How Failure Directly Correlates to Creativity in Hollywood

PRELUDE: This week I read some articles on innovation and failure for Public Relations Management course. We write a discussion every week and I figured that some of my readers might be interested in what I had to say.


Over the past few years more and more movie reviewers and audience have cried “creativity and originality has died, Hollywood is an ever repeating Mistress of remakes, sequels, and adaptations.”  And these frivolous cries may appear true during some portions of the different movie seasons. I recall the first time a friend said the Hollywood’s creative well had run dry. I was 15 and we were going to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which some thought was a remake to the 34 year old Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. (In actuality the screenwriter whom was asked to write Tim Burton’s take on the Chocolate Factory had never seen the 1971 version. So it is easy to now claim it is not a remake, but was based off of the 1964 book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Both movies are.)

Gene Wilder as Willy WonkaJohnny Depp as Willy Wonka

The reason I bring up this lengthy story is because I believe that Hollywood is a very susceptible lady to failure. If a movie flops in the box office, many people are affected by it, not just the actors but also the directors and the screen writers, yet who is then to blame for the failure? The studios are the ones that green-lit the movie and now they are not only the biggest one to blame but they are the ones left to clean up the mess. Hollywood is so afraid of this ominous feat called failure that they refuse to be creative. This is why they keep on this recycled path of the same characters, plots, settings, and formulas.  When it comes to the movie industry, creativity is directly linked to failure. How will the studios ever let something new and creative come out if failure is directly linked to their wallets, and then they are also the ones to blame?

Poster of Seven Psychopaths

Photo credit: IMDb

A recent and completely original film (not an adaptation of anything) which I just viewed on blu-ray was Seven Psychopaths. This was a film that I wanted to see in theaters but was not able to. Seems as though this was the fallout for many people with my similar taste in movies because it made a little more than $15 million dollars domestically. Which is also the amount spent on making the film. In most standards this would be considered a flop in the movie world. If your movie doesn’t make more than what it was worth to produce, the movie may be considered a lesser form of film and has failed at returning the original investment (ROI/Return of Investment). In all fairness, Seven Psychopaths went on to make $19 million worldwide. But the studio that produced it was BFI, a British studio, so Hollywood didn’t even make this one. But God honest truth, it was the most fun I have had watching a movie in years. This film could find a cult following who would think that it is the best damn thing out there, yet would this movie be considered a failure with only a return of $4 million dollars?

I bet Hollywood would think this was a failure, yet the audience and critics loved it! It received an 82% on rotten tomatoes. So I believe that Hollywood needs to revamp their thinking of what they produce. Seven Psychopaths was originally released in only selected theaters around America. Maybe if it was promoted more, and released in more places this movie would had been considered a success. Having foreign films cross the lake can be a difficult feat sometimes, even if it is from our language brethern in the United Kingdom. I think that if there was more build up and hype to the premiere of the movie Seven Psychopaths and if more theaters released it in the beginning the film could have done much better.

October may have not been the best time to release this movie either. If it were released near the end of the summer binge in either late August or early September more people would have seen it. I know I would have saw it in theaters if it were released then, because by the time October came around I was too busy with school and was overwhelmed by how many movies I wanted to see. October is prime time for horror movies and their passionate fans, and there had been a new movie coming out every weekend in America at that time. And if Seven Psychopaths which isn’t a horror film but actually a comedy, crime movie  was released during the month of horror, of course the film was going to be white noise! In a field of blood, guts, horror, and thrillers a smart, clever, and inventive film is going to go by the way side.

If Seven Psychopaths had a better approach to coming to America, maybe had a PR film consultant, it could have reaped the benefits. If Hollywood or a Hollywood insider would have maybe collaborated with this film on how to come to America, maybe Hollywood could have realized how important creativity can be and that it can be successful. Hollywood needs to find a way to pitch stories and plots to the public before dumping the new creative idea in the failure bin.

As much as I am for recycling and keeping the earth clean, when it comes to movies and Hollywood, I would prefer my Mistress to use  this tactic a bit less often than what she is doing now.


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