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Thread: The entertainment industry's unstoppable bullshit machine

  1. #1
    Loves ponies. Hates phonies. Regina Phalange's Avatar
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    Angry The entertainment industry's unstoppable bullshit machine

    I liked our thread back on @, so let's do it again and include movies and tv in the crazy.

    Netflix has increased its price 50% for unlimited streaming/1 dvd packages. While it's still not a bad value, that's a big leap. Lots of people are pretty mad at them, while others are trying to explain it as an unfortunate side effect of horrible deals they've had to sign with the studios recently.

    While I don't have a problem with paying for content or watching commercials, it's hard to do things the right way some times when pirating is cheaper and easier.

    Here is a link to an article
    saying how the studios are being as obtuse now as the record companies were in the 90s/00s.

    What happened to the music industry over the last 10 years or so was a lot like the plot of The Hangover. Bad judgment and self-indulgence producing chaos, pain, blinding sun, dim but lacerating memories … and you wake up to find there's a tiger in your hotel suite...

    Hollywood and the cable industry are teaming up to penalize illegal downloaders by taking away part or all of their Internet access after five or six warnings, the beginning of a new Whac-a-Mole game that, even if successful, will just see the downloaders move to new and more secure ways to move media around...

    [RE: unskippable crap on dvds] [Y]ou bought the thing legally, but the studios still petulantly want you to hear them whining about piracy, and have no evident interest in giving you control to use it as you wish...

    Some parts of it are available here under these circumstances, some are available there under those. Some in this place, some in that, and some not at all. And the availability can change without notice.

    The trouble facing the movie industry right now is the same one the music industry had to confront 10 years ago. This is the summing-up sentence I referred to above:

    The easiest and most convenient way to see the movies or TV shows you want is to get them illegally...

    [T]he music industry, when it began to feel the effects of the technological change coming, doubled down on stupid...

    If the studios were smart they'd go to the mat and create a massive one-stop shop for TV and movies, find a price point they can live with and then set programmers loose to make the thing as easy to use and ubiquitous as possible. Instead they've been wasting their time strong-arming the cable companies to help them on a new crusade against illegal downloaders—an unwieldy process that doesn't address the root problem and won't work.

    Where have we heard that before?

    I'm not saying that using illegal media is right. And of course it's free—the studios can't do anything about that. But does it have to be easier?

    No—and until something is done about the ease of use, the film and TV studios are going to live out a script very similar to the one the music industry just acted out.

  2. #2
    That's a good article. There are certain things on DVD (and CD) I'll happily pay for, but on the whole I don't have a problem with downloading or free streaming sites like megavideo. Having been thoroughly ripped off in the past paying Ł90 a box for X-Files DVDs and Ł60-odd for Buffy and Angel, then seeing the prices reduced once the 'core fanbase' have all bought them, I have no sympathy for these companies that are solely motivated for profit.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Hypatia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Borkish Mike View Post
    Having been thoroughly ripped off in the past paying Ł90 a box for X-Files DVDs and Ł60-odd for Buffy and Angel, then seeing the prices reduced once the 'core fanbase' have all bought them, I have no sympathy for these companies that are solely motivated for profit.
    I've noticed that too. I have learned that the only thing, "I gotta have it now!" has done for me is lose me money. I really think what is killing the movie industry is the exorbitant salaries actors, directors and others get for working in the entertainment industry. I'm not against making loads of money, but for some reason I just have a hard time believing that a person is worth more that a couple of million for a motion picture. (and they say that San Francisco is 49 square miles surrounded by reality)

  4. #4
    she said destroy Lágnætti's Avatar
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    I haven't been to the actual cinema in well over a year. I watch a lot of films on DVD and occasionally I watch a dodgy download or two, mostly of stuff I wouldn't ever pay to see otherwise. Part of this is access - all the easily-accessible cinemas - the wonderful old Art Deco theatres in the centre of town from the 30s we had here - have long-ago closed and been replaced by huge soulless multiplexes in places inaccessible execpt by car or expensive. interminable public transport.

