Posted on Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013 by Peter Sciretta
One of the more interesting panels that happened at Comic Con during the week wasn’t covered much by the geek blogs as it didn’t present any news or footage — Entertainment Weekly’s Visionaries panel with filmmakers Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim, Shaun of the Dead), Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men, Gravity) and Marc Webb (Amazing Spider-Man, 500 Days of Summer). During the discussion, an audience member asked about the comments made recently by Steven Spielberg and George Lucas about what they believe to be an upcoming implosion of the film industry due to overblown budgets.
Here is what Spielberg originally said:
There’s eventually going to be an implosion — or a big meltdown. There’s going to be an implosion where three or four or maybe even a half-dozen megabudget movies are going to go crashing into the ground, and that’s going to change the paradigm.
Spielberg predicted, if this implosion happens, movies could adapt more of a Broadway model: “You’re gonna have to pay $25 for the next Iron Man, you’re probably only going to have to pay $7 to see Lincoln.” Lucas added, if that happens, the bigger movies will play in theaters much longer and smaller projects will go towards TV.
Here is the reaction from Edgar Wright, Alfonso Cuaron and Marc Webb:
Question: Hi Edgar, you brought up younger filmmakers and I was just curious as to know for all four of you… Steven Spielberg and George Lucas made some pretty extreme comments about the state of the film industry right now and where it’s headed and its future. I just wanted to know your thoughts on those thoughts about where it might be headed in the future and how it might affect young filmmakers such as myself.
Alfonso Cuaron: What is definitely changing is the way in which films are released and distributed. I think we are about to have a moment in which there’s going to be a big change, well it’s affecting the industry already. The big multiplex cinemas are now almost exclusive for big movies whereas a few years ago you could find small movies there. It’s probably the last generation where those kind of films will be shown in multiplexes.
Marc Webb: Yeah, it’s very difficult to make a fifteen million dollar drama. It’s almost impossible. The market has been marginalized in a very significant way.
Alfonso Cuaron: That doesn’t mean that those films…
Marc Webb: At the same time it’s a great time to be a young filmmaker, because you have access to the equipment that you never could have had.
Alfonso Cuaron: There’s no excuse why not to make a film anymore. In your laptop you have everything that you need and actually in terms of distributing your films, multiplexes now are the monopoly of the big films, but there are other means of distribution right now. So that’s the part that is very exciting, because we don’t know where that’s going to lead. I wouldn’t think that necessarily means from now on only sequels and franchises are going to be produced, it’s just that maybe the multiplexes are going to be more about that.
Marc Webb: I think also that something’s happening with TV too and Comic Con is a perfect example of it, like the shows that are here. I think a lot of the wonderful writers have migrated to TV because they get more control with their domain and it’s a longer form… They are novelistic with the serialized form. It’s incredible and the kinds of storytelling you can give there is pretty awesome.
Alfonso Cuaron: Yeah, and I don’t think so much it’s in terms of drama versus fantasy or drama versus action, because even action films or fantasy films that are not branded, they don’t necessarily find a place in the market. It’s about the dilemma where we are living in an age when the multiplexes pretty much make it so that franchises with sequels are required. I think those things will keep going. TV is one of those places.
Edgar Wright: I think it’s just going to be a choice. There’s a place for every thing and I think there is an appetite for original films as well as the franchises and series and it sometimes just comes down to the season. It’s like in the summer season the big effects movies come out, but last year four of the Best Picture nominees all grossed over a hundred million, so it’s not like there isn’t a market for that. It’s definitely true that the multiplex has to get more diverse or there has to be a chance for indie films to break out and that’s why I’m excited to see GRAVITY, it’s an original film this year and you do have to think it’s got to be about… If we don’t start doing more original films, there will be nothing to remake in thirty years time.
Alfonso Cuaron: I embrace the future as well and I think in ways of how those films are going to be released, because it’s happening right now.
Edgar Wright: Yeah, it goes both ways. There’s actually more ways for people to get their work out there than ever before and if you’re starting out as a young filmmaker, you actually have more chance of your film being scene than when we all started making movies.
Header photo via The Golden Age