Sunday 14 November 2010

What If Piracy Really Did Ruin The Industry?

What if, by downloading a movie, it meant that Tom Cruise only got paid $3million instead of $15million? What if we all downloaded pirated films and only bothered to go see films if they were actually good?

What would happen if doing this did completely and utterly ruin the industry? Studios would shut down, director's couldn't afford their big houses and hundreds of actors would decide to take up plumbing. Hollywood is gone and the $100million movie is over.

Everybody goes home - cinema's shut down. Goodnight, and goodbye.

BUT then what? There'd still be cameras. People would keep making films. But what films would they make?

Care to share?


  1. OMG if piracy killed the movie franchise I would be so sad since I watch alot of movies in Antarctica.

    PS: If your confused about me living in Antarctica check out my blog.

  2. then there would only be decent independent movies. I think could live with that.

  3. I think Martin's got it right. In my opinion, independent films are usually better, and at a fraction of the cost of Hollywood films. I personally don't pirate any movies, but if that's the end result of piracy, I don't think I'd mind too much.

  4. Martin, Masterliberator - you both think on similar lines to me :)

  5. @ martin and masterliberator : But a little non-independent movie, as a complete entertainer, is often just what people need.

    I'm not exactly a piracy fan, but not a foe either. It's just that it's high time people know that big budget movies may sometimes be the best entertainers at low times. I mean, if a regular man comes home after a long day at the office, the last thing on his mind would be to watch an artistic display of morbidity - priceless as it may be.

    Even though independent movies are good for the brain and the soul, there is nothing wrong in dancing a little with the chipmunks, or pretending to be harry potter on a windy night, right?

  6. Maria - you make a very good point, but -- I think indie films often get disregarded as being depressing, or artsy. But that doesn't have to be the case. Especially if Hollywood collapsed!

    Those big budget movies you mention are, so often these days, about being a product, about selling a toy, about having a good trailer and a well orchestrated marketing campaign. I think if we went back to basics, because of this hypothetical industry collapse, we'd see a return to better storytelling; both of the miserable and of the entertaining. What do you think?

  7. @ KITFR (long username?): I get the point you're trying to make,and not to take sides here, but even independent movies sometimes require a good (read:heavy) budget. And haven't you often heard people commenting on how a movie 'could have been better' if a decent amount had been spent on it?

    I agree, the promotions and marketing campaigns spoil it, totally. But then the strategy that is oft suggested - 'stop going to cinema's to watch movies' - considering you want to bring the director's house down, won't solve that problem.

    In other words, its the mind and point of view that needs refurbishment, not the habits.

  8. Maria - you make good points. I don't disagree - not at all. But one perspective is -- most of these bloated budgets go on above the line talent, not on the effects.

    That Did You Hear About The Morgans movie, or whatever it's called, with Hugh Grant and the Sex & The City woman -- three quarters of the budget went on 'the talent' of the two actors.

    A lot of film budgets are just about keeping these people in a bubble of non-reality --- the same film can be made for one million or fifty million; but the names who sign on get these outrageously high salaries..

    I don't really want to burn down their houses, I just want to give people a better reason to visit.

  9. So you suggest boycotting cinemas for a while?
    Something along the lines of - 'until they learn their lesson' and get paid for art, not for 'talent', as you put it?

  10. Your posts present an interesting view on things! very thought provoking.

  11. Yes factoring out the money problem would bring the more sincere and talented men and women into the industry, rather than the avaricious and narcissistic bunch we have today. But I also believe in compromising. I don't think everyone should pirate or stream films online in replacement of other methods which bring in revenue in order to bring about such radical changes. Sometimes big budgets are needed, but I agree that films which have ostentatiously expensive budgets need to tone it down to bring true quality rather than fake CGI fluff. And sometimes, actors and other workers of the film industry need bigger pay considering how fickle the business is, but I also agree that they shouldn't be paid $15 millions (or anywhere near the millions) for something not as risky or consequential as other low profile jobs.

  12. Maria - I am not suggesting we boycott the cinema!

    Everyone - I am not supporting piracy, either! I don't want pirated movies.. that being said, this curious thought came to me today so I wanted to share it! It was just my my wandering..

    Personally, I think we would get BETTER MOVIES if this situation was to occur (which it never will)

  13. Then the hollywood rubbish would stop and indie films would come into the spotlight.. though.. it's possible that indie directors could take over and creat a "new hollywood".. like.. a vicious circle? Ouch, mindfuck..

