revenue, even if it won’t match the billions lost from DVDs.”
Read the full story here.