152 Comments

This is yet another example of Get Woke, Go Broke. South Park's "Panderverse" mocked Disney's special kind of stupid. Audiences are voting with their wallets.

PS: love the How To format ;)

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Movie studios should look to the ads in old comics for the next concept they can flog to death. Sea Monkeys: The Movie. Spider Man vs the Hostess Twinkie Thief. The Insult That Made a Man Out of Mac, etc.

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"Movies flourished ... and will do so again." I strongly disagree. Going to the movies is expensive, noisy (too high volume levels), overloaded with ads, ridiculous prices for popcorn, soft drinks etc...stay home and watch Netflix! Small cinemas showing documentaries, old movies, mixed with live lectures, music etc. will survive — the big movie houses are toast!

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Some years ago, Netflix had a category called "Independent" films. They had good storylines with engaging characters and didn't cost a fortune to make. As I remember, many were made in Canada. I can't find them anymore since Netflix began to compete with the Hallmark channel over the most insipid romance stories.

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Nov 14, 2023·edited Nov 14, 2023

Movies went woke a long time ago. And they have lost me as a customer forever, me and almost every single person I know. Way back in the 1980's I noticed that critical favorites were simply films that had typical left wing cliches gratuitously and inappropriately thrust into the course of the movie. Or occasionally they could even be the whole point of the movie. These movies were always trying to "teach me a lesson". It was so predictable. White people are racist. Southern people are anti-gay and also very stupid, along with a whole list of other tired cliches. At first I was able to avoid most of that just by avoiding art house type movies. Over time the rot has spread into all of the mainstream movies. The lefties in Hollywood just can't help themselves. They feel they have to lecture down to the audience. It's boring and most people aren't going to tolerate it. They have alienated at least half of the potential audience and deserve to go broke. Insulting the customer is a terrible business model

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Nov 13, 2023·edited Nov 13, 2023

I saw the first Captain Marvel in 2019 and was literally squirming in my seat; I was so bored and desperate for the movie to end that I had to fight to keep from running out of the theater. I can't imagine how bad this new one is. (Anyway, the real Captain Marvel is the grinning guy in the red suit with the lightning bolt on his chest; this chick is just a claim jumper.) I had seen everything in it before, you see, and it was all done better before. There wasn't a single surprise, and the whole enterprise felt tired and cynical in a way that even the most formula westerns usually don't. (Hell, even in a bad western you usually get to see some actual scenery instead of green-screen nonexistence.)

I went from loving the superhero genre, lapping up Spiderman 2 and Iron Man and the first X-Men movies to being as completely done with the whole thing as done can be; the movies are just so bad now, so passionless and pro-forma. Or maybe I'm just growing up. (Sixty-three is a little old to get excited about spandex ciphers belting each other for no purpose other than setting up the next installment in the franchise.)

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Right on the nose as usual. My personal pet peeve when you asked what bothered us recently was this very same issue. The virtual extinction of new, original and creative films made by auteurs, and their replacement by remakes, reboots, sequels and spinoffs made by committees of studio heads and money people--all looking for the next big multi-hundred-million-dollar payoff, all copies of copies, all more of the same thing until nobody can stand to see them anymore, and the abandonment of the plain old "good" movie with real stars and a decent (but not massively ballooned) budget (the drama/comedy/dramedy kind of thing a Jack Nicholson or a Meryl Streep used to star in--think of movies like Moonstruck, As Good as it Gets, Broadcast News, An Officer and a Gentleman), what used to be the "bread and butter" of the industry. Aside from the incredibly rare exception to the rule, they essentially doesn't exist anymore. Sure, there are independent films made (such as A24 films) but made with microscopic budgets and noticeably thin production values. Even Woody Allen (who has now fallen on disfavor over possible scandal) found, before the scandal ended his career, that although his movies virtually ALWAYS made money, he couldn't get funding in America anymore because the money people weren't interested in spending 5 to 15 million on a movie and making 15 to 40 million in profit from it anymore. They all wanted the multi-hundred-million-dollar payout or nothing. He had to go to Europe to find anybody willing to invest in a "small change" drama or dramedy movie. Why don't studios realize that if you stop making ORIGINAL films and keep endlessly milking the old franchises to death, there won't be any new franchises to profit from once people are sick of endless repeats of the old ones. And another issue, which we hear little about because the entertainment companies are scared to talk about it and make trouble for themselves, is the pleasing of the Chinese market (the Chinese government really), as studios demand doing today, which exacts a price of its own. The Chinese government interferes strongly with what a movie can contain nowadays. Why do you think you can see Russian bad guys in movies today, but not Chinese baddies? You can't make a movie about the Dali Lama anymore or about Tibet, or the Chinese will punish not only the studio which made such a film but the parent corporation which owns that studio too, costing them possible hundreds of millions. They banned Disney merchandise, threatened to stop the then under-construction Disney amusement park, costing them untold millions, years back when the Disney owned Touchstone Pictures released a film about Tibet. The president of Disney had to fly to China to apologize to get the ban lifted and proceed again with constructing Disney's Chinese park back then. In the last James Bond film, Bond fights a series of guards of various nationalities, and one was Chinese. The studio had to edit this fight because the Chinese government said Bond defeating this one Chinese guard among other nationalities made the Chinese look weak. So, to keep the studio and the parent corporation from being punished to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, the scene of Bond defeating this one Chinese guard among guards of various nationalities was edited out of the film. The Chinese government (not the Chinese people, but the government) not only prevent what they don't like from being shown in China but also now prevent it from being seen by anybody anywhere else in the world. They censor the world, not just their own people now. They have learned to use our profit motive against us to censor what is seen even outside their borders. Very smart to use our money against us this way. The American film industry has sold its soul and made a deal with a devil, so to speak, all in the name of profit. And they, like the record industry, will sadly wind up bringing about their own downfall as a result of their rampant greediness. Back on the subject of the lack of content that isn't from a comic book or video game or a reboot/spin-off of an old TV show or previous movie: I find it depressing that they'll apparently have to wind up suffering for it in the end once they have finished killing off the golden goose with infinite repetition, going back to the same well over and over until the well is long dry--and will need to finally hit absolute rock-bottom before at last beginning to learn any lesson whatsoever from it. I sure wish they could learn the lesson sooner and more easily, but greed takes a lot of persuasion to see the error if its ways--and it unfortunately never learns any such lessons for very long before forgetting them and repeating them all over again.

