Back when I was trying to break into the entertainment industry as a screenwriter, I used to follow the box office returns most assiduously. I wanted to know what kind of movies people were watching, what themes and relationships resonated with audiences. And I would then consider my own story ideas and find which stories were, thematically, most like those which sold the most tickets. I would focus my attention on marketing those.
Now, all my stories lacked explosions and car chases, but each did affirm the value of certain archetypal relationships, like a man’s bond to his father, a child’s connection to his or her family and the tension between that familial affection and his or her romantic inclinations (see, e.g., Romeo and Juliet). Back in 2002, when My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which cost only $5 million to produce, snuck up and surprised everyone, capturing nearly one-quarter billion dollars at the domestic box office alone, I had great hope for some of my scripts, a few of which had similar themes.
Attending a panel of industry executives at a Film Festival the summer that sweet sleeper was eating up the box office, I asked if its success would change the way things were done in Hollywood. To a man (there were only men on the panel), the executives said it would not.
In what other industry, I wondered, would an unexpected success not cause companies to reconsider the way they did business?
Over at Big Hollywood, my friend John Nolte explores a similar theme:
- Anti-American, anti-troop films flop one right after another both here and overseas. See:Here. Here. Here. Here. Here. Here. Here. Here. Here. Here.
- The rare pro-American, pro-troop film makes money overseas. See: Here. Here. Here. Here.Here.
- Hollywood makes anti-American films one right after another.
- Hollywood says they don’t make pro-American films because they don’t make money overseas.
Read the whole thing. Why does Hollywood not learn from the box office?
Perhaps, when I moved to LA, instead of studying the box office, I should have changed my politics.