As much as it pains me to say this, Languatron is dead right.
One of Languatron’s central arguments is that Universal Studios has contempt for the public at large, and they refuse to give audiences what they want. Or, in his own inimitable style, he states:
To my knowledge, Universal Studios has never given a flying ant farm about anything that the public would like to see on movie or television screens.
Overlooking the bit about the ant farm, Languatron hits the nail on the head here. And the problem isn’t limited to Universal Studios, either. Hollywood defends the reprehensible rubbish they produce by appealing to free market principles. As they dump an unending stream of offensive garbage on the public, they insist they are only giving people what they want.
Yet the facts say otherwise.
The Dove Foundation, a non-profit organization from Michigan, released a study two years ago that demonstrates that G-rated movies are, on average, 11 times more profitable than their R-rated counterparts. Yet during the five-year period being studied, 53% of the films Hollywood released were R-rated. Only 4% were G-rated movies.
The principle here holds up throughout the entire rating system. PG-rated movies are significantly less profitable than G-rated films, but they are more profitable than PG-13 and R-rated movies. The PG-13 rated films are just slightly less profitable than PG-rated films, but they are, on average, three times more profitable than the R-rated films. Yet Hollywood continues to produce more R-rated movies than all of its other movies combined. Shareholders in the Hollywood studios should be going ballistic over this. I can think of no other industry that so studiously avoids making money.
So if they’re not giving the public what they want, what are the doing? They’re reinforcing their own insular view of the world and patting themselves on the back for their ingenuity. They’re not giving us anything – they’re giving themselves what they want, and they’re willing to alienate a majority of Americans to do it.
If you’ve got four hours to kill and you’ve got something you can use to prop your eyelids open, try to sit through an Academy Awards broadcast. When politics creep into an acceptance speech, as they inevitably do, when was the last time you heard someone say something consistent with conservative principles? Ask yourself this question: when was the last time you saw someone on that stage that could have possibly voted for George W. Bush? Charlton Heston hasn’t won an Oscar since “Ben-Hur,” almost fifty years ago.
Speaking of “Ben-Hur,” how likely are we to see a religious epic of that scope and power coming out of the studio system any time soon? “The Passion of the Christ” demonstrated that there is a clear hunger for religion in cinema, yet Hollywood ignores the demand and refuses to create the supply. The public wants stories that speak to their faith and reflect their values. Hollywood delivers bilge that insults tradition and mocks the sacred. They’re willing to sacrifice profitability to be provocative. And they do so at the cost of our culture – and, surprisingly, at the cost of their own bottom line.
Langy is still a jerk, though. We can all agree on that.