5 Top Studio Execs on Big Challenges, Oscar Dreams
10:02 AM PST 12/19/2013 by kjames
Fox's Jim Gianopulos, Universal's Donna Langley, Disney's Alan Horn, Paramount's Rob Moore and Sony Pictures Classics' Tom Bernard on pricey "World War Z" reshoots, "50 Shades" and why their companies will thrive in the decade to come.
Says Langley: "We never set out to make an Oscar film. If something comes along that feels like it could have a shot, then we certainly look for a way to make it part of our portfolio." Fom left: Langley, Horn, Moore, Bernard and Gianopulos were photographed Nov. 22 at Crustacean in Beverly Hills.
"For the most part, I think franchises have been growing," says Universal's Langley. "But this year, we've certainly seen a couple that didn't work. It points to quality."
Fox's Gianopulos on the challenges of the industry: "The challenge of marketing in an increasingly fragmented media environment is more difficult than ever. The hope is, once a movie is launched into the market, people will talk about it and embrace it. But that's the challenge."
"There are a lot of times when you have a movie that doesn't work, and it may be unfixable," says Paramount's Moore on World War Z. "There are times where, however it happened, the characters didn't work or there was no chemistry of your cast. And that's nothing you can go back and reshoot. Here, you've got a movie where you could see where the audience got disconnected from where the story had been and what the filmmakers were looking for. It's rare that you're reinvesting $20 million in a movie that you've already shot."
"I believe prospective members of the audience ask themselves, 'Do I have to see it now, and do I have to see it on the big screen?' And if the answer to both of those is no, I think we have a problem," says Disney's AlanHorn.
"These are not movie companies anymore. They are entertainment companies," says Bernard of Sony Pictures Classics. "What's under that umbrella is diverse and it's changing every day."
Horn, Langley and Bernard
"We're not looking at Fifty Shades of Grey as something that women will have a hard time getting themselves into the theater for. I think they're going to go in groups to protect themselves," says Langley (center).
"It's always highly prestigious and exciting to have a picture as an Oscar contender," says Horn (center). "But when you think about what it really means, think about Hurt Locker beating Avatar [in 2010] -- it's almost like having a best animal contest where a giraffe wins over a water buffalo. What do they really have to do with one another? Nothing."
Horn on if the major studios will exist in a decade: "I would argue that the major studios will absolutely be here because the growth and change in our business has really been international. In fact, it gives the major studios a competitive advantage. It's hard to make movies with that kind of size. And the audiences have come to expect special effects that are perfect. Everyone's raving about China right now. There are 1.3 billion people [in China] but only 13,000 screens. They're building 10 a day."