Monday, April 10, 2006

Robert Evans - The Kid Stays in the Picture

I watched Robert Evans biography "The kids stay in the picture". I watched the film around 1 am this morning and even though the film was mainly made up of still photographs it kept me solidly awake.

A quick bio on Robert Evans is
Robert Evans born (Robert J. Shapera June 29, 1930 in New York, New York) is best known as the producer of the films Rosemary's Baby, Love Story, The Godfather and Chinatown. He grew up on New York City's Upper West Side during the 1930s, He was spotted by actress Norma Shearer at The Beverly Hills Hotel in the mid-1950's; she successfully touted him for the role of Irving Thalberg in Man of a Thousand Faces (1957). The same year, Evans also caught the eye of Darryl F. Zanuck, who cast him as a bullfighter in a film adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises (1957).

Evans career as an actor was short lived. Rather than continue working in front of the camera, he focused his talents behind the scenes. Evans was determined to become a successful producer. He was hired by Charles Bluhdorn, head of the Gulf + Western conglomerate, as part of a shakeup at Paramount Pictures. At the time Paramount was the ninth largest studio in Hollywood. Under Evans' direction as Head of Production and with the success of his films Rosemary's Baby (1968), Love Story (1970), The Godfather (1972) and Chinatown (1974) and also the flops The Cotton Club, Popeye and Paint Your Wagon.

The most interesting comments from the film were
  • In the making of Godfather he threatened to sack coppola four times
  • Francis Ford Coppola original take on godfather was mafia families to be an analogy of big corporations in the US
  • Evans and his friends didnt understand the script of Chinatown and it ended up winning a acadamy award for best motion picture and beating Godfather 2.
  • He was a big factor in increasing Paramount studios rank from ninth to 1st
  • On Evans behalf Jack Nickelson pleaded to the owner of his house to allow him to buy it back
  • Busted for Cocaine use and was broiled in an assasination case
  • Before the film love story and Godfather came out he was about to be sacked by the paramount board. To save his job he got a director to film his sales pitch to stay on.

The film got me thinking on where are all the good films, like I usually get around four dvds a week but am lucky if I watch two of those DVD's. So to prove my point I was checking what were the top grossing films for 2005 which were

Movie Title Studio
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith Fox
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe BV
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire WB
War of the Worlds Par.
King Kong Uni.
Wedding Crashers NL
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory WB
Batman Begins WB
Madagascar DW
Mr. & Mrs. Smith Fox
Hitch Sony
The Longest Yard Par.
Fantastic Four Fox
Chicken Little BV
Robots Fox
Walk the Line Fox
The Pacifier BV
Fun with Dick and Jane Sony
The 40-Year-Old Virgin Uni.
Flightplan BV

I have watched nearly all the above films and the majority of films was worth the invested time, interesting that it seems Fox seems to be the best performing studio. I thought New Line would be actually doing better but they must have just lucked out with Lord of the Rings.

So if its not the quality of the films then what could be the reason of not watching many films. I personally think the following factors will have more of a negative impact of film patronage in the future.

  1. Video games are now more realistic so the punters would rather be part of the action then watching it.
  2. Internet usage taking up punters time eg blogging, surfing and communicating
  3. More access to reality shows especially sports,
  4. Fresh concepts in movies as punter have more access to films it usually the younger generation that will see the new movies as fresh
  5. Internet/SMS communication so punter will know after the first few days if the reviews are good or bad. Good films will still be attended but the bad ones will lose a significant amount compared to previous years.
  6. Tivo type of applications and which eats up into leisure time
  7. Amount of leisure time is reducing as punters have to work longer hours.

After reading the above its now not suprising to me that the majority of films are aimed at young generation. As they have more free time and films will we seem fresher then the older generations.


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