Monday, March 06, 2006

An Open Letter to Hollywoood

I stumbled across this while on the Fox News website today. It was written by Father Jonathan Morris and is entitled "An Open Letter to Hollywood". In the letter he points out a concept that should be obvious to anyone in the business of making money, but apparently is too tough for the Hollywood crowd to comprehend. That concept is simply to give the customer what they want.

Here's a sample:

Dear Hollywood,

I’m writing on behalf of all Americans. It’s been a while since you’ve been in touch with us. You haven’t called, you haven’t written, but you keep sending films. Just thought I would drop you a line...

But I do have one question. What’s your idea of “good film?"

These were your favorite films this year, along with their ranking in box-office ticket sales, and number of Oscar nominations:

• Brokeback Mountain: 27th place, 8 nominations
• Crash: 49th place, 6 nominations
• Good Night, and Good Luck: 90th place, 6 nominations
• Memoirs of a Geisha: 45th place, 6 nominations

I didn’t want to see any of them, and I haven’t seen any of them. And judging by the numbers, neither did anybody else. These “masterpieces” were playing to mostly empty theaters for most of their theater run.

"March of the Penguins," nominated in the Best Documentary category, actually grossed more money than any of the Best Picture nominees...

Some will object: "Hollywood is just entertainment." I respond: "If that’s so, this year it entertained very few." Others will object: "Hollywood is just a business." I respond: "Not a good one, at least not this year." Still others will chime in: "We’re just reflecting what’s already out there." I respond: "You’re great people, but remember, you live in a subculture that has been sick for a very long time — lots of demons. Change the angles of your mirrors, and see new realities. Then let them shine."

Anyway, Hollywood, if you’re still reading, keep this in mind. Your overall box-office receipts have been falling steadily over the last three years, and two-thirds of all films still lose money. Something has to change. There are lots of ideas out there. Some make money. Some don’t. Leave Hollywood and Malibu for a while and get back in touch. Write to us. Call us. Visit us. Ask us what would be a reflection of what We The People really think and what we’ll pay to see.

God bless, Father Jonathan

You really owe it to yourself to read the whole thing. The difference between what Hollywood thinks is great cinema and what America thinks is great cinema are on opposite ends of the spectrum and Father Jonathan hammers the point home using the facts.

The real question is:

Will Hollywood listen?

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