“Let’s create a luxury tax for Hollywood,” Marshall Fine has suggested, “comparable to the one Major League Baseball invokes whenever a team tries to buy itself a pennant by stocking up on expensive star players.
“Except, in the case of Hollywood, this would be a tax that Hollywood would charge itself every time it makes a movie that costs $100 million or more. There would be a tax of X amount of dollars — let’s say 10 percent — for every $10 million over the $99-million mark a movie’s budget goes (and I’m including the cost of advertising and marketing, which can double a movie’s price-tag). And we’d round up, from $101 million.
“That money, in turn, would go to a not-for-profit fund to help underwrite less affluent artists. It could be used for grants for low-budget independent films. Or perhaps — given Hollywood’s reputation as a hive of liberalism — it could be earmarked for the National Endowment for the Arts, which always has a bulls-eye painted on it by conservatives, targeting it for elimination.”
There’s no question about one thing: 93% of the time a smaller budget always results in greater creativity. Yes, 7% of the time an expensive movie will seem to be worth the cost with most of the the dough having been spent wisely and excitingly. Okay, make it 10% or 12% of the time. But the rest of the time big-budgets just smother the spirit.