This innocuously titled Variety report from last week’s Siggraph conference has slipped under the radar for about nine days now, though that seems likely to change now that the Internet has finally taken notice of comments made by Disney’s chief technical officer Andy Hendrickson, who used his presentation to make explicit the heretofore-unspoken yet oft-assumed machinations behind the film industry’s creative strategies. In the course of his “Econ 101” presentation on how the movie business can combat ticket prices, Hendrickson argued that the studios need to focus almost exclusively on the sort of “tentpole” films that can attract as broad an audience as possible—the sort of film, in other words, that succeeds almost exclusively thanks to brand recognition or CGI gimmickry. “People say 'It's all about the story,'” Hendrickson said. “When you're making tentpole films, bullshit.” Finally, someone says what we’re all thinking about these crass tentpole films, except that it’s the person making them.
Hendrickson then provided a chart of the top 12 highest-grossing films of all time, singling out his studio’s own Alice In Wonderland: “The story isn't very good, but visual spectacle brought people in droves,” he said, adding, “And Johnny Depp didn't hurt." One would presume that, after the presentation was over, “Andy Hendrickson” disappeared into whatever ether he came from before some satirical showbiz blogger dreamed him up to make their heavy-handed point. But no, he is a real guy, apparently. Anyway, his honesty would likely be more surprising if everyone didn’t already assume that studios think exactly like this. [via Vulture]
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