It’s been a rough year for most industries, and Hollywood has not been immune. Despite a small increase in box office take, which only accounts for about a quarter of film revenue, most studios have taken a big hit this year and one (MGM) is on the edge of bankruptcy. Consequently, the blood has run thick in the halls of Hollwood offices, with studio execs from Disney, MGM, Paramount and Universal getting the axe in recent months.
The Times Online recently ran an article profiling Donna Langley, the new co-chairman of Universal Pictures. Besides extensively discussing Langley and her daunting new assignment, the article contained some interesting commentary from Edward Jay Epstein, author of The Big Picture: the New Logic of Money and Power in Hollywood.
According to Epstein, there are many more studio bigwigs who should be fingering their necks uncomfortably as they sit in their corner offices:
“The studios are firing the heads and saying everything is going to be all right. But the problems are so enormous they can’t be solved even by making better movies. We are going to see many more studio executives lose their jobs in the coming months.”
Some of the “enormous problems” that Epstein is talking about are the lack of funds, ever-increasing film budgets and drying-up credit that studios are facing. Plummeting DVD sales, are of course mentioned as contributing to the studios’ woes.
“The money that rushed in from 2000 to 2007 in DVD sales papered over cracks in the business, but it was a temporary phenomenon,” said Epstein.
The article cites consumer exhaustion with the format, quality television alternatives and a certain $1 per night kiosk operator as culprits in the downfall of DVDs. Epstein was also bearish on studios’ hopes that digital delivery will help stanch the dollars they are bleeding. Regarding downloads, he said Hollywood may be swapping “analog dollars for digital pennies”.
When will it all end, Insiders? Can rolling studio heads’ heads, fresh blood and new ideas turn around the fortunes of the once-mighty titans of Hollywood?
[via Times Online]