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Old 01-29-2013, 06:40 AM   #111
LauriD
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Default Re: New prodco to focus on female directors and "strong roles for women"

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Originally Posted by kintnerboy View Post
I will step up and degenerate this into a side topic.


I would love to see more women producers, directors, writers and actors step up and make action/genre films (like Kathryn Bigelow and like the types of films that James Cameron makes) with strong female leads that appeal to men and women.

To date, Zero Dark Thirty has grossed 77 million dollars worldwide. Not exactly blockbuster status, but it's more than the worldwide grosses of the other 6 major films directed by women in 2012 (W.E., Friends With Kids, The Guilt Trip, Take This Waltz, Two Days In New York and One For The Money) combined.
And then we can get into the discussion about whether those low numbers are "because" these films were directed by women or "because" these are the kinds of films women are "allowed"/enabled to make....

Also throwing in here that some of the top films of 2012 had strong female leads (even if they were mostly directed by men), and several were written or co-written by women and/or based on source material written by women:

E.g., Hunger Games, Twilight, Brave (partly directed by a woman), Snow White, Prometheus...

And several other top films had strong female secondary characters who were much more than the usual "girl" stakes character:

Avengers, Dark Knight, Skyfall, Wreck-It Ralph....
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:01 AM   #112
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Default Re: New prodco to focus on female directors and "strong roles for women"

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And then we can get into the discussion about whether those low numbers are "because" these films were directed by women or "because" these are the kinds of films women are "allowed"/enabled to make.

Aha, you've fallen into my trap.... (not really a trap, just thought-provoking discussion).

This conversation is not about female characters, it's about women being the creative force and top-line decision makers.

From the LA Times article I linked many pages back:

"They [the Women In Film researchers] also noted that women filmmakers "impact the very nature of a story," citing one study that examined more than 900 motion pictures and found that "violence, guns/weapons, and blood/gore were less likely to be depicted when women were directing or producing, and thought-provoking topics were more likely to appear."

It's not that they're not allowed to make genre films, it's that they don't want to.

Of course, you are allowed to tell any kind of story you want. There are ancillary markets and niche cable channels that cater to every demographic.

But big-budget Hollywood features are dominated by violent action spectacles serving the 12-24 male demographic. You kind of have to bend.
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:35 AM   #113
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Default Re: New prodco to focus on female directors and "strong roles for women"

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It's not that they're not allowed to make genre films, it's that they don't want to.

.
I guess it's fair to say that at least these women don't "want" to make genre films, since that's not what they made. If you can get the budget for a low-budget drama, you can get it for a low-budget genre film.

But I don't know if they're even being considered for bigger-budget films, genre and otherwise....
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:47 AM   #114
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Default Re: New prodco to focus on female directors and "strong roles for women"

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I guess it's fair to say that at least these women don't "want" to make genre films, since that's not what they made. If you can get the budget for a low-budget drama, you can get it for a low-budget genre film.

But I don't know if they're even being considered for bigger-budget films, genre and otherwise....
That's true. But instead of speculation and conjecture, we would need to hear from the women themselves, saying "I went to a studio with this great commercial action script and talent attached and I can't get it made."

That would cause a stir, I'm sure.

I will close out by saying we need more people like Geena Davis. Not only is she the most outspoken voice we have for gender parity in media, but she also makes movies that appeal to men and women (and just signed a pilot deal with TNT to play a bounty hunter.... I'll watch that).
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:55 AM   #115
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Default Re: New prodco to focus on female directors and "strong roles for women"

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But big-budget Hollywood features are dominated by violent action spectacles serving the 12-24 male demographic. You kind of have to bend.
Except that I've read tons of articles these past few years saying (and proving with statistics) that the above has become a very bad idea - for lots of reasons, and they're just not waking up. I've saved a few of them, but not the links, unfortunately.

Not only have tons of these lost tons of money, but re the big impressive B.O. of others, you also need to take the budget into account. Some of those just broke even. And more of those than you think did not produce the windfall that you think. One "horrifed studio exec" was cited as saying he just saw 'red ink running down the aisles of theaters this summer' - and it wasn't a reference to Aurora, even if that was another big turn-off.

The 2 main reasons I keep hearing is a) that 12-24 male demographic you cite just don't flock to see them anymore. They're home on their computers, watching more original stuff with b) most everyone else - for the same reason.

The formulas are stale and tired, even for the unwashed, unthinking masses, it would seem.

A.O. Scott, among others, long-time film critic of the NY Times wrote recently (and more than once, I believe) that audiences do appreciate "original" if only HW would believe in them. And properly promote them. i.e., give them half a chance. They are even sometimes discovered despite very little publicity, for cripe's sake! Just through word of mouth. He adds that people have been asking him for years (especially every summer) - and I quote: "Where are all the films for grown-ups? For women? For nonfanboys of all ages?"

