I know the purpose of making a film is to make money. Working in Hollywood is the same as having any other job; film studios are making a product and they want someone to buy it. At the same time, movies are much different than anything else. While films are commodities, they are also art forms; they are experiences that transport the viewer, engage the senses, and inspire the mind. The problem becomes one of constantly having to balance the desire to make a profit with the need to be creators. See the Pixar/Disney Cars 2 debacle for proof. The New York Times had a great article about this issue called "A Collision of Creativity and Cash" which discussed Disney's desire to create a franchise vs. Pixar's need for great story telling. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/02/business/02stewart.html.
It is so frustrating. Why does it have to be one or the other: a film that makes a ton of money or a film that tells a good story? Why do movie-goers shell out $13 to see Transformers 3 in 3D and neglect Tree of Life? I know in my case it was availability. Tree of Life, Submarine, and Beginners (all films I want to see) are playing no where near me. I also know that once I get involved with characters in a series, I want to see what happens to them; I become invested in their stories and so I go to see each sequel that comes out. And like I've stated in numerous reviews so far this summer, sometimes I do not like to think, sometimes I just want to see things explode. However, that is not all the time. I loved Midnight in Paris because it was thoughtful and beautiful and so different from everything I've seen so far this summer.
I feel that more and more directors are discouraged to put out new, original films because it is safer to make films that audiences already know. We have so few Inceptions, films that are willing to be totally original and at the same time become top box office winners. Pixar proved that one can only be successful for so long before the desire to make money outweighs that of the need to create something new. Hopefully with Brave they can get back on track.
So, what about for the rest of the film industry? It seems that for awhile at least we will be stuck in this never ending cycle of remakes and sequels. Film industries will still look for ways to make money that they know will be guaranteed successes. The thing is, we do not have to take it. Another reason why the film industry is so unique is because it relies on us, the viewers to decide what they produce. If we refuse to watch another Pirates sequel or the Spiderman reboot, they will stop making them. But that will never happen. There will always be those people who like the familiar, who like the comfortable, who go to the theater to have fun and nothing more. At the same time, there will also always be people who go to the theater for a new experience, to think, to be drawn in.
As I have said, I am conflicted because I belong to both worlds. I love films that are beautiful and thought provoking, but at the same time I am guilty of seeing all of the Pirates and Transformers that come out. I'm not saying we have to chose just one type of film to watch. What I am saying is that I wish studios could find a way to make both kinds of films more often and to trust that those are the kinds of films viewers want to see: funny, smart, and also packing some punch.