Outposters remain ahead of the curve. For months the Disqus has been full of talk about the state of Hollywood, and disbelief at the sheer cost of production these days. You pinpointed it as a major cause of Hollywood’s current troubles. Now the boss of Paramount has admitted that the landscape is troubled. Old, reliable genres and markets no longer work, and costs are too high.
In a special feature in Variety, Paramount CEO Brian Robbins spoke about how the changing world means changing plans, and how studios are all waking up to the fact they need to control costs while looking again at their strategy and release tactics.
He confirms that animation is really under pressure. High Profile Disney/Pixar failures are a lesson to the industry. So much so that Paramount is shifting animated projects with even a shred of doubt about their commercial viability direct to Paramount+. The first of these is the crab movie Under The Boardwalk. Theatrical release will be reserved for familiar properties with commercial clout, such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, a new SpongeBob SquarePants, and Avatar: The Last Airbender. He said of this change in approach:
“We’re not going to release an expensive original animated movie and just pray people will come. It’s not about Disney and Pixar anymore. People are looking for animated movies that are irreverent and have a comedic point of view.”
When speaking about production costs, he was even more forthright:
“It’s no one’s fault. COVID and inflation took the $100 million movies and made them cost $200 million. But movie tickets didn’t go from $12 to $24. We have to ask: How do we build movies? What’s necessary? We need to make smart choices. You can’t have everything, but you need that foundation to be strong.”
This is the first admission that the industry is at its squeeze point. Customers simply won’t pay much more for a movie theater ticket, but production costs are out of all step with reality while writers and actors are striking for a raise. There is only one way out of this, and nobody is going to like it.
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