BOOM July - Page 22

REPORT Is Hollywood Making Too Many Movies? S tudios aren’t churning out as many films as they produced a decade ago, but there’s a case to be made that there are still too many movies hitting multiplexes.Lower production costs and the rise of digital technology have lowered the barrier to entering the movie business, making it possible for more people to try to achieve their dream of being the next Steven Spielberg.In 2004, roughly 490 films were released on fewer than 1,000 screens, according to data compiled by the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO). Last year, that number ballooned to 563 movies. The problem is that greater profits didn’t follow the influx of films. In 2004, revenue for films in this sector hit $380 million and admissions topped out at 61 million. Ten years later, revenue stood at $370 million, while admissions sputtered to 45 million. Frequently, these films are vanity releases or pictures with limited commercial appeal and artistic value that are booking a handful of theaters in the hopes of goosing digital and home entertainment sales.“Fifty percent of the movies being opened in New York and Los Angeles should never have been released theatrically,” said Seth Willenson, an entertainment industry consultant. “It dilutes the opportunity for there to be a true breakthrough independent film.”Willenson believes that boom years for the 1% have left a group of people with money to burn — a state of mind that the movie business encourages. The problem \