What do we know about today’s movie industry and how studios determine whether or not a movie gets made? Its simple. Today we live in an industry where many blockbusters and medium budget films are based on recognizable IP’s. Take Marvel for example, and how they proved years ago that comic book movies can be successful. Now in 2016, we have six comic book movies, two Netflix series, and several TV shows in the same year. Look at Deadpool and how its success has flooded the internet with reports about studios looking for R-rated film possibilities.
What I’m trying to say is that studios goes for the “sure thing” or the easy sell, because they know we’ll buy it and we just can’t get enough. Nothing is more guaranteed to sell than recognizable IP’s. Before comic book movies found their golden age in Hollywood, studios were making these films for cash grabs. Even today, studios turn out what feels like the same thing, or even better unoriginal, and its because of film makers having creative limits.
Let’s go back to Marvel and how they develop and make films. Their president of production Kevin Feige runs a tight ship. When a Marvel film goes into pre-production, it needs to include certain elements that reference past Marvel films, while also setting up future installments. Their films can’t go too far out of bounds, because it needs to fit within their cinematic universe. Their formula for a shared universe is a proven success, but it also has proven to be stressful on even the most passionate and creative minds (Joss Whedon). The same goes for many other studios, but unlike Marvel these companies are afraid of taking risks. Their greed and over concern for money is costing writers and directors the creative freedom to explore, because they don’t want invest in the unknown. How many reboots and remakes have been announced in recent years? This is the main reason why Netflix has been so successful in recent years, because of their no-limits on creativity. Film makers come up with stories of their own, and Hollywood isn’t buying into them. So they’re forced to look elsewhere, sometimes even when big budget studios express interest. Take it from director David Ayer, whose next project Bright (starring Will Smith) will debut as a Netflix original film.
“… I was after the creative freedom, the ability to make really hard R rated movies with vision and voice, and see them play in the on-demand world. You do that as a theatrical release, and you’d better hit a bulls-eye, some cultural zeitgeist. Otherwise it’s a gamble for studios; it’s easier for them to justify $200M budgets for tent poles than $40M to $90M for the movies I like to make.”
Netflix out bid several studios for the rights to Bright, which is said to have an $80-$100 million dollar budget. It’ll be the streaming services first major gamble, after making such a successful debut with Beasts of No Nation. They have continuously demonstrated the ability to work well with directors, writers, and actors, which is all they’re really asking for.