April 8 2018 Drama Movies Newsletter
Fritz, an entertainment reporter who currently works for "The Wall Street Journal", could easily have titled his new book "The Death of Drama". "The Big Picture" analyzes the numbers and explains why American film studios have given up on original dramas aimed at adults.
Fritz states that Hollywood is now divided into two camps; Disney and the studios who wish they were Disney. As the owner of Marvel, Lucasfilm, and Pixar, Disney is the undisputed box office winner in the 21st Century. ("Solo: A Star Wars Story" will premiere at Cannes next month before its worldwide release.) Disney also plans to reboot the Indiana Jones series and its acquisition of 21st Century Fox means it now controls the rights to all the popular Marvel comic-book characters.
Why the triumph of franchises over drama? The marketing possibilities for films like "The Avengers" are endless; toys, clothing, household goods, theme-park rides, etc. Another factor is the importance of global box office receipts. When DVD revenue tanked, Hollywood looked to countries like China to replace that income. And what works best in foreign markets? Movies that are overly-reliant on visual effects and action sequences. A chilling passage in the book details the self-censorship exercised by producers to avoid offending Chinese government officials.
Fritz posits that Netflix and Amazon will be the saviors of adult drama. But if a film never plays in a theater, does it still qualify as cinema? Fritz considers the question irrelevant. He believes that the lines dividing different types of visual content will disappear. I think there is a reason films evolved into a certain format and length. The two-hour drama has lasted because it satisfies a particular need. If the form dies, I will mourn its loss.
Here's the latest article from the Drama Movies site at BellaOnline.com.
Downhill Racer Film Review
In the late 1960s, America was in turmoil and the films produced then have the ability to speak to us in our current tumultuous times. Robert Redford's film explores the concept of "winning" and what it takes to succeed.
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Angela K. Peterson, Drama Movies Editor
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