Tag Archives: dreamworks

Will Recession Drive People to the Movies?


DreamWorks Animation SKG this week announced a 31 per cent drop in its fourth-quarter revenue, this in spite of the major box-office success seen for its Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar properties. The weaker results, according to this report from the Associated Press, through Salon, is a poorer-than-expected performance from both of its tentpole releases on home entertainment formats.

It was a similar story earlier in the month when Walt Disney Co reported a drop in revenues from DVD sales of 26 per cent. The question now is whether this is a trend for people to buy less DVDs or, is this a 2008 thing. CNN reported this week that cinema ticket sales are soaring in the downturn as ‘struggling people are looking for a $10, two-hour escape’.

It seems to me the downturn could have a mixed impact on the DVD marketplace. DVDs have been coming down in price of late so perhaps people will start to purchase more with a view to spending only a tenner on one DVD for the whole family to watch, rather than spending forty quid on tickets for everyone. But although the price drop has been noticeable to those of us who purchase DVDs on a regular basis, its possible that families really struggling in the recession will avoid spending even this, maybe preferring to rent movies out. This could see a rise in the level of rentals seen both in high street outlets like Blockbuster and for online players like LoveFilm and Amazon (or NetFlix for my friends in the US). 

That’s all highly speculative but I personally can only see the escapist angle of cinema working well while people actually have enough money to seek solace from the recession in the theatre. Surely, at some point, the time will come that families will be unable to afford this on a regular basis and will either turn to buying, renting or maybe television. Wherever they turn, this seems to me to be the kind of reaction which only occurs at the start of a long recessive financial period, meaning that once the true magnitude of the problems set in, and people are unable for some time to envisage a return to prosperity, even purchases like cinema and DVD will prove too much to stomach.

Movie News Round-Up

Entertainment Weekly has posted a list of the top twenty-five greatest active directors. The list is as debatable as the day is long so argue away at some of the inclusions (Jon Favreau?).

Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln biopic, a long-time passion project, is struggling to find financing amid the current recession environment. Even the biggest names are starting to be hit by the problems facing the wider industry. When even the marquee names are finding it difficult, it is worrying. But perhaps this will foster a necessity to make movies cheaper and maybe we will see some really vital, interesting filmmaking be born from the downturn.

High School Musical alum Vanessa Hudgens has been strongly linked to the part of Nara Kilday in an adaptation of Josh Howard’s Dead@17 comic series, being written by Mike Dougherty. The story follows Nara, a girl who is killed and reborn to fight demons. Howard made the announcement during an interview on the Comics on Comics podcast (highly recommended). Could prove an interesting career move for Hudgens as she seems to be looking to eschew Zac Efron’s move into teen movies by taking what Cinematical calls the ‘Megan Fox route’.

Robert Rodriguez has signed up to write and direct Nerverackers, a futuristic thriller following an elite unit in 2085 dispatched to deal with a crime wave in a purportedly perfect society. Demolition Man, anyone?

Ridley Scott has swerved directions a bit on his Robin Hood revisionist take, essentially deleting the ‘revisionist’ portion of the description to adopt a more traditional style of telling the story. Instead, according to an interview given to MTV, Scott will have the story follow the ‘evolution of a character called Robin Hood, who will come out of a point in the Crusades which is the end‘. It does mean that the previously mentioned choice of having Russell Crowe play both Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham has been either abandoned or was never really a set option. Scott said to MTV: ‘[Crowe as both Robin and the Sheriff of Nottingham] was an idea so far back, way back when at the time I had this proposed to me, and I read it and thought, ‘I don’t really know what it does for it, but it’s alright’.’ Make of that what you will, but it seems that this will end up just another very well made if somewhat uninteresting picture from Scott, maybe barring Monopoly.

Corona Coming Attractions has posted a casting call for Thor, the Marvel adaptation upcoming from the directorial hand of Kenneth Branagh. Check out the posting and consider whether you could pull off such a role: ‘Physically powerful, very handsome, occasionally egotistical, petulant, and wild. A natural warrior with a quick charming wit who must be genuinely and severely humbled before becoming the compassionate, mature hero of our film.’

Geoff Gilmore, the long-standing director of the Sundance Film Festival, is to leave his post to become the chief creative officer of Tribeca Enterprises. He is also joining the board of the company and will take responsibility for ‘global content strategy and lead creative development initiatives and expansion of the brand’, according to a statement published by indieWIRE. Karina Longworth on Spout points out the move in in line with wider announced strategy for Tribeca which is aiming to bring itself closer in line with Sundance as prestige indie festival.

Ang Lee is in talks to direct an adaptation of Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, the Booker Prize-winning novel about a young man who survives an accident at sea and ends up sharing a boat with a hyena, zebra, orangutan and a Bengal tiger. The project had been considered by a pre-Happening Shyamalan (who was reportedly replaced by Alfonso Cuaron) and most recently was under the eye of Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the director of Delicatessan and Amelie.

Also in the news, Jeffrey Dean Morgan is keeping up the comic love to star in The Losers; Pride and Prejudice is set to meet the zombie world in an offbeat adaptation produced by Elton John; the Donnie Darko sequel is going straight to DVD; Linda Hamilton is in talks to take a role in Terminator Salvation; Mickey Rourke will not star in Iron Man 2; Breckin Meyer is penning Superguys, to be helmed by Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan, described as ‘‘Ocean’s 11′ with idiots set at Comic-Con.’.