    The rest of it is the films I do want to see on the big screen - basically anything remotely arthouse or just not some horrible, script-free, CGI-infested big studio release/tentpole movie - tend to get no theatrical release at all or one so limited one it renders them inaccessible to most people. For example, the 2010 British movie Centurion - got no local releases at all, being limited to single screens for a short period in only two or three major British cities. There was a big audience here for that film - Neil Marshall is a popular director with a solid cult following and the subject matter was appealing to people outside his fanbase - but distribution basically killed it at the box office. It did amazingly well on DVD. Pretty much everyone I know who has seen it waited impatiently for its DVD release and bemoaned the lack of opportunity to see it on the big screen.

    Another complaint of mine is the pathetic way the film industry is dealing with the recession - putting out endless sequels, remakes of old TV series and retconning 3D onto major releases irks me no end. 3D is a gimmick the industry uses every time they feel the industry is at risk from another media - in the 50s it was TV that was 'killing' the industry, in the 80s it was video and now its OMGdownloading. It lends little of any interest to any film unless as British critic Mark Kermode said, it features endless spear-chucking or plummeting into abysses and a year or two into this new wave the audience already knows it for the novelty it is - 3D showings are not selling out the way the industry clearly thought they would. Looking at my nearest multiplex bill right now there is ONE film I wouldn't mind seeing - the Ninth Legion action flick The Eagle. It's limited to one single showing at 1pm on Wednesday, basically ruling out attendance for anyone who works or simply can't make that single time slot. Every other screen is infested by the usual grotesque Michael Bay shit, Harry bloody Potter part terminus and various horrible summertime kiddieflicks. Oh and Bridemaids, a film that makes 154 minutes of Michael Bay explosion/underwear model porn sound interesting. I know it's summertime now, but this has been pretty much the pattern all year for the past couple of years. Any real choice in films has decreased greatly since the recession started. If it's British, arty or not lowest common denominator type stuff, you're not going to get to see it theatrically unless it happens to win an Oscar. So I pretty much source anything I do want to see my other means. Lately I've been watching more episodic TV and old films that current ones.

    As for the Netflix thing - well, I'm in the UK and we don't have Netflix here although we do have various similar set-ups such as Lovefilm. TBQH though, the price quoted for unlimited streaming ($16 a month) sounds pretty good to me, especially if it leads to more movies being available to stream. The problem is obviously the way they raised the price overnight. They'd have been better sneaking it up over time.

  5. #5
    Tens Across the Board Banjee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gork von braun View Post

    As for the Netflix thing - well, I'm in the UK and we don't have Netflix here although we do have various similar set-ups such as Lovefilm. TBQH though, the price quoted for unlimited streaming ($16 a month) sounds pretty good to me, especially if it leads to more movies being available to stream. The problem is obviously the way they raised the price overnight. They'd have been better sneaking it up over time.
    Actually, Netflix has been real skeezy about what they allow to stream. About a couple of months ago, I had "The Orphanage" and "Broken Embraces" on my Instant view queue, they since disappeared from the cue and are no longer available to instant stream. I was puzzled by this, and a bit pissed off because I had saved some movies to watch them on my summer off. I guess they thought they were being too generous with what they were permitting to stream. It seems like they have less stuff to stream with this new pricing plan because they want to force customers to buy into the higher-priced package.
    Last edited by Banjee; 07-14-2011 at 01:41 PM.

  6. #6
    Loves ponies. Hates phonies. Regina Phalange's Avatar
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    I don't get to the theater to see movies that often either. The one closest to my house closed down. The other one... well, the last time I went, I coincidentally got ill while there and ended up borking in the parking lot and for days afterward. It had nothing to do with the theater, but the association is there. It is also supposedly infested with bed bugs. The other two close ones are pains to get to if there is even a whiff of traffic. While that's not the studios' fault, the end result is that I don't really care to go to theaters unless I have a free pass, something I have to see and can't wait (like once every other year), or someone else is driving.

    Redbox (a freestanding.... red box.... that distributes dvds on demand for $1 in grocery stores, etc) will probably fill any dvd void I have when I drop Netflix's, but it is hampered like Netflix in that "new" releases aren't authorized for a couple months. The studios won't make bulk price deals unless they hold off on releases so people buy them instead of renting them.

