Thursday, July 21, 2011

Jeff Katzenberg says today's movies suck

If you think the current crop of summer releases are bad….

You’re not alone. No less than Jeffrey Katzenberg agrees with you. Katzenberg, former head of Touchstone, Dreamworks, and currently grand poo-bah of Dreamworks Animation in a recent interview for Fortune magazine in front of a Brainstorm Tech audience bitched about all the subpar 3-D entries and blamed it on "a singular and unique characteristic that only exists in Hollywood, greed."


Okay, so lowered interest in 3-D movies hurts Dreamworks Animation, which is making all of its features in 3-D, but why quibble? (If we’re going to be real picky we might suggest that greed also exists on Wall Street but that’s getting off the subject.)

Jeff was just getting started.

Katzenberg asked for a show of hands of audience members who "would say the last seven or eight months of movies is the worst lineup of movies you've experienced in the last five years of your life." Tons of hands shot up. Mr. K. agreed. "They suck. It's unbelievable how bad movies have been ... right now today it's a particularly dreary moment."

And that’s before THE CHANGE-UP has even come out!

I can’t say that I disagree. This has definitely been a summer of bad sequels, bad teachers, and bad bosses. Even Pixar had a misfire. Every comic book hero other than Little Lulu has been brought to life. We were even subjected to another Jim Carrey movie. Star power has meant nothing. Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Will Ferrell, and even fan-favorite Mel Gibson couldn’t open a film.

Lots of people grouse about the state of today’s movies (when they’re not grousing about the movie experience – talking, texting, ticket prices, teenagers). But what’s significant here is that it’s Jeffrey Katzenberg, one of Hollywood’s OWN. Not just some disgruntled blogger idiot but a legitimate power player. He has to bump into the studio heads who greenlit these cow pies at Spagos, screenings, and ski slopes. He travels in the same circles as the creative community he just crushed. I applaud his candor. These were statements made not without risk. Labor Day weekend with the Hanks in the Hamptons might be in jeopardy.

Will his words have any effect? Of course not. If he was right about the movies sucking he was even more right that the industry is run on greed. I’m sure next summer there will be BRIDESMAIDS 2, TRANSFORMERS 4, and if we’re real lucky – ZOOKEEPER 2. Even Terrence Malick’s TREE OF LIFE 2 is on the fast-track to be released summer 2024.

But he said it. He didn’t blame the recession, Netflix, Carmageddon, Global Warming, the Tea Party, Ohio State football, or iPads. Today’s movies are bad this summer. And if nothing else, it will be a topic at Mastro’s. At least until someone brings up HARRY POTTER and how much money it’s making and everyone will feel good about themselves again.

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