Friday, July 17, 2009

A sobering thought from another Peter...

This is from Peter Bart's recent column in Variety. It's true, and a little scary:

...Hollywood, too, is having growing pains. Indeed, the kids who fight and fret and fuck their way through "Entourage" may, in their own small way, serve as a metaphor for the agonies of the community at large.

The economic crunch has had a delayed impact on Hollywood, but its impact has now become devastatingly clear. Jobs have become scarce and pay sharply shaved. Insiders believe the number of film releases will drop sharply from more than 600 last year to as few as 350 in 2010.

"The film business is like a snake digesting a large meal," the Economist pointed out last week. "The production bulge caused by the deluge of money in 2006 and 2007 will take a year or so to work its way through the system.

The entertainment business poses many contradictions to analysts. Box office is up as much as 12% this year, but the studios are getting squeezed by their once-flush parents. Corporate hatchet men at behemoths like Sony or Viacom have thus sent forth their austere mandates: Cut costs and scale back risks. That message is not exactly great news to a business whose entire history rests on expensive risk-taking.

The upshot: Just as Vince and 'E' and their confreres may now have to come of age, so do the many actors, writers and other members of Hollywood's creative community who face a tough period of corporate consolidation and cost-cutting. The balance of power between the talent and the corporate suits has shifted to the corporations. That translates into the many ugly realities no one likes to think about -- foreclosures, kids being pulled out of private schools, courts jammed with claims for reduced alimony, restaurants shuttering.

It's getting ugly out there. I'm glad we have "Entourage" to give us a few laughs.

No comments:

Post a Comment