Minutes of Y’s Men Meeting of February 23, 2017

Susan Granger

The movie business continues to change.  Last year there were 11.37 billion dollars of tickets sold, a record.  But attendance was flat, the increase was all due to higher prices.  And in the background you have Chinese movie companies coming up.  They are taking over small movie companies over here and look to be a real factor in the future.  Yet, the biggest threat to the movie theater business is Silicon Valley.  People like movies on demand and companies like Amazon and Netflix are paying actors, directors and other movie talent some of the highest salaries in the business.  Consequently, they are sucking up the best talent and this is likely to continue.

Hollywood has been getting more political with increasing numbers of actors making politically charged statements.  However, time has shown that such statements have little impact and tend to have minimal if any effect

Another development adverse to the theater business is the enormous amount of illegal film copying.  Within days of a new film being released or sometimes even before it is released, copies become available.  This means that a production company can’t wait before it releases a film to television or put it on CDs because it will already be out there cutting into the potential market.  The pressure is to release new films through a streaming network so it is available at home immediately.

An additional development is the improvement of graphics.  In five years you won’t be able to tell the difference between a computer generated image and real actors.

A trend for new movies is to tell stories of real people rather than a fictional narrative.  This is especially true for stories about African-American women; a great departure from the movies about straight white males, which was the old standard.

In the near future you will get movies on demand that will be able to be shown on all the walls of a room and be viewed by your guests wherever they are physically located.

For the Oscars this year we will see the result of having 683 new Academy members and having vastly more black actors nominated. 

Some of my picks are as follows:

Best Picture — La La Land

Best Actress — Emma Stone

Best Actor — Denzel Washington

Best Supporting Actress — Viola Davis

Best Supporting Actor — Mahershala Ali

Best Animated — Zootopia

Best Foreign Film — The Salesman

Q & A

Q.  How do you become an Academy member and can they all vote in every category?

A.  New members have to work in their profession for a number of years, be proposed by existing members with letters of recommendation and have a body of work deemed worthy of admission.  Each category of members such as actors, directors, screen writers, etc., makes the nominations for their category, but then all members get to vote on every category.

Q.  Will the politicizing ever be eliminated?

A.  Maybe when things calm down, but not this year.  There are people trying to get it eliminated.

Q.  What is the future of the movie theater business?

A.  Very high-end theaters in large cities will do okay, but they are too expensive for smaller towns.  Food is where the money is for theaters and they may have to offer better food to survive.

Q.  Can you comment on documentaries?

A.  I don’t like where documentaries are going.  For instance this year OJ was shown in LA and NYC for one week.  It then went to television.  Yet, it will probably win the category even though I don’t think it qualifies as a movie.

Q.  Is digitization recognized as a large factor?

A.  Very much so.  Movies aren’t changing, but their method of delivery is.