Barry Diller: The movie business as before is finished and will never come back | Hacker News

It's a slowly escalating 45-minute rant, but I think that this quote from toward the end summarizes it fairly well: "I'm admittedly a little tired of seeing heroes always surrounded by worlds of gray, because, if they're there long enough, they start to feel kind of gray, too."

I haven't ever seen the Errol Flynn version of Robin Hood, but I suppose my equivalent is that, as far as I'm concerned, Batman peaked with the TV show in the 1960s. It wasn't just colorful, it was legitimately fun. To the point where even the bad episodes were good. The Tim Burton movies were also a bit like that. They were visually dark, sure, but that was Tim Burton's aesthetics, and it was a package deal that came together with at least a few glimmerings of that same twisted sense of humor that got him fired from Disney for making Frankenweenie.

Since then, though? It's a bunch of increasingly sad movies by apparently sad people whose creative drive seems to primarily come from the desire to demonstrate to themselves and everyone else that they are Grown Ups, and who are too busy Taking Their Jobs Seriously to have any fun at work. And so they're working so hard that, even though what they're producing is technically classified as entertainment, the end result is so joyless that watching it ends up feeling, at least to me, like work.

They weren't exceptional but when you're awash in 'swords & sandals', 'comic book' crap and Adam Sandler formula-thons, even middling fare seem great.

On the TV front, True Detective Season 2 [3] is sorely underrated. Though fictional, it gives you a glimpse into the many possible dimensions of California graft and corruption that are all too close to real life developments surrounding the recent California High-Speed Rail mismanagement junket [4].

I agree with the sentiment expressed in this thread that well-financed, movies for adults with good casting and talented filmmakers have become very scarce.

> Then there's "it's all remakes now"—but 1) it's not,

It really is, if by "remake" you mean all ways of leveraging existing IP. Here are the top ten box office films of 2020:

    * Bad Boys for Life (sequel)
    * Sonic the Hedgehog (videogame)
    * Birds of Prey (comic book)
    * Dolittle (book)
    * The Invisible Man (book)
    * The Call of the Wild (book)
    * Onward (original)
    * The Croods: A New Age (sequel)
    * Tenet (original)
    * Wonder Woman 1984 (sequal, comic book)
    * Mission: Impossible 2 (sequel)
    * Gladiator (book)
    * Cast Away (original)
    * What Women Want (original)
    * Dinosaur (original)
    * How the Grinch Stole Christmas (book)
    * Meet the Parents (remake)
    * The Perfect Storm (book)
    * X-Men (comic book)
    * What Lies Beneath (original)
    * Ghost (original)
    * Home Alone (original)
    * Pretty Woman (original)
    * Dances with Wolves (book)
    * Total Recall (short story)
    * Back to the Future Part III (sequel)
    * Die Hard 2 (sequel)
    * Presumed Innocent (book)
    * Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (comic book)
    * Kindergarten Cop (original)
    * The Empire Strikes Back (sequel)
    * 9 to 5 (original)
    * Stir Crazy (original)
    * Airplane! (original)
    * Any Which Way You Can (sequel)
    * Private Benjamin (original)
    * Coal Miner's Daughter (original)
    * Smokey and the Bandit II (sequel)
    * The Blue Lagoon (book)
    * The Blues Brothers (SNL sketch)

There's also a clear trend away from dramas. I think that's because drama (and non-slapstick comedies) tend to rely heavily on specific cultural norms for their effect which makes them translate poorly. There is a very clear trend especially in the last decade or so of Hollywood focusing on movies that will also do well in China in particular.

But see, 2020 was an aberration. You have to look at 2019.

Sequel, remake, sequel, sequel, comic, sequel, sequel/comic, remake, comic, sequel/remake,

Oh. Oh no. Let's keep going for top 20, yeah?

Sequel/remake, ORIGINAL, sequel, sequel, sequel, sequel, video game, ORIGINAL, comic, comic. (from boxofficemojo)

2 in the top 20.

Let's keep going?

ORIGINAL, remake, sequel-ish? sequel, sequel, (US) remake, ORIGINAL, sequel, ORIGINAL, remake, tv-to-film, ORIGINAL, comic, ORIGINAL, sequel, sequel, sequel, ORIGINAL, sequel, sequel, ...

Let's stop there, but don't assume for a second that all the remakes and sequels are top-loaded - they may dominate the top of the chart but they go pretty far down it too.

Kramer vs. Kramer (book)

Ordinary People (book)

Popeye (comic)

Cheech and Chong's Next Movie (sequel)

Caddyshack (original - franchise starter)

Friday the 13th (original - franchise starter)

Brubaker (book)

Flash Gordon (sequel/remake)

Bronco Billy (original)

Raging Bull (book - biopic)

Maybe you should go back a few decades until you can find a time when the top 20 were mostly originals. Would have to be before the Star Wars/Jaws blockbuster era, probably.

It quotes a (clearly a bit exaggerated for effect, at the low end) range of $500,000-$80,000,000 as "mid budget", and gives examples of the category including Blue Velvet, The Godfather, and Hairspray.

It's not that no films are made in that range anymore, just that it's much harder to find financing for a project in that range for a film intended for wide release and any amount of promotion. The money guys want a nothing-budget movie that might become a hit (the startup model), or huge can't-lose projects with likely outcomes that don't include a loss, or not much of one (the formulaic international-friendly [by which I mean China-friendly] action blockbuster that everyone seems to hate, but that nonetheless consistently make piles of money)

It quotes a bunch of mid-budget directors complaining about this, some leaving filmmaking entirely because their options seem to be to go back to making shoestring-budget movies like they did when they were starting out, or start working on projects they don't like (huge-budget films), aside from self-financing. They seem to be concerned about how the next generations of directors will develop their careers, without stable financing for directors who've "made it" but don't want to make Marvel movies and such—IMO we're probably heading back to something resembling the studio system, largely, so the era of lots of Important Directors who Really Matter may be on its way out, anyway, at least for a while.

[EDIT] Also, searching things like "the death of the mid-budget film" turns up tons of material like this.