    And then you read how CBS refuses to pay the non-Fonz, non-Ron Howard Happy Days stars their residuals for YEARS and then have the nerve to put out nasty press releases saying how premature the lawsuit filed by the actors is. So while the costs of making things doesn't really faze me most of the time, when something like that happens, I'm like "So where does the money go?" Lisa Edelstein is supposedly not returning to House this year because she refused to take a pay cut. Wilson will be in less scenes as part of his pay cut. House has seriously declined in the last 2-3 years, almost venturing into unwatchable territory, but it still gets high ratings. So to reward years of award-winning/nominated episodes, just plain awesome tv, its show gets gutted?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by gork von braun View Post
    Another complaint of mine is the pathetic way the film industry is dealing with the recession - putting out endless sequels, remakes of old TV series and retconning 3D onto major releases irks me no end. 3D is a gimmick the industry uses every time they feel the industry is at risk from another media - in the 50s it was TV that was 'killing' the industry, in the 80s it was video and now its OMGdownloading. It lends little of any interest to any film unless as British critic Mark Kermode said, it features endless spear-chucking or plummeting into abysses and a year or two into this new wave the audience already knows it for the novelty it is - 3D showings are not selling out the way the industry clearly thought they would. Looking at my nearest multiplex bill right now there is ONE film I wouldn't mind seeing - the Ninth Legion action flick The Eagle. It's limited to one single showing at 1pm on Wednesday, basically ruling out attendance for anyone who works or simply can't make that single time slot. Every other screen is infested by the usual grotesque Michael Bay shit, Harry bloody Potter part terminus and various horrible summertime kiddieflicks. Oh and Bridemaids, a film that makes 154 minutes of Michael Bay explosion/underwear model porn sound interesting. I know it's summertime now, but this has been pretty much the pattern all year for the past couple of years. Any real choice in films has decreased greatly since the recession started. If it's British, arty or not lowest common denominator type stuff, you're not going to get to see it theatrically unless it happens to win an Oscar. So I pretty much source anything I do want to see my other means. Lately I've been watching more episodic TV and old films that current ones.
    You bring up a good point about the qualities of movies - one of the biggest reasons I have no sympathy for Hollywood, nor the music industry, is the amount of utter shit they produce. And what gets me is that THEY KNOW IT'S SHIT, the endless sequels and remakes are purely for profit. So Hollywood writers go bankrupt from all the illegal downloading... fucking great, I say. No more Big Mama's House 3, no remakes of Casablanca or Gone with the Wind to worry about, no more vanity projects from overpaid celebrities, etc.

  8. #8
    she said destroy Lágnætti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butch Bork Up in Pumps View Post
    It seems like they have less stuff to stream with this new pricing plan because they want to force customers to buy into the higher-priced package.
    If that is the case then I fully agree it's a rip-off.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scarlet View Post
    I'm like "So where does the money go?" Lisa Edelstein is supposedly not returning to House this year because she refused to take a pay cut. Wilson will be in less scenes as part of his pay cut.?
    Actually, this is exactly what I want to know when it comes to Hollywood movies. In fact, me and the nephew were discussing this only the other day. I do know what they're not spending money on - decent scripts and decent actors. Actually, decent actors, as opposed to 'stars' probably cost less. The dreadful writing and the almost total disrespect for the audience's intelligence shown by most Hollywood tentpole stuff never ceases to amaze me. Then again, people still pay to go and see this stuff knowing it's pap that's unlikely to satisfy and I don't understand that either. They won't stop serving you shit until you stop eating it, you know.

    It's really interesting to compare budgets for movies these days and see what great stuff - even stuff with some location and CGI work gets made on a relatively low budget and marvel at how big a proportion of big-budget movies lack the most basic script or actors who can act their way out of a paper bag. What did the new Bay shitfest cost? $250million, about $50million more than the last epically awful one which even he has publically admitted was a giant bag of shit? Then you have the movie I mentioned above - Centurion - an historical action epic made on location in Scotland, which looks amazing and cost just Ł12million. I just look at a lot of these big-budget movies and surmise they've basically taken wads of cash and flushed it down the toilet because I do not see it on the screen. What's even more interesting is to look at films made outside the English-speaking world and realise how little they cost in comparison. Japanese film budgets are generally a tiny fraction of their equivalents in Hollywood, Japanese stars get paid a fraction of a fraction of their Hollywood counterparts and they produce consistantly interesting and often far superior work within the various genres. I believe the most expensive Russian film ever made cost a whole $2million or thereabouts.

