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The movie theatres opened up for business in America in early May 2021 and Hollywood gave a sigh of relief. Several movies have been released since then and some of them have done good business at the box office both in America and the rest of the world. Still, several parts of the world have kept their movie theatres shuttered because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and that has affected the movie business negatively. So while business has started for Hollywood it hasn’t been business as usual. Some of the movies that have done well recently are A Quiet Place Part II, Cruella, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, Raya And The Last Dragon, The Green Knight, F9, Godzilla Vs. Kong, Monster Hunter, Free Guy, The Suicide Squad, and Jungle Cruise. All of them have earned well at the box office and have brought back people’s faith in the movie business to a small degree. However, the central question remains unanswered – What kind of films should Hollywood make now in the new world that has changed irrevocably for several reasons especially the advent of the entertainment-at-home phenomenon and the disastrous impact of the Covid-19 pandemic? In the new world, it goes without saying that Hollywood needs to do business in a new way.


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Box-Office Success was the Primary Objective


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Before the Covid-19 pandemic shut down Hollywood things were going pretty well. Even though many people were complaining about the quality of Hollywood films being released [with good reason too] the box-office was booming. Mainly due to the slew of superhero films and their sequels that were being cranked out by Hollywood at regular intervals. Some of the movie franchises that were bringing in multi-billion dollar business were The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Batman, Spiderman, Thor, Ironman, Fantastic Four, Wolverine, Wonder Woman, and X-Men. Some other franchises that were raking in the money were Star Wars and Fast & the Furious and it was clear that Hollywood had bet on quantity over quality. While these movies were box-office smashes they were not telling the good stories that make filmgoers remember why they went to the theatres in the first place. All these movies were big-screen spectacles, had mind-boggling special effects, charismatic stars, larger-than-life characters, and fast-paced action. They were good for the eye but didn’t do much for the audiences’ brains. Even the kindest supporters of Hollywood were admitting that it was all about the money now and not telling memorable stories.

One Massive Bright Spot in the Dull Sky


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One notable exception was Joker that was a possible origin story for one of the most diabolical villains of all time, The Joker. It was a small movie starring Joaquin Phoenix in the lead role and Robert De Niro and others in strong supporting roles but it went on to be the surprise hit of the year. Inspired by the classic 1976 film Taxi Driver, Joker was an intense and violent film that was made on a small budget but grossed over $1.0 billion at the global box office. Writer and director Todd Phillips proved once again that a truly original story told with passion and heart would still move the audiences as no other movie can. Joker has been the exception rather than the rule even though it has generated a lot of enthusiasm in Hollywood since 2019. Since 2000 there has been a visible lack of character-driven drama films that gave Hollywood respectability, credibility, integrity, worldwide appeal, profits, and a powerful image. It started in the 1970s and all through the 1980s and 1990s Hollywood made deep inroads in all the major movie markets in the world especially Asia and Europe. All over the world people loved Hollywood films so much so that in several countries the local film industry was going into a decline. There were widespread complaints that Hollywood was killing the local film industry in several countries.

The Competition is Ruthless & Deadly


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The question is what does Hollywood do now? There is a feeling that superhero films and mindless action films have run out of relevance. The audience is tired of tons of not-so-new wine sold in very pretty old bottles. The relentless barrage of the same tired ideas masquerading as film franchises has made audiences exhausted. Alternative story-telling formats like web series and docuseries have become very popular. They address issues and subjects that big Hollywood studios are avoiding. Online and home entertainment have become the new choice of billions of viewers thanks to the phenomenal success of OTT streaming services like Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, YouTube TV, Starz, and Hulu to name just a few. They are providing killing competition to the Hollywood studios with their original content.

The Road Ahead is Difficult & Unfamiliar


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So what will Hollywood do to get its old glory back and regain its place as the best way to have a good time? What kind of movies will Hollywood make now to get the audiences back into the theatres and watch movies the way they should be seen? On the big screens in the theatres. There is only one way – Make terrific movies. Choose quality content over mere spectacle. Tell stories that will connect with people all over the world. Tell niche stories that may not set the box office on fire but will connect with audiences emotionally. Today Hollywood can make movies about many parts of the world. There are great stories just waiting to be told that have a universal appeal. America is not as loved as before by anyone no matter what they believe and what the spin masters of America say. America has many enemies. So Hollywood has to tread carefully. Movies that disturb other cultures should not be released. Hollywood needs to be very sensitive. Making money is essential but it should not be the primary reason for making movies. Hollywood needs to make movies that are thoughtful, positive, entertaining, and meaningful. That’s the only way that Hollywood will become big again and business will be back to usual. It’s up to Hollywood now!

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