好萊塢已處在崩潰的邊緣。美國的電影業受到來自各方面的困擾: 擔心業內作家的全面罷工; 面臨一系列劇院的連鎖破產; 承擔合伙人不合理的利潤要求; 無法不斷地制作有創意的片子。毫無疑問好萊塢能度過這場危機, 但是多數的業內人士認為這得花幾年時間,因為電影業的兩端——制作和放映都存在弊病。
159好萊塢吹噓它的票房收入連續九年增長, 但這主要是因為票價上漲了, 實際的售票量已經連續兩年下降。五年來的建設熱潮增加了1 萬多個電影院, 20多萬個座位。由于觀眾基數未變, 導致8個連鎖影院破產, 另外幾家則陷入經濟危機。
業內人士說, 事實上好萊塢電影業是欲罷不能。20世紀福克斯公司的前首席執行官比爾說:“ 電影業內有一個通病, 那些拍片最多的公司, 對自己的片子最沒興趣。”他還說:“ 現在我們的電影制作規模越來越大, 成本越來越高, 卻越來越沒意思, 也很少給觀眾滿足感。”
現在的電影制片廠要承受投資人要求擴大利潤空間的壓力, 但是像電影這種購買率難以預測的行業, 是很難控制利潤的。別的行業可以通過購買便宜的材料、縮減原料消耗來降低成本增加利潤, 但是這在好萊塢行不通。
一家大制片廠不愿透露姓名的主管說:“ 我們在規避風險, 但是要制作大片子往往要擔風險。”
制片廠都避開有風險的電影構思, 而家庭娛樂業的對手則在極盡能事地擴張他們的領域。來自電子游戲、互聯網和EVD 等方面的壓力, 迫使連鎖電影院走上自我毀滅的擴張之路。
在90年代末借貸容易的泡沫經濟大潮中, 連鎖影院瘋狂競賽, 在各個街區建設最大的電影院, 結果債臺高筑。五年間, 美國的電影屏幕從27 000個增加到了37000個。
Hollywood Has Disquiet On The Set
Hollywood is on the edge of a nervous breakdown1. Worried about an industry wide writers strike, struck by a series of theater-chain bankruptcies, burdened with unreasonable corporate profit, requirements and seemingly incapable of producing consistently2 creative movies, the American film industry is in an intensive period of soul-searching. There's little doubt it will survive this crisis. But most insiders agree there is disease at both ends of the business —where films are conceived, and where they're shown — that may take years to overcome.
While boasting annual box-office revenue increases for nine straight years, largely due to increased ticket prices, the number of actual tickets sold has declined for the second year in a row. The construction boom has added nearly 10, 000 theaters ( more than 200, 000 more seats) in the last five years. But due to a static audience base, eight major chains have gone into bankruptcy and several others are in dreadful financial straits.
In effect, insiders say, Hollywood is now in a business it does not want to be in. "There's general problem in that the companies that have the most consistent output of material are least interested in what they're making, "says former 20 th Century Fox CEO3 Bill. And, Bill adds,"We're in a period where movies are getting bigger and more costly and less interesting and fulfilling to an audience. "
Today the studios are under the stress to increase profit margins for their corporate parents, and profit margins are hard to control in a business whose products are seen as impulse buys. Other business can increase profits by cutting costs — buying cheaper material, or making the candy bar smaller4 . Not Hollywood.
"What we're cutting is risk, "says the head of one major studio, who asked not to be named,"And risk is what great film has always demanded. " While the studios are avoiding risky concepts, their rivals in the home entertainment business have been furiously expanding the boundaries of the imagination. It was this pressure — in electronic games, the Internet, EVDs — that forced the movie theater chains into a self-destructive frenzy of expansion.
Seduced by easy access to loans during the go-go5 economy of the mid to late 1990s, the chains plunged into debt in a feverish effort to be first on the block with the biggest 158 theatres. In five years, the number of U. S. screens expanded from 27, 000 to more than 37, 000 .
" It's going to take three or four years for the complete recovery of the business, "says Kurt Hall, president of the United Artists Theater Circuit."It will take that long to get the number of screens down to a healthy level. The closer we get to 30, 000 the better off we'll be. "