Repeating: “We’re entering an era where the only films with any chance for success will be the $100 million-plus tentpoles, and reasonably priced films of some perceived quality.”
Developing the riff: “I’ve had far too many fight-the-power wannabe filmmakers cheer this vision of the future, which they believe will usher out the bloated, soul-less big studio retreads and usher in a new democratic era of access to moviemaking fame and glory for all. Lots of people are drinking this Kool-Aid.
“Fifteen years ago, the Sundance Film Festival got 500 submissions. This year, they received 5,000. Virtually all of these are privately financed. There’s only one problem: most of the films are flat-out awful (trust me, I have had to sit through tons of them over the years). Let me put it another way: the digital revolution is here, and boy, does it suck.
“It’s not enough to have access to the moviemaking process. Talent matters more. Quality of emotional content is what matters, period. In a world with too many choices, companies are finally realizing they can’t risk the marketing money on most movies.
“Here’s how bad the odds are: of the 5000 films submitted to Sundance each year — generally with budgets under $10 million — maybe 100 of them got a U.S. theatrical release three years ago. And it used to be that 20 of those would make money. Now maybe five do. That’s one-tenth of one percent.
“Put another way, if you decide to make a movie budgeted under $10 million on your own tomorrow, you have a 99.9% chance of failure.”