Articles, Blog

How to Make a Blockbuster Movie


Between 2005 and 14, only 39% of top films
were actually original, the other 61% were sequels, prequels, re-makes,
re-tellings, spin-offs, or adaptations. Hollywood loves taking what’s already popular
– a book, true story, or another movie, copying and pasting, and then swimming in money. The same stories, told over and over and over
again. And don’t get me wrong, A good movie is
a good movie, sequel or not. But then there’s… Paul Blart 2. Mixed reviews, let’s say. Of course studios like duplicating their success,
but first and foremost, studios like profit, so why not make what people want: less unnecessary
sequels and more original stories? Hollywood is so repetitive not because it’s
run out of ideas, or lacks creativity, but because, as always: money. The problem with movies is that they’re
a huge upfront investment with a crazy amount of risk. It’s a business of big winners and big losers. Like, 140 million dollar losers. Man, these are some uncanny valley faces. In fact, every other movie fails to make a
profit. But those you never hear about, probably why
they failed. The ones you do hear about are the top 6%
making half of all the profit. The saying in the industry is nobody knows
anything – not a comforting thing to hear when deciding where to put 100 million dollars. Sometimes it looks more like gambling than
investing. There are just far safer places to put your
money. Like, anywhere else….BITCONNECT…Okay almost anywhere else. So, there might be demand for more original
stories, But with this much money, even a little risk is a lot of risk. Steven Spielberg predicts it would only take
a few high-budget films to fail for the entire industry to change forever. So studios have to optimize for every cent
they can. It’s been almost a decade since James Cameron
released Avatar. Or Titanic with blue people And it’s still the most profitable movie
ever, by a good margin, But let me ask you: how much do you actually
remember? I’m willing to bet it doesn’t really hold
up. For all the excitement, and boy was there
a lot of it, it just doesn’t have anywhere near the influence of a Star Wars, or Avengers,
or Harry Potter. So why was it so successful? Obviously a lot of it was this and this. which, now less impressive, makes me a little
skeptical about the four sequels planned until 2025. Hey, you do you, James. But what Avatar got really right was wide
appeal. There are four big demographics in the film
industry: Men and women under 25, and over 25. Making a really successful movie means targeting
all of them. Think Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Hunger Games,
Jurassic Park, everything from Pixar. These Four Quadrant Movies are the dream of
every studio – huge audiences, huge sequels, lots of merchandise. But because so many movies try this same strategy,
they end up following the same pattern: Lots of action and adventure, very obvious
good guys and bad guys, and a steady stream of simple humor. Ideally, at least one character each quadrant
can relate to, Young and old, relatively speaking men and women. But one demographic is especially important:
Teenagers. AMC was so desperate to attract them, they
thought hey, kids can’t get off their dang telephones, let’s just allow texting in
our theaters! Which, luckily, didn’t go so well… And because teenagers generally like seeing
a little more than talking rodents, studios like to avoid G and PG movies. R is usually too limiting, which puts PG-13
right in the Goldilocks zone. These four characters can make or break a
film. 41% of movies are rated PG-13, and they make
nearly half of all the profit. Which makes sense: the industry itself created
the rating after parents took their kids to Temple of Doom or Gremlins and weren’t so
happy. Remember that microwave scene? yikes Also, Kali Ma. And while YouTubers censor themselves to avoid
getting demonetized, Hollywood kinda does the opposite. A nice, wholesome story in danger of getting
too soft a rating might sprinkle in some swearing or violence, pushing themselves into golden
PG-13 territory. And there are may be rules about marketing
these to children, but movies like Avatar show they don’t really matter. Just sell your characters to toy companies,
who technically, aren’t advertising the film itself. So who’s in charge of ratings? Who determines the success of your years and
years of hard work and multi-million dollar investment? In the U.S., you have two options: Send your
movie to the Motion Picture Association of America, where you don’t know who’s rating,
what their qualifications are, and don’t have any recourse, Or don’t get shown in 99% of theaters. Monopoly? What are you talking about?!… Their mission is to “protect the creative
and artistic freedoms of storytellers”… just not independent ones, or anyone making
what they don’t like Someone was reading a bit too much Orwell when they wrote that. Oh, and don’t think the ratings actually
mean much, PG-13 movies actually have more gun-violence than those rated R. And the shenanigans don’t stop here. The dream of any big company is to own everything. If you’re an oil company, you want to find
oil, drill for oil, transport the oil, refine the oil, And there will be blood Every company you involve shaves off a bit
of profit, until there isn’t a drop left for you. Which is why movie studios used to own the
theaters, By controlling the showings, they could make
sure their Paul Blart Six wouldn’t have to compete with someone else’s Avatar. But then the U.S. Supreme Court said Get Out
of here, you need A Separation, and turned the industry Inside Out. What was one industry became two intertwined,
with the goal of weakening the studios. But 70 years later, they still have all the
power. Because they don’t need any one theater
to make a profit, but theaters desperately need them. When you buy a ticket, your money is split
between them, depending on when you go. At the beginning, most goes to the studio,
which slowly changes over time. Because of this, theaters usually lose money
early on, then squeeze out a little profit by the end. But that’s if they’re lucky. When it comes to Star Wars, the force is with
Disney. They can pretty much set the rules, theaters
can and do get angry, and then, of course, they agree anyway. Why does a literally 40 cent bag of popcorn
cost $4? Because it’s the only money they don’t
have to share, sometimes their only profit. And studios make such a big deal about opening
weekends because that’s when they make most of the money. But exactly how much is hard to say, When a studio starts making a movie, it forms
a new company, gives it the budget, and then pulls a clever bamboozle. It can say Hey, new company, you owe us some
fees, take most of its money, and make the movie look unprofitable. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
made $450 million dollars, But when workers reached out their hands,
The studio said “So sorry, but there’s just no money to give, the movie isn’t profitable”. How does a Harry potter movie lose $167 million
dollars? Clever Accounting. The studio took a total of $350 million in
fees, Plus, a film’s budget is only a fraction
of its total cost, marketing alone can cost just as much, plus manufacturing, and overhead,
and so on. Most profit is made not domestically, but
internationally. And after theaters, studios squeeze as much
as possible from DVDs, Pay Per View, cable TV, merchandise, video games, and music. The industry may not be sustainable, Companies
like MoviePass are trying to save it by offering unlimited movies for a $10 a month, But let’s say you see a normally $10 movie
every day for a month, minus the $10 subscription, and they’ve lost $290 just on you, just
in one month. If the business fails, we’ll all be conditioned
to unlimited movies, and may not like going back to the old prices. But as sites like Netflix and Amazon rise
from the ashes, things will probably change for the better. anyone can watch their favorite movies from
home, or actually make them themselves, Seriously If your dream is to make films,
or Youtube videos, That’s something you can actually just start learning. and SkillShare is the place for this, with
video courses taught by the experts. You can learn script writing from a New York
Times Bestselling Author, so you can make the most interesting videos possible. You can start drawing a beautiful movie poster
or illustrations for your video from a course like this one. When you’re ready to start filming, you
can practice shooting and editing. This one teaches you how you can get great
looking shots even on a low budget. If you’re more interested in animation,
you can master After Effects with this course, which even gives you practice files to download
and follow along with. There are over 20,000 classes, I was amazed
to find out the other day they even have some on cooking and learning languages. A premium membership gives you unlimited classes,
and the first 500 people to use the link in the description get 2 months completely free. Thanks a lot to Skillshare and everyone who
gives it a try.

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