Anything in between (I.e. mediocre) does nothing for me, no matter how well produced or marketed it is or how many hundred millions it cost to make. It’s just gonna be a dud.
Most movies made to please the most people end up here: high budget, great looking, but mediocre, predictable and utterly boring.
To me, using ML to optimize movie audience targets sounds like something which will make a bad situation even worse.
I guess cinema as an art form is truly dead.
Edit: This news seems to confirm a claim made by screenwriter Max Landis in a RLM podcast: Hollywood used to have a recipe for making “successful” (i.e. profitable) movies, but these days none of the recipes work anymore and they are desperate, feeling blinded, and as a result being even more risk-averse in their productions.
This definitely sounds like a desperate move.
The rise of Netflix and the decline of Blockbuster has decimated the secondary market for movies, further pushing the industry towards conservatism. It's much harder to convince people to pay to see a quirky indie picture or a sleeper hit at home, so movies that don't do well in the opening weekend are pretty much a dead loss. As with Spotify and the music industry, $12/mo subscriptions can't make up for the loss of $9 cinema tickets, $4 rentals and $15 DVD sales.
Cinema isn't in a healthy place right now, much to the benefit of television - the economics for broadcast and streaming TV are much more favourable and there's an influx of talent.
Any cites for this? I am very curious to read more about this.
When a new movie comes out, I say either “that looks like it would be a good movie to watch in theatre”, or (far more often) “I think I’ll wait for that to come out on iTunes/Netflix/etc.” When I’m making that decision, the bar is high. But that’s because watching-at-home really is good enough for the vast majority of movies—it doesn’t remove anything from the experience.
I'd like to see evidence of assertions to the contrary, because to me they don't jibe with reality.
For me, seeing a movie in a theatre vs. watching at home is a bit like going to a restaurant vs. eating at home. I used to “go to restaurants” to try specific things I’d heard about, when I was single. Now, though, I mostly only go to a restaurant to go to a restaurant, because that’s a nice thing I can do with my wife. With restaurants, this is the difference between choosing by word-of-mouth (“they have great X!”) vs. choosing by reviews (“this restaurant seems like they’d have something we’d enjoy, let’s go and find out.”) Movie theatres don’t really have the same element of diversity (unless you’re going to independent cinemas), so it’s more just a choice of whether to go to “the movies” at all.
On the other hand, everything I said about restaurants applies exactly to the other kind of theatre. There’s a Shakespeare troupe here (Vancouver) that, each year, puts on three of the bard’s plays (several showings apiece.) You can certainly want to “see The Tempest”, and therefore go watch them perform it; but what I hear much more often is people wanting to “go to Bard on the Beach” (the troupe), and so then they look at what they’re putting on this year to see if it’s anything they could stand to watch. In this context, the theatre troupe is exactly like a restaurant: they want to go to it, as long as it has something they’d be okay trying.
I think you’d have to be comfortable seeing big budget mediocre films if that’s one of your hobbies. There's a ton of bad movies out at any one time. Or rather a ton of mediocre (at best) ones.
Interested in others thoughts. I think the sibling commenter may have got it right with the fact people make a conscious decision to go see a movie beforehand as an outing, rather than turn up at the cinema and see what's on.
You say this because of something 20th C Fox is doing?!
May I suggest not watching any movies from the US for a year or 2, at least. There's a whole world out there. e.g. France, Spain, Argentina, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, Korea, Brazil, Iran, India, Denmark, Norway, Mexico...
(A page on my website listing outstanding movies/series I've seen recently from each of those countries and others, I don't know a better place to point you to jump straight in: http://www.adamponting.com/movies/ )
Can I ask two things:
- Where do you get your movies?
- Do you watch a new one daily to have seen so many?
Hehe yeah, does look like a lot. But 2012-now is..~2800 days, probably there's less than 1000 movies/episodes on there, I haven't counted. Recently watching a lot of series...I like the longer form. I moved into a house in 2012 where they introduced me to torrents - before then I'd hardly seen any great movies, so that was really amazing watching all the great movies and directors I'd always heard of but never checked out. (Had only downloaded books and music before that I guess!) Used to often watch 2 or 3 movies on weekend days. Lately a couple of episodes of a series (or more if bingeing) each night, or a movie. I did put a lot of hours into researching, reading reviews, finding good things to watch, so that we didn't see many that weren't good.
Finding obscure movies online is sometimes tricky (i.e. can take hours), also tracking down good subtitles can be hard, and often have to resync/shift them and/or fix them up. Being able to adjust audio and subtitles while watching with VLC is a must. I get them from:
1. torrents. Usually only works for popular/recent/famous stuff. Sno's torrents with hardcoded English subs are great, have watched a lot of those - mostly series, some movies.
