Monday, March 13, 2006

Update on "An Open Letter To Hollywood"

On Monday, March 6th, I wrote a post that referenced "An Open Letter to Hollywood" by Father Jonathan Morris, a Fox News contributor and blogger. His blog can be found here.

Father Jonathan posted an update yesterday on the overwhelming and positive public reaction to the letter:

In less than 48 hours, my inbox was bogged down with more than 1,900 e-mails. 1,823 of these (see, I read your e-mails!) were oozing with praise. The praise was not for me — it was for the principles we share.

I was one of those 1,900 e-mails and I can personally verify that not only does he read the e-mails, he replies to them. The reply I received was a sincere and refreshing departure from the all to common auto-generated replies that have become the norm these days.

He also points to this Nielsen study that shows, at the very least, that the major Hollywood studios are aware of the declining sales figures and know the types of films that generate the largest audience:

Hollywood movie ticket sales around the world dropped by 7.9 percent last year to 23 billion dollars, with the US box office accounting for nearly 40 percent of the haul, a study showed.

Movie ticket receipts in North America dipped by six percent in 2005 to nine billion dollars, according to a study by the ratings statistics firm Nielsen Entertainment/NRG that comes as movie-goers increasingly stay out of cinemas...

Most movie-goers in 2005 went out to catch family films, with movies rated PG-13, meaning that children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult, accounting for 85 percent of the most watched films in 2005.

Father Jonathan concludes with this point:

Our principle won out: Moviemakers have a responsibility to society. Making movies that reflect the values of Americans, instead of the values of the very sick sub-culture of Hollywood, will send people to theaters and also line moviemakers’ pockets with gold. This admission from Hollywood studios is democracy at work.

I agree with his point that moviemakers have a responsibility to society and can't argue that his letter struck a nerve. Our principles have won out, and if Hollywood still viewed themselves strictly as a business, this would be enough to affect the desired change. The problem is that Hollywood wants to change the culture and the business end of the industry has taken a backseat to this agenda.

My concern is that Hollywood won't take their responsibility to society seriously until their very survival depends on it. They would much rather continue pushing their agenda than admit their views are not those of mainstream America. There is no doubt in my mind that the entertainment industry believes mainstream America simply hasn't become "enlightened" yet, and when they do the sales figures will take care of themselves. This, of course, reflects their own ignorance of the America that exists outside of Los Angeles and New York.

I do believe Hollywood will eventually get the message. It won't be because it is the right thing to do, it will be because it is the only option left to ensure their survival. They don't have to reinvent the wheel, they simply have to make a product people will buy.

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