Yesterday Patrick Goldstein reiterated a common observation (which was initially stated on 7.15 by Variety‘s Anne Thompson) that Paramount Vantage’s decision to replace production and acquisition exec Amy Israel with ex-New Line exec Guy Stodel, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise-revival guy, means that Vantage is about to be “turned into a Screen Gems-style genre division.”
As Goldstein correctly pointed out, the Stodel hire is an expression of a creaky philosophy. If you want to really make money, the thinking goes, resuscitate the spirit of Irwin Yablans by making movies for the mongrel element. Enough with the artsy-fartsy upscale stuff and make movies that sell popcorn to the genre geeks and the shaved-head guys who wear Foot Locker sneakers.
The problem is that lowball comedies, thriller and horror pics almost never deliver the magic — they aren’t intended to — and a too-heavy emphasis on lowball elements can make a distributor smell a little skanky after a while. Most people go to movies with the notion that something spiritual might happen — that they might end up knocked back or levitated out of their seats. We all go to films for the first-class stuff, whatever form it may come in. Leaving aside sophisticated genre-wallowers like Quentin Tarantino, only the bottom-of-the-barrel types go to movies to have their gut-level cravings sated.
The basic philosophy of any good filmmaker should be that dreams transport because they’re better than real life. If you don’t believe that, you don’t really believe in movies.