And I'm with them! I enjoy an occasional Batman or what-have-you, but come on! I sure don't need 4 every week. Or as a friend of mine (who's not in the business) put it: "I like pizza and popcorn too. Doesn't mean I want to eat it every day. A steak or seafood's nice sometimes."
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:22 AM   #116
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Default Re: New prodco to focus on female directors and "strong roles for women"

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Or as a friend of mine (who's not in the business) put it: "I like pizza and popcorn too. Doesn't mean I want to eat it every day. A steak or seafood's nice sometimes."
Great quote, but if only modern action spectaculars were pizza and popcorn. A lot are like freebasing smack.

I'd question if the true issue with the genre is more so the execution. HW seems to lack appreciation for its audience beyond just women.
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:29 AM   #117
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Default Re: New prodco to focus on female directors and "strong roles for women"

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Except that I've read tons of articles these past few years saying (and proving with statistics) that the above has become a very bad idea - for lots of reasons, and they're just not waking up. "
Alas, HW is probably the slowest industry to react to market realities; any idea why that is?

The seeming lack of interest in making movies for "alternative" (i.e., non-single-quad-young-male) audiences, boggles me, given how well many of these multi-quad and alt-quad movies (e.g., Marigold Hotel) have done, and on a much smaller budget than many of the boy-quad blockbusters (John Carter, Battleship).

And this narrow sense of the market isn't the only example of this blindered view.

For example, (per Scriptnotes and other sources), HW is pushing Ultraviolet when anyone can see that consumers want their movies on iTunes.
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:55 AM   #118
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Default Re: New prodco to focus on female directors and "strong roles for women"

I think HW as an industry shares a lot of weaknesses we do as writers. Successful concepts are regularly imitated, formula is often searched for and the marketing can be aggressive.

From the last figures I saw on Scriptnotes, it does seem that, despite the odd failures, HW is managing to make profit.
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:51 AM   #119
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Default Re: New prodco to focus on female directors and "strong roles for women"

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I will close out by saying we need more people like Geena Davis.

I know I said I was done, but I have to also mention how absolutely bad-ass Madeleine Stowe is.

Not only does she make mass-appeal movies, but she wrote a screenplay (Unbound Captives) for herself to star in and direct, then turned down a 5 million dollar offer for the script from a studio, because they wanted to recast it with Ridley Scott directing a male lead, as she waits for an opportunity to direct it herself, even though she has now aged out of the role. That's chutzpah.

If this ever gets made, I better hear all the Done Deal ladies talking it up!
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Old 01-30-2013, 07:05 AM   #120
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Default Re: New prodco to focus on female directors and "strong roles for women"

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Alas, HW is probably the slowest industry to react to market realities; any idea why that is?

Perhaps there's a market reality you may not be considering:

They're choosing movies that sell in the foreign market. Especially those markets (like China and Eastern Europe) which have, only in recent years, gained access to American films. Even if a big popcorn movie doesn't do that well in the US with American fanboys, they still make a profit on the overseas fanboys who are not yet burnt out on these films.

No one on earth can make a glossy action film like Hollywood and forieign consumers love-love-love them.

Look at the BO Mojo numbers for Prometheus:

Quote:
Total Lifetime Grosses</B>
Domestic: $126,477,084 31.4%+ Foreign: $276,877,385 68.6%= Worldwide: $403,354,469
We need to face it -- Hollywood is not soley making films for "the west" any more. We have lost purchasing power as a market.

Let's say you ran a Widget-production business and had only a certain budget to spend each year. One-third of your market buys Widget-X, the other two-thirds buy Widget-Y.

Would you decide to spend a larger portion of your production budget on making more Widget-Xs for the smaller portion of your customers? No, of course you wouldn't.

It's a new world in terms of marketing and global consumerism. And it's not a happy accident. It was the game plan all along: to spread "US consumerism" throughout the global market. And it's been a strategy for the last 20-plus years. I find it fascinating.

First, our jobs went overseas -- people in third-world countries started making money (less than us but, for them, it's a lot) which they could then begin to spend on American products like our movies.

For decades, US corps wanted to get into the wallets of those billion-plus people in China. It took a while and we had to give them jobs first so they could have money to spend. And now the Chinese government is continually lifting restrictions on US products, the big one being our films.

The film industry is not going to change their current business model and risk losing the foreign market to satisfy the American market. Those days are long gone.

Hollywood has ceded certain genres and American culture-centric stories to TV. With Mad Men or even The Walking Dead, we don't have to leave home for good entertainment made on a solid budget. The less time we spend going out to the theater, the less likely we're going to change our habits.

Here's an a related article about the drift to TV:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/29/movies/hollywood-seeks-to-slow-cultural-shift-to-tv.html?_r=0
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