Guardian editorial numptiness

What is needed is policy and a body which will support films that can secure European co-funding. Not Hollywood sell-outs but commercially successful British films with their own distinctive audience.

If they\’re commercially successful then they won\’t need taxpayer subsidy then, will they?

Numpties.

14 comments on “Guardian editorial numptiness

  1. Isn’t the whole problem that we don’t know that it’s commercially successful until after the funding decisions have been made?

  2. @Pete
    That is why we used to talk about “risk capital” (aka “equity capital”) and “return for risk” (aka “the equity risk premium”).
    I think that the Grauniad has a different definition of “commercially successful” to wit something that loses less money than its subsidy so that all the “luvvies” get their pay packet and the non-risk capitalists who use one of Gordon’s tax avoidance schemes get a return on top of their tax breaks.

  3. “Not Hollywood sell-outs but commercially successful British films…”

    ..that no-one other than Islington-dwelling ‘Guardian’ readers and writers want to see?

  4. @ John. Right. But the way that private funders seek to minimise risk is by sticking to proven commercial formulas and re-making whatever has just been most successful. Which I presume is what the Guardian’s getting at when it says it doesn’t want Hollywood sell-outs.

    I’ll concede JuliaM’s point that many of the existing “solutions” to this problem are just an excuse for churning out pretentious wank that no-one wants to watch.

  5. I’ve no wish defend pretentious wank but, really, things aren’t just successful because people have an autonomous will to see them. Hope so, anyway. The other possibility is that James Cameron is the greatest artist in the history of cinema but that thought drives me to Titanic levels of despair.

  6. Oh come on! Every body knows that government officials and politicians are waaaay better at determining which films will be successful than people who invest their own money in films.

  7. @ Pete
    Minimising risk and maximising expected return lead to different results – very different results when it comes to films. So private investors in unsubsidised projects will rarely go for Hollywood look-a-likes.
    The best returns to investors are from innovative films that the big studios did not want to back – but a lot of such films leave the investors with a total loss.
    If you want innovation you have to offer a chance of a big return or a total loss. However the Grauniad wants their “progressive” investors to get a risk-enhanced return from a risk-free investment.

  8. Ben Six,

    I’ve no wish defend pretentious wank but, really, things aren’t just successful because people have an autonomous will to see them. Hope so, anyway.

    Avatar was as successful as it was because it had tremendous word-of-mouth which is why it stayed at number 1 for (I think) 6 weeks.

    I know that arthouse people like to talk about how it’s all about marketing, or US cultural hegemony, but the fact is that most people don’t want to go to the cinema to see a film shot on a council estate by Ken Loach, and never have.

  9. Avatar was as successful as it was because it had tremendous word-of-mouth which is why it stayed at number 1 for (I think) 6 weeks.

    True, but a cool 100 million dollars worth of marketing was probably significant. I’m not saying the government should muscle in on filmmaking – can you imagine a worse critic than some anal bureaucrat? – just that if the something’s hit it doesn’t mean it wasn’t shit and if something’s a flop it doesn’t mean it was…a load of plop…or something.

  10. True, but a cool 100 million dollars worth of marketing was probably significant. I’m not saying the government should muscle in on filmmaking – can you imagine a worse critic than some anal bureaucrat? – just that if the something’s hit it doesn’t mean it wasn’t shit and if something’s a flop it doesn’t mean it was…a load of plop…or something.

    The market deals with this with DVD. Movies that didn’t get well-marketed become hits, often acting as marketing for sequels, or the reputation of a director.

    If Loach/Leigh made films that people really liked in large numbers, they’d have made it by now rather than appealing to a small niche.

  11. Minimising risk and maximising expected return lead to different results – very different results when it comes to films. So private investors in unsubsidised projects will rarely go for Hollywood look-a-likes.
    The best returns to investors are from innovative films that the big studios did not want to back – but a lot of such films leave the investors with a total loss.

    I take the point that lower budget efforts have to compete on having something distinctive to offer.

    But that does look a bit like saying “the market works great if we exclude all the big studios from it.”

    On Ken Loach. He may or may not be the genius he’s cracked up to be. But I would suggest that, in terms of leaving a high percentage of his audience walking out of the cinema feeling like they’ve actually been ripped off, he has far, far less to answer for than Spielberg, Lucas, and whatever arsehole was responsible for the latest Alien/Predator movies. There is a certain irony to the fact that the publicly funded guy is providing his customers with what they actually paid for.

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