The Hollywood Bail-out
Posted by Bri • Friday March 20th, 2009
This article was brought to my attention today: "WHAAAAAT? Bailed Out Bank Of America Paying Consumers To See Hollywood Film"

Basically, the gist is this. Bank of America is using some of its newly-minted government bailout money to treat filmgoers to a free 2-D to 3-D upgrade of the movie Monsters Vs. Aliens (It usually costs a few more dollars to see it in 3D).

Here's the question, and I walk a line of politics, a subject I don't usually like to talk about considering the site's about movie politics - but just what is this stimulating? Certainly not the economy. Which, I thought, was the goal. They're saying that the promotion will smash the $55 million expected opening weekend gross. But it's not a real number. Not if it's not being paid by the audience. It's being inflated by government.

And here in lies the main conflict I have with it. If primary voting power to tell Hollywood what we want/don't want is the box office. If enough people don't see movies that do nothing but insult our intelligence - they'll stop making them. The same is true for good movies (no matter what your definition of "good movie" is). When dealing with Hollywood as an industrial behemoth, it's our cinematic democracy. So if the box office is inflated because of government bail-out money, Bank of America could be single-handedly responsible for giving us a sequel. Hooray?

No doubt the movie is going to make a ton of money and guarantee a sequel anyway - but I'd rather see it funded by the audience at its will and not feel like our collective hand is being led. Wouldn't you?

Not to mention that sickening trend of "box office numbers are sky-rocket high!" and "attendance is at a severe low." It's easy to break a box office record when you're charging double for a ticket than those of the five-year-ago movie you're trying to beat. But that's another story altogether.

Hollywood doesn't need bail-out money. It never did and never will. Hollywood's solution could very easily be "hey, let's not make so many damn blockbusters" or "why are we spending $100-$300 Million on crappy movies we KNOW will never make it back?" And seriously, why inflate the numbers for a mainstream big-budget 3D Animated movie? Was there any danger of this movie not performing well? It had a huge gimmicky 3D advertising spectacle during the Super Bowl - looks like they have enough money.

Of course, you guys know me - I would rather Bank of America take that money and spread it over several lower-budget films. Monsters Vs. Aliens is going to do fine.

And now I'm off to Webcomics Weekend - easy to travel to since I live in the same town! I'll be walking around with free Genrezvous Point mini-sampler books. If you're going - hunt me down! Say hi!