Fuck Creativity, Hollywood is a Business
Remember when rule number one of business was “sex sells”? Well Hollywood has traded in sex for elongated storylines and spin-offs on characters audiences commit to. For the past few years, movie theaters have stayed in business due to the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and other male skewing franchises such as Star Wars, James Bond, and The Fast and the Furious, while women, teens and young adults got their fix from series such as Fifty Shades of Grey and Harry Potter, respectively. Film studios are staying in business because they license film’s IP for use in retail, toys, clothing, and theme park attractions. The fact is, audiences show up for franchises.
For a long time, under the direction of Amy Pascal, Sony stuck to their guns and committed to the art of filmmaking. However, as other film studios continued to prove that franchises were best for business, Sony caved and worked on building their own franchises consisting of Spider-Man and Men and Black films. Pressured by the reality of business - profits - Pascal was forced to ride the franchise wave instead of taking advantage of the technical prowess of Sony to collect data during times of success and failure to determine what stories their audiences actually wanted to see, a la Netflix.
So the question is, how long will tried and true franchises survive in the age of diverse storytelling? What’s next for film and tv creatives?
If more women, people of color, and LBGTQ storytellers enter the franchise world, there is a chance for longevity. However, as audiences long to see more stories that authentically reflect the makeup of society, that provoke a new way of thinking, they are forced to subscribe to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and even cable as network execs serve up new, interesting shows and anthologies.