Occupy Los Angeles, Continued: Let’s Occupy Hollywood Next


We have joined in solidarity outside the main gates of every Hollywood studio to express our disdain for the content of modern movies. We issue this declaration so all the executives and stockholders behind bad film-industry decisions know who we are and where we stand. The people united will never be divided!

We hold the following beliefs: that the people who run Hollywood require a major attitude adjustment so more worthwhile movies get made; that years of homogenized flicks have bludgeoned audiences into believing they have no choice but to patronize remakes and sequels; and that studios’ out-of-control greed has turned the annual film-release schedule into a nine-month death march of dumb mass-market spectacles leavened only slightly by a three-month reprieve of intelligent movies around awards season.

We have peaceably assembled here, substituting only on popcorn and Junior Mints, to make several facts known.

* Studios have determined that the only movies worth making are those that perform well internationally by drawing the broadest possible audiences. As a result, studios have reduced their development processes to merely identifying the least common denominator. To put it succinctly, we protest The Smurfs. And while we’re on the subject, there’s another Alvin and the Chipmunks sequel coming out this Christmas? And it’s called Chipwrecked? Seriously? Enough with the CGI critters!

* Studios have determined that every superhero character ever published should receive at least one movie adaptation, if not five bajillion adaptations counting sequels and prequels and reboots. So it’s not like we only protest Green Lantern, since we made our point by avoiding the movie over the summer. We protest the fact that yet another Superman reboot is being made, even though the last one was a disappointment, and we protest the fact that Warner Bros. still wants to make a Wonder Woman movie, even though the Wonder Woman TV show Warner Bros. made earlier this year was so bad it wasn’t even broadcast. Enough with the tights!

* Studios have determined that every successful movie should be followed by a bludgeoning number of sequels. Full disclosure, we share some of the blame. Somebody bought enough tickets for the first four Fast and Furious movies that Universal felt comfortable greenlighting Fast Five, and then the law of averages kicked in, making Fast Five the ginormous success the studio had been expecting since the franchise launched. Okay, our bad, but still: Enough with the sequels!

* Studios have apparently determined that every movie ever made should be remade simply because the established brand identification represents a safer bet compared to the risk associated with introducing a new product to the marketplace. Well, get a clue, people! Of the top 25 movies of 2011 so far, according to Box Office Mojo, only one is a remake: Rise of the Planet of the Apes. And that remake was quasi-justified because advances in motion-capture effects allowed the filmmakers to populate the film entirely with CGI creatures, rather than using actors in ape suits or real animals. Nonetheless, one out of 25 is not a great precedent, so ease up on pillaging the back catalogue. Enough with the remakes!

* Studios have determined that actors who succeed at the box office deserve the rewards of outrageous paychecks, to the tune of $25 million or even $30 million per picture. We are the 99 percent, and we say no more! To keep budgets down and to allow studios to spread the wealth by making more movies with greater variety, we demand that actor salaries (plus paychecks for major behind-the-scenes participants like directors and producers) get brought back down to earth. If the reason stars get paid millions of dollars is because they draw audiences, then give them profit percentages instead of upfront salaries. The money a studio loses by overpaying a star for a flop is money that doesn’t get spent on mid-budget movies for grown-ups. Enough with the offensive movie-star salaries!

We have other demands that deserve to be heard, like our request that movie credits not feature dozens of producers, because, quite frankly, it doesn’t take 18 people to produce a movie. We also want studios to accept some uncomfortable truths, like the fact that Taylor Lautner ain’t happening. However, we have occupied studio property with a mission, which ensuring that our major demands get addressed.

So, until studios stop pummeling the public with the same dumb movies month after month, and until studios cease practicing Wall Street-style economics that make creative risks impossible, executives are going to hear our battle cry: Hell no, we won’t go! Except, you know, when The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo opens, because that thing looks totally creepy. But after we catch the first matinee, we’re gonna be back with a vengeance!

(With apologies, and heartfelt support, to the demonstrators at Occupy Los Angeles, and their brothers and sisters throughout the Occupy movement.)

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