Why Does Hollywood...?

This section answers questions readers have about the way Hollywood or the entertainment industry acts and makes decisions.

Everything’s just franchises these days! Why doesn’t Hollywood do anything original anymore? - Carson M.

Last month, The Northman entered theaters with critical acclaim and solid audience satisfaction. An R-rated original tentpole film with an artistic vision pleasing everyone in theaters? Take note, Hollywood!

…They did. As of this writing, The Northman looks to lose A24 pictures $50 million. Why? They made $60 million on a $100 million budget. Film production takes an incredible amount of money from multiple investors. Weigh that investment against every type of media vying for audiences’ attention: streaming services, music subscriptions, podcast lists, etc. If a movie has a budget the size of a billionaire’s divorce settlement, they damn well better get some eyeballs.


The Northman simply didn’t get enough attention fast enough to fill seats. That film may eventually recoup its cost through word of mouth, rental, and streaming, but major studios can’t wait on that kind of return, much less center a portfolio around it. Franchises, by contrast, appeal to major distributors because they stand out in the media landscape, have a built-in fanbase, and come pre-packaged with customer loyalty.

Studios are also open to sequels of original films that do well. That’s usually why the second installment in a film series is way bigger than the original; A Quiet Place and John Wick are two recent examples of this trend. The initial film in both of those series, however, had to demonstrate a track record before getting a bigger budget.



While this explains why theaters don’t show original blockbusters, there’s a different reason why today’s theaters don’t get as many original mid-budget films: streaming services. Netflix, Hulu, and others offer a tempting “safety bid” for a film to premiere exclusively on their platforms. Unless producers and distributors are confident a theatrical release will pay higher dividends, the safety offer is too good to pass up.

This leaves low-budget films, which are usually happy just to have gotten released, and tentpole installments of the latest zeitgeist trend. So what can you do to change this? Champion quality original content when it does hit theaters—just make sure you bring enough friends.


Something Old...

Watchmen (2019)

Who watches The Watchmen? You, of course!

...Something New

Ozark (Season One) Vs. Better Call Saul (Season One)

With both of these shows airing their final seasons, it’s clear that I’ve procrastinated long enough, especially since I adored Breaking Bad—a show to which these two programs pay tribute. Oblogatory publishes weekly on Mondays at noon CST. Read it, or you’ll have to answer to the cartel! (This just in, the cartel rejected my application. Apparently, I’m not “good for their brand…”)

What the heck do I watch this weekend?

Top Gun: Maverick

This oughta take your breath away: The Top Gun sequel is currently at 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and 80/100 on Metacritic. If the Lady Gaga theme song is any indicator, Maverick will fill moviegoers’ need for speed.

Only in Theaters

Obi-Wan Kenobi

Nearly 20 years after Revenge of the Sith, Hayden Christensen returns as Lord Vader. That, along with Ewan McGregor’s welcome reprisal, makes watching this series your destiny.

Steam on Disney+

Ya Boy Kongming!

Kongming was a brilliant tactician in third-century China during the War of the Three Kingdoms. On his deathbed, he wishes to be reincarnated into a more peaceful era. He wakes up in modern-day Tokyo and decides to pursue a singing career. He’ll soon find out that the music industry is just as cutthroat as war. Good thing he remembers his old battle strategies.

Stream on HDive


If you have any recommendations for media I should cover on the blog, suggestions for improving the newsletter, or questions to be included in future editions, use the social media links below!

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