2. movie and/or series sites like primewire, the now-defunct alluc, (which was amazing, finding obscure tv series episodes is much harder now), zocine.com, megashare.bz, www1.swatchseries.to that have links to online files. These come and go over the years. Adding "watch online" to google searches finds sites that the links to movie files can extracted from, either manually from the HTML or using TubeOffline-type downloader sites.
3. video sites. Google the movie/series name - often movies/episodes are on youtube/vimeo/dailymotion, especially when I forget to look for them there! Archive.org has a lot of stuff. (e.g. recently watched White Zombie (1932), the first zombie movie, and The Best Years of our Lives from there)
Not uncommonly an obscure movie will seemingly only be online in one hard-to-find place. (e.g. The only place I could find one classic Australian movie was on someone's page on vk, russian facebook!) I have a startpage with searches each of those sites one click away, so I only have to type the name (& mostly year) once. Whenever I get something from a site I add the site to my start page to easily search it in future. Also my computer is a Mac from 2005 which doesn't make it any easier! Good luck.
I'll dive into your list over the weekend, and if I find some missing movies I enjoyed, I'll send you an email with a few suggestions for you to watch :)
I think cinema as an artform is thriving, just outside of the mainstream Hollywood, etc studios.
Studios have had a major vested interest in proclaiming their product is “Glamorous,” and “Unachievable in lessee glory.” Which in turn justifies the high budgets and higher ticket fares.
But they are a pipeline, that pump 10-300 million dollars into a project that they won’t see a return on for 3 years at the shortest; starting from the time you pay a scriptwriter following through the Opening weekend.
It’s in their best interest to tell people it is Once in a lifetime experience and then put out something that is going to me market accepted.
On the occasional times, it is TRULY once in a life time (Mad Max: Fury Road for me), it hits us in the soul, and draws us back in.
Worth it, to me.
Hopefully these big companies wasting millions on this mostly mediocre returns will find some gold for the future. Eventually it will be very useful in a more general sense, but it’s going to take time to get there.
All we can hope for now are mainly niche wins for an ever expanding set of problems. Who knows if big budget films will be one. I’m not yet convinced by this article but at least they are trying and have the R&D budgets to fail a few times.medieval
A boring movie is something that I genuinely felt wasted my time. I got nothing out of it, and I couldn't even get a lot of enjoyment out of making fun of it. The perfect example of a movie in this category is the 2009 movie "9" (sorry if that's your favorite movie).
I appreciate the sentiment but in this case, wouldn't that make boring movies bad and interesting movies good? (Assuming, of course, you don't want to be bored...)
Birdemic is a bad movie, in that none of the individual components are good and they don't complement each other well at all.
I'd argue that both are interesting
The irony of it is that if they had tried to make those moves "bad" on purpose, they wouldn't be interesting at all (at least not to me), and they would just be "bad" on every level for me.
In fact, even when there is sincerity, it's not a truly deterministic system. I think that the first Troll movie is technically objectively worse than Troll 2, but I find Troll 1 to be pretty boring, in addition to being incompetent, while Troll 2 is silly and an utter blast to watch.
Just like with music, the technical barriers to entry to make a film or a song are much lower than before, and the market is very saturated as a result. The issue is no longer "is there enough content that I would enjoy" but rather "how the heck to do I make a choice what to watch?".
Compared to other mainstream art forms, movies have a higher barrier of entry and that translates in to smaller influx of new and interesting concepts.
Which is to say, you are victim to assuming the mega complex Movie Theater, powered by the mega complex of Studios pumping out advertisements are the only option available to you.
If cinema is a desirable experience to you, seek out film colleges, independent theaters, movie rental spots, and YouTube/Vimeo/reddit. You’ll find a bunch of crap, for sure, but it will be new and interesting crap. You’ll explore your own mind trying to define why you don’t like it. Eventually you’ll see something truly moving and that will be amazing!
Or, If you justly say “I don’t have time or energy for something I’m not that passionate about,” continue to go to the AMCs. Just recognize, much like McDonald’s they (and the studios) have massive overhead and massive interest in not losing money. No one takes the person complaining that McD’s isn’t gourmet very seriously.
(The most moving zombie movie I ever saw was 15mins on YouTube and had 3 zombies in it..)
Nobody remembers the boring movies from their childhood.
We are watching a random sample of present films.