    One of the movies I'm looking forward to the most in the coming year is Iron Sky, an independent, Finnish-produced dark SF comedy that has taken years to get into production due to financing difficulties. They've basically funded it through collaboration with an Australian and German production companies along with a bit of crowd-funding. It has a budget of a mere 7.5 million Euro and it looks awesome





    Again, it's likely not going to get any distribution in cinemas and will likely go straight to DVD. I can't wait to buy it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    You bring up a good point about the qualities of movies - one of the biggest reasons I have no sympathy for Hollywood, nor the music industry, is the amount of utter shit they produce. And what gets me is that THEY KNOW IT'S SHIT, the endless sequels and remakes are purely for profit. So Hollywood writers go bankrupt from all the illegal downloading... fucking great, I say. No more Big Mama's House 3, no remakes of Casablanca or Gone with the Wind to worry about, no more vanity projects from overpaid celebrities, etc.
    I wouldn't blame the writers, rather the studio heads who green light shit and turn away good stuff on the premise audiences won't pay to see complex or challenging work and make directors dumb down scripts during production. It's hard to impossible to get a studio green light for a film that is not geared toward the male aged 15-24 demographic and I recall one studio head a couple of years back being on record as saying that he wouldn't green light any films with a female protagonist. They're the ones holding back the good scripts and demanding we be served shit instead of quality work.

  9. #9
    Loves ponies. Hates phonies. Regina Phalange's Avatar
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    Targeting for young boys/men is crazy too because Sex And The City (the first one, that is) was a HUGE movie that summer. It becomes a crazy vicious cycle. Execs make movies that aren't tempting for women, esp ones older than 25. Then they say "women don't watch movies," so they don't make them. And while a character study of women might not rake in huge dollars, would it recoup its cost? Written and acted well (with promotion suitable for it), it probably will. It just won't make the same amount of profit. I'm a believer in a lot of capitalist ideals, but with the economic crisis, I'm having a hard time with the profit-above-all-else mentality. I'm not saying studios need to work in the red to give us art, but if a movie with the "wrong" demographics makes SOME profit, why can't it be made ALSO? Sure, Iron Man vs Winter's Bone is an easy business decision, but why not both? The whole idea of "not enough profit" makes me crazy as I've seen so much get cut/defunded/shut down in the last few years, not because it doesn't make money, but because it doesn't make ENOUGH profit, and isn't taking the place of something else.

  10. #10
    Did not! Elly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gork von braun View Post
    I just look at a lot of these big-budget movies and surmise they've basically taken wads of cash and flushed it down the toilet because I do not see it on the screen. What's even more interesting is to look at films made outside the English-speaking world and realise how little they cost in comparison. Japanese film budgets are generally a tiny fraction of their equivalents in Hollywood, Japanese stars get paid a fraction of a fraction of their Hollywood counterparts and they produce consistantly interesting and often far superior work within the various genres. I believe the most expensive Russian film ever made cost a whole $2million or thereabouts.
    Yes! One of the things I have learned from watching (way too much of) streaming Netflix is most of the hollywood stuff out there is crrrrap! But when I click on a foreign film or an indy, I am ALWAYS pleasantly entertained.
    "You can't believe most of the quotes you read on the Internet." --Abraham Lincoln

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    Netflix has nothing on it I really want to watch. Everything cool that is listed for whatever reason will then say "Not Available" when I click on it.

    it still beats the basic cable I have so I don't complain that much. and it's vert convenient to have on my Wii

    the new pricing plan increase they put into place yesterday for the DVD by mail sounds very expensive.

  12. #12
    What! You guys don't wanna see Transformers 3D or The Hangover 2??? How about the umpteenth Pirates of the Caribbean? Or something called Horrible Bosses? No?

    (Just reading down the list of stuff playing in my area - it's all atrocious, mostly teen or kiddie-oriented crap, or a sequel, or a generic rom-com)

  13. #13
    she said destroy Lágnætti's Avatar
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    Jim, I'd rather eat a bag of sporks.

