For a guy who has made millions upon millions of dollars thanks to the support of Hollywood studios, the constant axe George Lucas has to grind with the system is a bit baffling. Last year, he and pal Steven Spielberg warned that an “implosion” was on the horizon, and raised concerned that their epics “Lincoln” and “Red Tails” had trouble getting made on the studio dime. Meanwhile, Lucas has also warned film students about being lured by the magic and endless possibilities of digital technology, while urging them to stay focused on “the art of the movies.” And according to Lucas—the guy who found homes and financing for mega-franchises “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” at 20th Century Fox and Paramount—the big studios are basically the worst.
“…the problem has always been the studios,” Lucas told Charlie Rose on “CBS This Morning.” “Although the beginning of the studios, the entrepreneurs who ran the studios were sort of creative guys. They would just take books and turn them into movies and do things like that. Suddenly all these corporations were coming in. They didn’t know anything about the movie business.”
“The studios went back to saying, ‘Well we don’t trust you people and we think we know how to make movies,’” Lucas continued. “The studios change everything all the time. And, unfortunately, they don’t have any imagination and they don’t have any talent.”
While he did acknowledge that there are filmmakers working today who do get creative latitude in the studio realm, and that he owes his own career to an executive who decided to take a risk on him, Lucas’ view of the system lacks self-awareness. “Star Wars” and “Jaws” are the reason studios turned their attention away from more creative projects and towards blockbuster tentpoles. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just how business changed. Even Lucas previously acknowledged that television is going to be the avenue for non-blockbuster fare, and again, that’s not an unwelcome development. The priorities of the studios have changed, and it will remain that way until audience tastes change, and it makes more profitable sense to shift gears.
With such a diversity of programming and avenues to find fascinating, fulfilling artistry, putting studios in the crosshairs is a bit too simplistic at this point. They’ve made their position clear about the kind of movies they want to make (and audiences have voted about the kinds of movies they like to see), so writers and directors need to find alternate venues where more daring work can be made. And the good news is, with cable television and streaming services flourishing and seeking more content, the opportunities are there. [via The Wrap]