  14. Also, if no one else did, i got what you were trying to convey: that this will NEVER happen and the STOP PIRACY advert is a little overzelous

  15. Things would get worse before they got better. You think studios aren’t taking enough chances now? If things decline further, you’ll only be looking at proven franchises which are guaranteed to turn a profit. Not to mention all the remakes of famous movies everyone will go to see just because of the title. Casablanca, Wizard of Oz – nothing will be sacred.

    If/when it finally declines enough to wipe out Hollywood completely (doubtful that would happen, there’s a lot of money in Hollywood. Severe laws might be passed, those found in possession would be treated as if they were carrying heroin), then and only then will the independent movies reign.

  16. Films for the sake of films, films that were made by friendly money on loan from your local neighborhood girlscouts, films that, no matter how crappy or cheap, were warm and lovely and announced that they were made by someone for the love of it. Reels and discs passed among friends on the street, free screenings in your mom's garage.

    But then, anyone found copying the few studio films left would be sent to Gitmo. This is a Catch-22, isn't it?

  17. Well, I was just about to write 'I didn't say we'd get better movies, I was just asking questions!' -- but then I read the comments and, darn, I did write that! Ha. So... let me try and support it.

    Should this situation occur-- I just think it would lead to a reevaluation of what movies are, how much they should cost, and how much people should be paid.

    Within a year or two millions would be raised and spent on movies again, but there'd be a new paradigm - and more space for good storytelling.

    I have no science to back this up. I'm just dreaming :D

    But the point you raise is a good one - that all the great movies were a very, very long time ago. And the spirit of THOSE films is found now in more independent work.

  18. I think it is a difficult question. I think the urge to express yourself through film will survive. The question is: who will pay?

    If we - the audience is not intrested in paying, who will?

    3D is for me a desperate call for the audience to still pay.

    But who else would be interested? Would a company not related to movie industry be intrested in investing in a movie? What kind of profit would they do? There is a limit for goodwill too.

    On the other hand - even if I find films like Avatar impressing - is there not too much money in the industry? Too much money taken for granted? When you need a whole cargo ship with equpiment and five hundred people to shoot maybe twenty minutes of a movie?

  19. I agree with Martin. If piracy can deliver that, wow, I think I should support it (more)... LOL

  20. Such people do not use their popularity or extreme wealth for good so if Piracy means they become poor all I can say is welcome to the real world.

  21. Unfortunately we'd get big budget, big effects zero story, lowest common denominator films like Transformers, Spiderman, POTC etc. These movies may be big budget but also guarantee big box office receipts. Smaller, Independent films just would not exist as they would not be able to generate funding or distribution

  22. How I see it is if actors love acting so much, they shouldn't care whether they make 10 million off a movie or 2 million. If they love acting they would just hope that everyone would be able to see it, whether they paid 20 dollars or 0 dollars. No matter what there will most likely be people who by or go to their movies, no everyone is going to pirate the movies so they will still be making money. Hopefully enough money to pay for all the equipment and everything they used. People go to movies as a way to get away from home and also as a social activity with friends or family. People rent movies or buy them because they like them. Personally I buy movies that I love, the ones I just want to watch because I didn't have the time or money to go watch it in theater I rent. But that's me... I love movies.

  23. Sometimes I really like cosying up in bed to watch a film, but other nights I really want to just go to the cinema where I can be completely surrounded by a film that will take me to some place else other than my sofa or bed.

    BUT!! I think if hollywood collapsed then people would just enjoy making films full stop. No money or perks. You'd get films made by people who really care about the experience of the film, who care about your enjoyment of what they create - I'm not saying that directors/actors/whoever don't care about this now, but if I'm really honest with myself, £10million would be a major distraction for me if I were a director/whoever!

    I really enjoy the experience of going to the cinema, its a mini night out. And I really think that I'd miss it if it wasn't there....

    I'm really unsure on this topic. I don't think it would be the end of the world if hollywood collapsed... to be honest, I think it would jst build itself back up again in time. But at the same time, I don't want it to collapse. I quite like peeking into the world of celebrity. But at the same time I hate that I like it????!

    Also, a part of me hopes that if hollywood were to collapse, we would go back to how films were in the 70s/80s. Star wars, never ending story, labrynth, the princess bride, legend, willow. These films are so so amazing! and they are made so because of the fact that all of the sets and props that, today, would be CGI-ed are created from scratch - like a fantasy or fiction come alive! I love that. I like things to be tangible - it makes it much more real to me. Although I can't deny that CGI is really impressive.

    I'm really torn on this subject. I think I'd like it either way!