I've had some reactions to the Golden globes. Certainly a better turnout than last year when they had their scandals and shakeouts.
Chris Nolan of course got his best director for Oppenheimer, a movie almost tailor made for the Golden Globes as we used to know it, with it’s cachet of foreign legitimacy and artistic integrity, somehow not at tainted by the Hollywood money machine. Of course now we know differently. After all, award ceremonies are promotional events; the ultimate influencer collab, clout-sharing for eyeballs.
Nolan has made a career out of a very precise and elevated evolution of the traditional cinematic epic. All shot on film and with traditional studio lighting, it’s an anachronism these days in the time of digital production and short-form glimpses. So is Nolan’s traditionalist approach to filmmaking an anachronism?
Moviegoers lean older; while the largest demographic is the 25-39 crowd, they are closely followed by the 60 plus crowd. Under 25 is much less. Gone are the days of the teenage mall-rats that used to be the key income in boxoffice breakdowns.
But not so fast. Let’s take a closer look.
Some interesting light on this subject comes from an article by The Entertainment Strategy Guy in his article:
“the data is in: theatrical films massively outperform straight to streaming films.”
He shows through the data that even in this post-COVID reassessment, the overall success of the theatrical release is much stronger than the straight-to-streaming titles. Not just that, but the perceived quality based on customer reviews is also higher than straight-to-streaming titles.
So, contrary to the self-referential hype of the streaming producers, the theatrical release is alive and well. We may get the impression of the opposite from the fact that we are getting the bulk of our ads on our devices, which have the feature of the one-click decision taking you from ad to stream.
But I’ve always thought that the streaming world tends to standardize the catalog which tends to dilute the impact of any one title. Streamers try to counteract this by creating large banner carousels featuring certain movies, but nothing can compare to feeling of ritual grandeur of a theatrical release, with it’s theatrical trailers, billboards, Lobby displays, Opening nights and red-carpet events.
A red-carpet screening for a title destined for streaming only seems false; the ritual meaning is that one is consecrating the theater with the actual demi-gods that made the movie, so that when we mere mortals are allowed into the temple, it is permeated with the hallowed glow of the luminaries that initiated the film’s release. It is somehow rubbing shoulders with another world, the world in which the dreams are produced.
Sadly or not, that magic is not the case for “content” that is both made and distributed on a pocket device. There is no longer anything rare about the media we consume or create on our phones. It’s a window, not a theater.
Which takes me back to Oppenheimer, Barbie, and the Golden Globes, freshly resurrected, because they are necessary in the marketing season. They are the forward pass for the movies to reach for the Oscar touch-down in the fourth quarter, i.e., as Oscar Levant put it, “the real tinsel.”
Meanwhile, CBS will take over the Bellagio in Las Vegas for the super bowl again- Only fitting that the site of the biggest TV football event is not the stadium, but in the casino where bets are placed on it. Replete with spectacular fountains and monumentalist ersatz Italianate décor, Grandeur is the message of the moment, on the one event where you can count on group audiences passing the buffalo wings around the wall-mounted widescreen from the black Friday sale.
Rumor has it that tickets are between $10,250 and $36,750, so it makes sense to toss in a few extra grand in the betting lounge if you are in that deep already. Ticketmaster gets how much, half? And The Bellagio casino-owned by Blackstone, should get a nice bump out of it.
Also in the news, The Sopranos, HBO’s pioneering series is now going tiktok. It makes sense for old tv; one always remembered the classic dialog exchanges in popular cable shows, those nuggets from the the likes of the Sopranos, Sex and the City, Friends, and the like. Remember when Phoebe said ___! And then Chandler was ____! The archives of past forms gets repurposed as long as there is an audience. I have lately been getting clips from the Three Stooges. Resonant moments get repeated from the collective unconscious.