Monday, February 27, 2012

Creative vs. Commercial

The article by Roberts does a tremendous job of setting the stage on the debate for a creativity-limited world of media.  It isn't hard to see the motives behind the commercial aspect of such a profit-driven industry.  Take one quick look at the movies Hollywood is currently producing, and it's all too apparent that the commercial side of the clash is having a large impact.
Mark Harris is quick to point this out in his article on the "death" of the movie industry.  To him, the struggle of Inception to receive a positive backing from studios themselves shows the changing of the industry.  Harris is explaining that the associated risk from producing certain movies is keeping the industries from funding these creative movies.  Basically, Inception was produced as somewhat of a favor for the director who would be needed to produce another Batman film in the future.  Essentially, the article is explaining that studios are choosing the safer movie.  The window of opportunity for new, moderately budgeted movies with a clever plot is smaller than ever before.
What's more, the industry is choosing movies that have more opportunities for profit outside of the theater.  Kung and Schuker explain that the most marketable movies are those that can easily be made into sequels.  Or, movies that can be branded on lunchboxes and other merchandise.  Quite simply, it's another limit on creativity within the industry.  Instead of producing a new film with a interesting plot, the industry will choose Toy Story 4 and the incredible merchandising opportunities that come along with the name.  In addition, they get the benefit of already having a legitimate audience that has identified with the previous films.  That being said, it shows the movie industry choosing to produce films that have low risk, with high monetary reward.
Personally, I think the desire for commercial success is especially bad in limiting creativity specifically for moviegoers.  With the incredible amount of channels on television, you see a much broader aspect of show styles, genres, and characters.  With the hundreds of available stations, you are more likely to see original programming with such a wide variety of choices.  Always Sunny in a perfect example of this.  They were able to produce their show at little cost, and shop it around to a station that would not limit their creative edge.  If they had instead produced a movie, they would have run into little luck outside of perhaps a film festival.  Certainly, we are seeing the constraints on creativity in the movie industry, particularly with the high cost of producing a major film.  Studios don't want to take the chance of producing a pricy film, only to be unsure of its box-office success.  They want the sure thing.  I can't wait for Final Fantasy 34 in a few years!

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