Rushfield: It's Time to Fight Back
An Independence Day manifesto as an industry drifts closer to the falls
My least favorite genre of journalism is jumping to sweeping conclusions on the basis of one weekend’s box office. Or even on the basis of a few months’ box office.
And this year’s box office is not even an abject catastrophe. I'd call it more of a disappointment, relative to what were in retrospect, overheated expectations for various films.
Nonetheless, while one can usually wave away the full-blown freakout and call for heads to roll when a movie opens a couple of million south of its NRG numbers, it becomes harder when the car is belching smoke and no longer communicating with its brakes.
So the past month or so of releases may not be the worst thing ever to happen around here, but for lack of evidence to the contrary, it feels an awful lot like — name your omen — harbingers of the apocalypse, auguries of destruction, chronicles of Hollywood’s death foretold. One of those.
Okay, let me restate that. (And Happy 4th, everyone!)
The past few weeks’ box office doesn't mean anything in and of itself. In these times, what’s a few hundred million between friends and conglomerates?
And in the next few weeks M.I., Barbie and Oppenheimer could reset the conventional wisdom. In August, for all we know, Strays waddles in and ignites an explosion in animal-driven R-rated humor.
But big picture at this moment: We’re still screwed.
Because our overlords, in their wisdom, have winnowed the Hollywood business model down to more or less two things: humongous four-quadrant tentpoles and streaming subscription fees.
To be clear…