Blockbusters sacrifice quality for quantity

The movie industry is shifting to a profit mindset, causing films to become increasingly dull and generic to some viewers, said Lars Nilsen, Austin Film Society lead film programmer.

Many modern Hollywood movies are getting more expensive to make, which can limit their scopes.

Over $11 billion of dollars are spent every year by more than 200 million moviegoers in America and Canada, according to the 2016 Theatrical Market Statistics Report. With money as an incentive, production companies are becoming increasingly formulaic, making movies seem generic and dull to some.

Lars Nilsen, Austin Film Society lead film programmer, said films are becoming more dictated by investors, video effects teams and executive producers instead of authors and directors.

He said films aren’t taking many risks. Most Hollywood movies use similarly tested formulas to appeal to a global audience, which increases profit but lessens artistic integrity, Nilsen said.

No one will talk about movies like Spider-Man: Homecoming in 20 years, Nilsen said. He said films like Moonlight that cover an original idea and give autonomy to the director are movies people will remember.

Many films aren’t pushing the medium and taking risks, but TV series are, said Patty Newton, film and video lecturer.

She said since the medium is so new, companies like Netflix and Amazon are trying to compete with Hollywood. Although they may not gain as much revenue as most big titles, production staff usually have more freedom, resulting in a better product, Newton said.

She said movies can generally be followed more easily than shows, because they focus on a plot. This means people from different countries can comprehend it, because action is easier to follow than nuanced conversation from another language.

“Anybody, no matter what language they speak, can understand it,” Newton said.

Newton said just because movies are more plot-driven and focus less on characters doesn’t mean they’re bad. It’s all a matter of taste, she said.

The best place to find character development is in books, bioengineering sophomore Nosisa Ncube said.

Ncube said she likes movies that focus on the plot. She said movies keep getting better for her, regardless of the special effects.

Chanakya Harish, computer science graduate student, said special effects add to the movie.

Harish recently went to see Transformers: The Last Knight. Although he said many people didn’t enjoy it, he found the movie entertaining.

Nilsen said if people don’t like many of the modern Hollywood films, there are phenomenal foreign films like Carpinteros, which was made in the Dominican Republic, that focus on characters and tell an excellent story.

“There are signs of life in cinema from the rest of the world,” Nilsen said.

Nilsen said many foreign films are made on small budgets and push the medium as an art, which enriches people’s lives while telling new stories. People just have to look for those movies that emphasize artistic integrity.

He said unlike Hollywood, he doesn’t care about money. He just wants to sit down and watch a great movie with his friends.

“Films are my money,” Nilsen said. “The experience of watching films with my friends and talking with friends is my wealth.”

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features-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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