March 06, 2004

National Movie Industries Don't Deserve Protection

Evan Kirchoff has an analysis of The Passion of The Christ from a movie business perspective. Key graf:

The stunning fact here is that Hollywood failed to notice that there was about a billion dollars (remember that the movie hasn't yet been released in the major world centers of Christianity: Africa, the other Americas) lying around for the taking. That demonstrates a mindboggling sampling bias in the market research of an industry whose interest in reliable data is at least equal to that of the Kerry campaign. If something this big can be completely off our sociocultural radar, then our radar sucks.

But it's not only Hollywood's radar. Is there a national cinema in the world that couldn't have put on this production? It's not like there's some language or cultural advantage to the anglosphere. This is the ultimate in foreign films, shot entirely in aramaic with a bit of latin sprinkled on top. Maybe Vatican City might have a natural language advantage but they don't have serious studios.

Every single movie industry that asks for protection from the big bad americans from here on out should have the box office grosses from The Passion shoved under their noses and asked "why aren't you just making films that are good?" They no longer have an excuse. The lie that Hollywood has seized the cultural high ground upon which it is possible to make movie gold is exposed as an utter illusion. The national movie making groups are guilty of being too much like Hollywood, not too little like it. The only thing they refuse to share is Hollywood's deep visceral desire to make movies that people want to watch. The only reason that Hollywood is the only film industry being beaten up is that the others are seen as not really mattering.

This too is a lie and a blind spot. I wonder which national cinema will be the first to prove it?

Posted by TMLutas at March 6, 2004 07:53 AM