“Ultimately, storytelling saves the day,” says Brandon Gray, creator and president of Box Office Mojo. “The real issue is that Hollywood doesn’t pay attention to the product. They’re not giving it the respect they deserve.”
That lets others step up to tell stories the way they want to tell them – especially in our pervasive share all, tell all society. Thanks to YouTube, near-professional quality shooting and editing technology is found on even the smallest handheld device, while a collective urge by Joe and Jane Consumer to document their passions, political views and personal triumphs means anyone can be a documentary-maker.
“Technology is a great thing and it’s opened up movie-making,” says Gray. “It’s not a challenge to Hollywood mainstream. It just gives people choices.”
While documentaries may not be money-makers enough to cut into ticket sales (Hollywood seems to be taking care of that itself), they are offering movie fans more options. But like so many industries before it who responded slowly to the tide of shifting consumer sentiment (the record industry, advertising and even soft drinks), Hollywood seems bent on sticking to the money-making formula based on franchises rather than getting back to the art of storytelling. “The box office is going to go up wildly this weekend because of Hangover 2 and Kung Fu Panda 2,” says Mangan. “Of all the big movies this year, seven will be sequels.”
(For more on The Hangover 2 and Kung Fu Panda 2, don’t miss Abe Sauer’s Brandcameo look at product placement and branding in both sequels.)