Canadians -- Keep this to yourselves, but Hollywood is really vulnerable right now.
They’re teetering (and I’m not just talking about some weekend 7.2 Quake). A perfect storm is brewing that the right people, making the right moves, could use to finally wrest media control away from them.
And who better to do that than the guys they usually can’t tell aren’t them to begin with --- us.
We’ve known they were in trouble for a while. Almost a third of the people regularly working in the Hollywood industry are already Canadian. But now film and TV production has declined in total numbers South of the border. Disney is down to 10 movies a year. MGM has trouble finding the money to keep much more than the Bond franchise afloat.
Even the number one network, CBS, has been shooting summer replacement shows up here in the hope of cutting costs.
NBC Universal has gone even further, partnering with the Canadian Film Centre hoping to find good ideas in some first year film student’s homework.
That should have been our first clue to the desperation.
But this morning it was revealed that there are no fewer than 86 sequels in development at American studios. That’s right. THEY OFFICIALLY HAVE NO NEW IDEAS.
As a result, even abject failures like “Cloverfield” and “Blair Witch 2” are rolling out versions with a higher number after the title.
Producers all over Los Angeles are currently paying out massive writer fees to “reimagine” concepts which didn’t show much imagination in the first place. How many people do you think are really anxious to buy a ticket to see:
The Phantom 2
Scary Movie 5
Mama’s House 3
Super Troopers 2
There’s also “Five Brothers”, Mark Whalberg’s sequel to “Four Brothers” (in which I believe a couple of the original brothers died). “The Departed 2” which picks up after almost everybody in the original has been dispatched, and Robert De Niro’s “The Good Shepherd 2” – which makes no sense since nobody went to see the first incarnation.
These guys are just going through the motions. They’re spent. Done. Haven’t a clue what might work.
And then there’s us…
1. We’re sitting on a dollar that’s finally at par and likely to go higher. Couple more months and a lotta distributors and network executives with Beverly Hills mortgages are gonna want some multi-colored (make that coloured) folding money to tuck into their safety deposit boxes.
2. We’re already generations past our Health Care freak-out and not looking at 4 years of massive tax bills before anybody can even apply for a sedative. Some American corporations are looking at Billion dollar annual contributions to top up their private plans. How much of that will have to come out of Michael Bay’s F/X budget?
Who wants to see “Transformers 3” with the original toy cars???
3. We are also looking at funding money already geared to new media platforms. 700,000 Americans bought iPads over the weekend. Are they gonna want to download “White Chicks 2” or something made specifically for their device, something in their own language and probably starring some actor they already thought was American --- and with a story they haven’t seen before?
And most important…
4. Do you have any idea how many good scripts have been developed by Telefilm, TMN and any number of other “Funds” over the last decade that are still waiting to be made because Canadian producers only wanted to copy what Americans were doing?
Sure, we could wait around hoping one of these sequels gets made here. Or we can keep partnering in wretched crap like the “Ben-Hur” remake CBC foisted on us last night…
Just for my own edification --- were Ray Winstone and Ben Cross completely shit-faced in every single one of their scenes – or was the wine-soaked Roman aristocrat motif something the idiot director came up with?
Boy, if this is the kind of unwatchable drek the CBC’s new and much ballyhooed Movie division is going to foist on us, I wouldn’t want to be the CBC President campaigning for “value for signal” fees.
Anyway, all I’m sayin’ is --- we could keep following the same loser-mentality, minority partner, branch plant path that has never worked in this country. Or we could realize Hollywood is broke, unprepared for the future and out of ideas.
We could take these guys.
Let’s do it!