Showbiz Sandbox 214: Go Big Or Go Home – Why Big Budget Blockbusters Are The Safest Bet In Entertainment

Over the past year filmmakers from Steven Spielberg to Steven Soderbergh have lamented over Hollywood’s love affair with expensive tentpole releases. However, according to Harvard Business School professor Anita Elberse the entertainment industry is obsessed with blockbusters because they work. She explains why in a wide ranging interview about her new book on the subject, “Blockbusters: Hit-Making, Risk-Taking, and the Big Business of Entertainment”.

Not only are the number of big budget films studios churn out on the rise, apparently so is the level gun violence in hit titles. After studying 945 movies released from 1950 to the present day, researchers discovered gun violence portrayed in movies more than doubled during the time frame.

Meanwhile, in the television world most have forgotten about daytime soap operas. That hasn’t kept companies like Prospect Park from trying to keep shows such as “One Life To Live” and “All My Children” alive online. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to be getting any help from the network that originally aired the soaps and are now going to court over the matter.

Of course, we also cover the week’s top entertainment news stories including a movie for Monster High dolls, a new HBO show for John Oliver, pricy reruns for “The Simpsons” and a new manager for the rock band U2.

Play

Blockbusters: Hit-making, Risk-taking, and the Big Business of Entertainment
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0805094334/

Syd Field, Author of the Definitive Work on Writing Screenplays, Is Dead at 77
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/19/arts/syd-field-author-of-the-definitive-work-on-writing-screenplays-is-dead-at-77.html

‘Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ Claims Victory in Brazil
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/box-office-hunger-games-catching-656739

Chinese Film, Internet Video Companies Sue Search Giant Baidu in Anti-Piracy Push
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/chinese-film-internet-video-companies-655605

Gun Violence in American Movies Is Rising, Study Finds
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/11/business/media/gun-violence-in-american-movies-is-rising-study-finds.html

South Korea’s Supreme Court Overturns Restrictive Rating for Gay Romance Film
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/south-koreas-supreme-court-overturns-655978

‘Philomena’ Gets Its R Rating Lowered To PG-13
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/moviesnow/la-et-mn-philiomena-rating-20131115,0,4838022.story

Scarlett Johansson In ‘Her’: Can She Pull Off An Oscar Run?
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/moviesnow/la-et-mn-scarlett-johansson-her-voice-20131115,0,6133301.story

Soaps Producer Ramps Up ABC Lawsuit: ‘Mega Soap’ Fraud Scheme Alleged
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/soaps-producer-ramps-up-abc-655678

Shakespeare In Love To Get West End Play
http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/theatre-dance/news/shakespeare-in-love-to-get-west-end-play-8937636.html

Disney Teams With William Goldman on Stage Version of ‘Princess Bride’
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/princess-bride-stage-show-works-655051

FXX Lands ‘The Simpsons’ in Record Off-Network Deal
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/fxx-lands-simpsons-record-network-656314

U2 Manager Paul McGuinness Turning Reins Over To Guy Oseary
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/posts/la-et-ms-u2-manager-paul-mcguinness-guy-oseary-live-nation-20131115,0,4690615.story

Eminem Goes ‘Berzerk’ With Huge First-Week Sales
http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/on-the-charts-eminem-goes-berzerk-with-huge-first-week-sales-20131113

Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ ‘Dracula’ Salary Delayed by NBC Amid Addiction Concerns
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/jonathan-rhys-meyers-dracula-salary-655443

Universal Pushes Back ‘Fifty Shades’ Release Date
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/universal-pushes-back-50-shades-655619

Netflix and YouTube Dominate Online Video. Can Amazon Catch Up?
http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-11-11/netflix-and-youtube-dominate-online-video-dot-can-amazon-catch-up

Emmys Moving Toward Online Voting
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/emmys-moving-online-voting-656563

Josh Schwartz, Stephanie Savage to Write, Produce ‘Monster High’ Adaptation
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/josh-schwartz-stephanie-savage-write-655795

Siding With Google, Judge Says Book Search Does Not Infringe Copyright
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/15/business/media/judge-sides-with-google-on-book-scanning-suit.html

Court Issues a Ringing Endorsement of Google Books
http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/digital/content-and-e-books/article/60006-google-wins-court-issues-a-ringing-endorsement-of-google-books.html

John Oliver to Host Weekly Comedy Series on HBO
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/john-oliver-host-weekly-comedy-656129

Derek Jeter, S&S Team to Launch Jeter Publishing
http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/publisher-news/article/60011-derek-jeter-s-s-team-to-launch-jeter-publishing.html

  • mgiltz

    George Lucas and Steven Spielberg said Hollywood was making too many big budget movies and Lucas opined they’d be better off making 100 movies at $2 mil rather than one movie at $200 mil. He couldn’t be more wrong and our guest this week explains why.