Now, the 100-plus-year-old experiment with industrial entertainment known as The Movies enters its dark valley. Thanks to a diabolical concatenation of misguided decisions and fate, we enter into a man-made wasteland. The list of villains has been amply recited — short-sighted theater owners, Wall Street, the streamers, which often seemed to regard legacy theatrical as an annoying elderly relative to be humored; the strikes, and the studios’ half-year failure to end them; consolidation; and let us not forget the pandemic and a total shutdown in production and exhibition.
It’s quite a list and it’s amazing we’re still alive to talk about it. A mixture of bad planning and bad luck. At the center of the challenges ahead: Fighting our way out of the consequences of very poor decision-making and leadership.
Somewhere around the time the Streaming Wars took hold, Hollywood’s great studios stopped seeing themselves as entertainers and started seeing themselves as cogs in some gigantic financial mechanism.