    Those of you saying Netflix has pulled a lot of films on your lists from streaming ... they wouldn't be Sony movies, would they?

    Netflix recently had to pull Sony films from the service that were provided to them by Starz. The reason is that Starz and Sony are renegotiating some contract and until it’s sorted, Sony films are no longer to be shown on Netflix. Now this could be because Sony is already set to lose some $3 billion this year and needs to recoup money wherever they can and they might feel that Starz sucker punched them when they offered up a massive pile of films to Netflix (who most likely paid a pretty massive amount).

    The problem, according to reports, is the fact that Netflix pays a one-time licensing fee instead of a per view one (which probably works in the favor of those who supply the films since many of the titles are probably never or rarely viewed). We also hear that Sony might want to put a subscriber cap on availability so that once Netflix tops a certain number of subscribers, the films will be pulled and a new contract negotiated.

    http://www.reelseo.com/netflix-sony-...ng-video-spat/

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    The last movie that we saw in the theater that didn't make me want to projectile vomit all over the asshole in front of us was "Away We Go" (with Jon Krasinsky & Maya Rudolph). I swear, everything I see coming out in the theater these days is pure shit. Why does "Hollywood" insist on raping my childhood? Smurfs... WHAT?!?! Transformers is a waste of film. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was just Tim Burton masturbating all over his wife and Johnny Depp (I know it's been quite some time since this one came out... it's just a sore spot for me. This movie sucked.) Twilight? Mormon porn. The Hangover? Goddamnit I am so sick of hearing how OMGSOFUCKINGFUNNY that movie is. It looks ridiculous and the premise is gross.

    And the same goes for the music industry. My husband and I were lamenting the state of pop music and how it seems to be growing exponentially while music with any substance is becoming something of an endangered species! It seems we've returned to a music environment where it's all about HITS HITS HITS! And crappy sudo-dance music with prepubescent boys in scarves and knit caps, on the beach, singing about how they wish the world was better or that girl at Urban Outfitters gave them a boner. But I guess that's really always been that way with the big music labels... I guess I'll just have to keep listening to the things I love and hope that things get better... right?
    You don't have to do everything all by yourself.

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    ANUSTART Lathan's Avatar
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    70-Year-Old Woman Sued For Downloading Pr0n

    There's something fishy about the lawsuit against tens of thousands of Internet users who allegedly downloaded copyrighted files. As the 70-year-old grandmother being sued for downloading pornography told SFGate, "It smacks of extortion."

    Over the last few months, law firm Steele Hansmeier PLLC has gone after BitTorrent users with alarming ruthlessness, demanding cash settlements for illegally downloaded files and threatening penalties of up to $150,000 for those who take the case to court. According to tech blog TorrentFreak:

    Unlike other lawsuits, the aim of the copyright holders is not to take any of the defendants to court, but to get alleged infringers to pay a substantial cash settlement to make legal action go away.
    These settlements range from $3,000-12,000. While the goal of curbing Internet piracy is understandable, this particular case sounds less like lawyers coming up with effective ways to protect copyrighted material and more like lawyers terrifying people into giving them $3,000. Each. Especially when they seem to be completely indifferent to claims of innocence, like the one from the 70-year-old grandmother. The woman refused to pay the settlement fee and explained that she had never even heard of a BitTorrent.

    SFGate reports:

    To be clear, many – and maybe even most – of those accused in these cases probably downloaded the files. But it's easy to imagine scenarios where some didn't, yet still feel pressured to settle. Like, say, a widow in her 70s who, when asked by a reporter, didn't know whether her wireless Internet service was password protected. She did know, however, that a handful of young men lived next door.
    But Steele slammed this defense, accusing owners of unprotected wireless service of wild irresponsibility. According to SFGate:
    In an interview, he [Steele] said anyone who fails to secure their Wi-Fi is as responsible for the subsequent crimes or tragedies as a parent who leaves a loaded gun within the reach of a 3-year-old.
    That sounds about right. Because a little free hardcore is just as tragic as the accidental death of a child. And a $150,000 fine for one 30-minute video is totally reasonable.
    Subsequent tragedies? LOL.




    originally posted by New Bork City in New Bork City NOT SEATTLE!

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