Day By Day

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Who Killed Big Cinema?

Ed Driscoll over at TCS has an interesting article titled "The Era Big Cinema is Over."

His argument is that a persistent left-wing bias in major films has alienated the moviegoing audience and now that alternative media are easily available even the biggest blockbusters cannot reliably draw a sufficient number of movegoers to make a profit. Political correctness could only be sustained when Movies and TV had a monopoly, but now that alternative media, especially the intenet, are available, the audience is free to seek other forms of entertainment. Moviehouses are empty and the major movie industry is doomed. In its place is emerging a plethora of small budget entertainments, cheaply produced for niche audiences.

Most of his argument is conventional wisdom, but what is interesting is that he weds this CW regarding the effect of the internet with Michael Medved's assertion that until recently Hollywood was able to get away with advancing political and moral positions that most of its audience found offensive. This, he argues, explains the sudden collapse of big cinema. Audiences, offended and alienated by the left-wing bias of what they were seeing, were desperately looking for an alternative to the TV/Hollywood monopoly and as soon as alternative media were available, they jumped for it.

Could be. I still think that the problem is that the big productions are just mindless, insipid, and dull as well as being ideologically offensive. If the big films were consistently entertaining it wouldn't matter what their ideological content was. They would draw audiences. But they are dumb and boring and that alone explains their failure to connect with a sizeable audience.

Driscoll is right that big budget productions are doomed -- the market just won't sustain them any more -- but I doubt that ideology has much to do with it.

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