8 Reasons Hollywood Is Stressed Out Right Now

6:00 AM 7/18/2018

by Paul Bond , Kevin Cassidy , Stephen Galloway, Lesley Goldberg, Kim Masters , Pamela McClintock, and Lacey Rose

It's not just mass consolidation and downsizing that should worry you — think about shrinking TV seasons, disappearing backend and what Harvey Weinstein knows.

Illustrations by Jason Ford

  • If Murdoch Is Selling, Something Must Be Wrong

    Maybe Rupert put Fox on the auction block because its stock was stagnant for the past three years. Or maybe he doesn't have faith in sons Lachlan or James and saw what happened to Sumner Redstone's company without a solid succession plan. Or maybe — just maybe — the savvy 87-year-old sees a Hollywood apocalypse on the horizon.

  • We're in a Content Bubble (And Bubbles Eventually Pop)

    Scripted originals are expected to grow to as many as 520 shows this year, according to a recent FX study. That's on top of 7 percent growth in 2017, 8 percent in 2016 and 9 percent in 2015. In other words, Hollywood is in a content bubble, fueled in large part by Netflix and other streamers. But as anyone who ever invested in tech or tulips knows, bubbles burst. And Netflix just missed its quarterly growth targets.

  • Where Are the Other Four Studios?

    The divide at the U.S. box office between the haves and have-nots is getting worse for the six majors. As of July 8, Disney commanded an unprecedented 44 percent of summer domestic market share, followed by Universal with 17 percent, for a combined 61 percent. In years past, no studio had earned more than 20 percent of market share during any given season.

  • Comedy Is Dead (Or At Least Not Looking So Funny)

    Nobody's laughing in the film comedy biz right now. Although it's doing fine on TV, on the big screen the genre has been slumping for more than two years, with this year's top grosser, Game Night, earning a depressing $69 million. Compare that to a decade ago, when The Hangover pulled in $277 million in U.S. box office.

  • The Incredible Shrinking TV Season

    Actors and writers used to land cushy 22-episode jobs that could carry them through a whole year. Even in broadcast TV, that's becoming increasingly rare. Shorter episode orders — along with uncertainty about what defines a hit in the new streaming world order — means job security is down to only about, say, 10 episodes. But studios often hold casts for a full year.

  • Where Did My Backend Go?

    Sure, Netflix offers lofty budgets and fewer notes, but creators can't expect to get Friends-style rich off their streaming hits. After all, Netflix is dead set on locking up the rights to each of its projects in all territories, which leaves no opening for creators to rake in the tens of millions in backend that historically came with series success.

  • Chinese Money Won't Save You Now

    Just a couple of years ago, it seemed like some new China-Hollywood blockbuster deal was getting announced every week, while Wanda Group CEO Wang Jianlin was kicking tires on the studios he was hinting he wanted to buy. Those days are over. In 2017, Chinese regulators started cracking down on outside investment, sending Chinese capital flow into Hollywood plunging 90 percent.

  • Harvey Probably Will Name Names

    Weinstein's lawyer says his client plans on pleading not guilty to all charges, which should send shivers down a lot of industry spines. Even if Weinstein doesn't take the stand himself, he's sure to call witnesses — including some of the hundreds of bystanders and enablers who stood by and said nothing while the disgraced mogul (allegedly) harassed and assaulted scores of women. Weinstein's argument is likely to be, "That's just the way showbiz works," and in making it he could drag down a lot of people with him.

    This story first appeared in the July 18 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.