In case you had any doubt about where Hollywood suits stood on the issue of art vs. commerce, we’ll turn the microphone over to Walt Disney Animation Studios‘ chief technical officer Andy Hendrickson.
Speaking at the Siggraph conference over the weekend, Hendrickson addressed the growing concern of movie ticket sales remaining relatively stagnant for the past half-decade or so, even while studios continue to pump out product. His solution? More tentpoles. But apparently, getting a decent script in place before they spend hundreds of millions of dollars doesn’t really matter. “People say ‘It’s all about the story,'” Hendrickson said. “When you’re making tentpole films, bullshit.”
But he doesn’t stop there and points one of 2010’s worst movies and also greatest financial success — “Alice In Wonderland” (over $1 billion worldwide) — to prove his point. “The story isn’t very good, but visual spectacle brought people in droves. And Johnny Depp didn’t hurt,” he said. We guess he wasn’t in the meeting when they decided to cancel “The Lone Ranger.”
We’d love to say that he’s wrong, but sadly, Hendrickson is kind of right. With 3/4 of the year done, the top ten domestic films of so far of 2011 include: “Transformers: Dark Of The Moon,” “The Hangover Part II,” “Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” “Fast Five,” “Cars 2” and “Kung Fu Panda 2.” In fact, seven out of the top ten earning films of the year are sequels. And while Hendrickson is probably being a bit facetious when he says story doesn’t matter, he’s not entirely off base — story doesn’t matter when you’re telling the same one over and over and over again. Frankly, it’s pretty depressing, but at least someone at Disney had the stones to step up and at least admit “Alice In Wonderland” was ridiculous. [Variety via Vulture]