A lot of the older film noir stuff I watch is definitely filtered by time: but you can pick any random garbage from between 65 and 75 and it's likely to be decent.
No it isn't. Just make a good movie. Forrest Gump didn't need any machine learning.
The only reason someone might use this is when your strategy is "spray and pray", create crappy movies that insult everyone's intelligence and you need to figure out is it worth launching at all.
No, it just needed a massive demographic the studios could exploit the Hell out of by taking a semi-popular novel and Spielberging all over it.
You have a good point, but you used an imperfect film to demonstrate it. Forrest Gump was just about as cynical a film as you could imagine, and succeeded precisely as predicted. That kind of cynical filmmaking, explicitly targeted at demographics with earnings projections in place before casting begins, is precisely what this AI-driven concept will end up with at its worst.
A better example would be the works of the Coen brothers, or David Lynch: Even if you don't like them personally the fact remains they have an audience, and they most certainly weren't made to order based on market forecasts. They represent the auteur theory in action, being the products of distinctive creative minds who impressed their equally distinctive visions upon them.
What you call "exploiting a demographic" is more like "having a target audience instead of trying to be all things to all people". Sure, Boomers are a huge generation. But they were entering their 50's when Forrest Gump came out... and studios usually aim at 18-34 year olds because that's who spends the most time and disposable income at the movies.
What you call "Spielberging" is probably just a combination of cinematography, soundtrack, and accessibility over hipster snob appeal. In other words, good mass-market filmmaking.
Maybe this particular movie isn't your cup of tea, but there's nothing negative or cynical about this. "Cynical" would be hijacking HN threads to bring up urban walkability, UBI, random potshots at Baby Boomers, or any of the other standard hot buttons that typically guarantee upvotes and validation.
There is no "best" art (sorry, high art world), but there are absolutely choices you can make for marketing rather than artistic reasons.
I like Robert Zemeckis and Ron Howard films, but they're boring ideas, well-executed. And I have a sneaking suspicion that given their copious directorial output and uniformity of end product... some of those choices were made for monetary rather than creative reasons.
Nobody says "I want to make a mind-bending Dune film, get me Robert Zemeckis!"
That is fair. I believe it's also the case that when evaluating art, it's easy to conflate those reasons with one's own POV and demographic biases.
In other words: Forrest Gump is cynical pandering to Baby Boomers... but [this-year's-Marvel-superhero-movie] is an artistic gem, and The Dark Knight or Black Panther got robbed at the Oscars, etc.
"ars gratia artis" doesn't apply to Forrest Gump. It was manufactured out of marketing data. It was the 90s version of most recent nostalgia film "Ready Player One". I know it won a bunch of awards ( which I put no credence or value on ) but it is film saccharine. Forrest Gump is one of the forefathers of the current movie industry.
A filmmaker will flagrantly appeal to the cynicism of the producers in order to produce a film they believe in wholeheartedly. Forrest Gump is probably a great example of it.
Spielberg and Ron Howard definitely make middle-of-the-road appeal-to-everyone films.
But so did Shakespeare. Middlebrow and excellent are not mutually exclusive terms.
Oh, and Michael Bay is represented on the Wikipedia List of Film Auteurs page.
who? readers of a novel?
It was a Greatest Hits album of everything the stereotypical Boomer would consider great and memorable about their childhood and young adulthood.
Children > parents.
If you are a parent, don't you go to a child friendly restaurant that is reasonable good instead of one that is very good but not child-friendly.
Lots of "good movies" (using any definition you want) fail to find an audience. And even more mediocre movies make huge buckets of money. If your goal is to make money then just blindly making "good movies" is probably not your best strategy.
That's one of the reasons why we have so many poor movies (the other reason is that making movies is hard). If your only consideration is making money, you'll produce whatever crap is cheapest to make that still makes reliable income. This is why e.g. consumer market is full of barely-working near-disposable products which existence is a pure waste of natural resources.
Seriously. There's no rule that says that the most profitable product is also the best for the user. In fact, it's almost always the opposite, and A/B-testing things to death leads to the former type of product.
Studios want what's "proven". It's why they will gladly feed in ML data to get shitty focus group type movies. They will then pour huge amounts of money in to try and get back even more.
Box office returns dominate the return for a film, set the license price for long term post-theatrical deals, and decay with a very fast exponential from the opening weekend take. It is extremely rare in modern times for a film to turn a poor opening weekend into a high long term return. The film market simply doesn't work that way however nice it would be if it did.
I think most people can enjoy a really bad movie. Some t-and-a, explosions, a bit of CG - it's all good fun even all you can think about after the movie is how awful it was. But when really bad movies are all there is, they quickly lose their charm. Instead of being one off guilty pleasures, they become the movie industry. And that's about the point you stop watching movies at the theater.
