Is The U.S. Movie Industry Broken?

Hollywood insiders say the studio movie-making machine is broken. We ask where the movie business is headed.

A movie theater ticket booth in Cathedral City, Calif. (Raymond Shobe/Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

People buy their tickets at a movie theater in Cathedral City, Calif. (Raymond Shobe/Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Big-budget “World War Z” and its waves of zombies are raging with Brad Pitt in theaters right now.  “Fast & Furious 6,” no less, right behind.  A quarter-billion dollar Lone Ranger production gallops in with Johnny Depp this week.

Next week, alien invasion, Earth in peril, in the blockbuster wannabe “Pacific Rim.”  Midsummer 2013, it’s all blockbuster all the time out of Hollywood.  The “tent poles” that hold up the whole biz.  But can they hold?  And what kind of movies, what kind of biz, will we have as Hollywood goes truly global?

This hour, On Point:  World War Hollywood, and the future of film.

– Tom Ashbrook


Ty Burr, film critic for the Boston Globe. Author of, “Gods Like Us: On Movie Stardom and Modern Fame.” (@tyburr)

Lynda Obst, film and television producer with more than 16 movies to her credit, including “Sleepless in Seattle,” “Hope Floats,” and “One Fine Day.” Her new book is Sleepless in Hollywood: Tales from the New Abnormal in the Movie Business.” (@LyndaObst)

Sharon Waxman, CEO and editor in chief of, which covers Hollywood and the movie business.

From Tom’s Reading List

Indiewire: SFIFF: Steven Soderbergh Says Art Of Cinema Is Under Attack From The Studios, Decries Profit Driven Decision Making“In his mind, the evolution of cinema in studio movies has halted because, ‘The executive ecosystem is distorted because executives don’t get punished for making bombs the way filmmakers do.’ Storytelling prescribed by profit estimates also deter contemporary cinema from blossoming in a meaningful way, as films are forced to appeal to the widest possible audience.”

The Guardian: Steven Spielberg And George Lucas Predict Film Industry ‘Implosion’ — “Veteran directors warned students in US about difficulty of getting projects into cinemas, and suggested studio cautiousness could lead to hiked ticket prices.”

U.S. News And World Report: $50 Movie Tickets: Is George Lucas’s Prophecy Becoming Reality? — “Rather than a bellwether of an industry-wide shift to pricier tickets, however, execs from Paramount and its partner in the deal Regal Entertainment Group describe the mega ticket as an experiment targeted at a select group of superfans.”

Excerpt: ‘Sleepless in Hollywood’ by Linda Obst

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