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There once was a time when we would go out to the movies, galleries, or stage shows to be entertained. We launched ourselves into another world, removed from our day to day stresses, etc. Today the entertainment industry offers us lessons on how we should think and conduct our lives according to their doctrines. No thank you...

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I watched way too much Batman growing up, and that scene with Batman running around with the bomb is probably the greatest most hilarious Batman scene ever.

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One thing that amazes me is Disney's attempts to make Brie Larson a superstar. I see her everywhere, in TV ads, on chat shows, etc. GIVE IT UP. She's a moderately-attractive woman with less-than-optimal acting skills. She's never going to be Cate Blanchette.

Speaking of seeing a movie in a theater vs seeing it on streaming - recently I took a flight from Hong Kong to JFK and was happy to see "Tár" among the choices for the screen on the back of the seat in front of me. Happy because it lasted approximately five minutes in the local theaters. All I can say is "wow" because a well-made movie with a talented cast will be marvelous no matter the size of the screen.

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"That’s what saturating the market does to you." A bit off-topic but that is what happened with disco in the late 70's. The currently popular notion that the backlash was nothing more than racism is a very incomplete picture. It had become formularized and omnipresent. I myself went from enjoying disco to being like "Dear God, if I hear that Donna Summers song one more time, I'm going to slit my wrists!" At some point, almost everything on the radio sounded like a variation of The Love Boat theme.

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I would rather watch "Midnight Cowboy" for the fourth time rather than most of the movies that have come out in the last few years. Last week we watched "Wonder Wheel", a Woody Allen Amazon production. It was underwhelming at best.

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God I certainly hope you're right. Movie theater marquees are genuinely depressing these days and have been for a long time. The A24 films have been a breath of fresh air though and by their success perhaps indicate the direction other studios will have to take.

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The argument that Disney's too woke is almost too silly to argue against, but let's do it anyway. For the folks arguing that people don't want representation in their movies, I direct you to Moana, Zootopia (animals but def about prejudice and diversity), Coco, Black Panther 1 & 2, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Huge hits, all of them. Hamilton was Disney+'s first big streaming hit, too. More importantly, they are all well-written, well-casted, visually engaging productions.

Clearly, judging from the comments, there are some people who are going to stay away from movies because they are afraid that non-white lead characters are going to hurt them somehow. But the great majority of folks are more mature than that, and will respond to quality filmmaking.

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Looks like the Disney monopoly is struggling! They’re probably the worst rent-seeking company in existence (other than fossil fuels companies) and this death-rattling is most welcome

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Avengers: End Game should have been the end for Marvel -- they successfully completed a decade-long story in a satisfying way. After that, they should have taken some time off before deciding to move forward without their most popular characters. Guardians of the Galaxy's success convinced them that third-string properties like Shang-Chi and the Eternals could keep the MCU afloat in the absence of Captain America and Iron Man. The problem was those films didn't have a talent on the level of James Gunn at the helm and audiences were feeling burned out. Flooding the market with questionable streaming television shows didn't help, either. Releasing only Deadpool in 2024 is a good move, but it may not save the MCU.

No one wanted a new Indiana Jones film, especially without its original creators involved. With an 80 year-old Harrison Ford in the lead role, they had to film a lot of the movie in front of green screen and on sound stages. It lacked the spectacle of its predecessors -- I was thinking in the theatre that it looked like a streaming film and not a big-budget entry in a storied franchise. The car chase sequence was especially terrible. Not to mention how the film went out of its way to essentially invalidate Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Some vocal fans may have hated it, but it felt much more like an Indiana Jones picture than Dial of Destiny (a name I totally forgot and had to look up, despite having seen the film in the theatre a few months ago).

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