I think this describes many people's transition away from movies. The point of this is that pumping out crap may be optimal in the short run. But in the longrun you end up with suboptimal returns, even when profit is your one and only motivation. Incidentally the same story is true and also being played out in various other industries.
Optimizing for next year's quarterlies is often not the same path to optimizing for earning the most money in the next decade.
"Good" is not a single-variable problem, you know? Sometimes you have a good script, but you don't have the perfect cast. Sometimes you have decent actors and all but almost no marketing budget so nobody hears about your movie. There's so many things that can go wrong even with the best intentions when trying to make a good movie that "just make a good movie" sounds really naive.
If it were that simple, every "good" director would make great movies one after the other. I struggle to find more than a few who could pull that off (and even then, that's highly debatable), among the the tens of thousands of directors who have been active in the past 50 years.
A drama like Shawshank Redemption (a favorite of mine) is not the type of movie I would have paid to go see multiple times in the theatre. Where as I saw The Matrix 6 times in the theatre back when it came out. Every friend who wanted to go see it I went with.
I'm professional film critic and I have a good idea of the data, because I analyze the feedback from festivals and industry experts, who decide what gets released and what not. From the Top 10 typically only 3 get selected.
The selection criteria has nothing to do with the quality of the movie and rarely the quality of the trailer, even if it's more important.
Most important are the names. Hollywood divides the Actors and Directors into A+, A, B+, B and C. Without an A name you'll have a hard time to get financing and proper distribution.
2nd most important criteria is the marketing power. How much money will be spent on marketing. If the distributor is not sure he'll try smaller tactics, like smaller releases, with the risk to earn much less. Most important is only the first weekend. Really good movies without names rarely exist, which can drive marketing by its own. Only these movies can survive a bad opening and raise slowly over the weeks to get profitable.
Hollywood knows exactly the triggers beforehand, that's why they can get away with so many formulaic and simple movies still bring profitable. There's not much need for ML, just counting the numbers and trusting the experts is enough. In this case, if a trailer works for which group is certainly helpful though. With trailers you get better feedback than from test screenings, but not much better feedback than from experts.
Exactly, just don't write bugs.
The same way Michelangelo sculpted David, he just removed the marble not part of the statue.
 - https://www.boxofficemojo.com/yearly/chart/?yr=2018&p=.htm
If by the thing you mean the 2011 film, that was a prequel. It had few redeeming qualities, but thing it did unreasonably well was faithfully reproduce specific elements that were shown to have occurred previously in the first film.
(And iirc it tanked.)
Like with every product that people refuse to go without no matter the quality.
Yes, I like photos of food, but I can also enjoy other types of photos and until I don't start searching for them, Instagram (or whatever service) doesn't list them. What a great AI!
This is like that article that talked about increasing extremist political videos being recommended depending on your views habits (Youtube).
I understand, no data can create predictions. But tastes are so depending of the context you grow up in that it is normal not to be able to predict that. And that uniqueness is what makes a person great.
I wish they'd include saturation and release dates as factors as I'm sure releasing a new rugged make lead superhero movie every week would have diminishing returns at some point.
Hollywood has seemed... constrained from noticing this.
Big franchise names almost always perform according to expectations, even if the movie is bad.
Incredibles 2, Shrek 2, Spongebob 2, and Despicable Me 2 were really the only ones worth making, vs gambling on a new property.
If "Kung Fu Panda 1" makes $273 million and "Kung Fu Panda 2" makes $187 million that's lower - but higher than "Pokemon: The First Movie" which only made $153 million.
A primary concern is how you differentiate your product in the age of Netflix. If you want to make an original and complex character driven work, you’re better suited with a Netflix series. Movie studios therefore gravitate to producing works uniquely suited to highlight the things that can’t be done on the small screen and simply must be experienced at a theater. Thus, they continue to churn out special-effects laden blockbusters based on familiar IP because it makes sense for their business.
When not combined with sequencing analysis, historical customer data can be used to create predictions of customer behavior.
It watches movies and does classification which all studios do anyway for decades on everything they and their competitors produce. I'm not really seeing the value add here apart from having a "data science" team to excuse your flops.
Importantly it would allow for groundbreaking and genre bending movies to be assessed.
See who's adding value and who's not. And see how well that predicts your outcome.
Why not just run it on SCRIPTS to see which to produce?
we're going to be getting a lot more adam sandler movies
Ops, It looks like the ML is already in production!