Supply & Demand

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It’s indisputable that the primary motivation of any financial endeavor in our capitalist society is profit, and such is the case with Hollywood. Films of a certain cost are designed to recoup their expenses not only from ticket sales, but also via franchising into other markets. Ghost In The Shell (2017) cast Scarlett Johansson in an Asian part, had toys, video games, and books; following a marketing model popularized by George Lucas, who may have learned a thing or two from Disney’s Davy Crockett: King Of The Wild Frontier (1955). But these tie-ins and franchises have become so prevalent in our culture today that they go by almost unnoticed, and the effects these marketing strategies, and Hollywood’s approach to the cinema as a whole, are rarely analyzed for their effects outside of the market place.

If one compares the cinema to other forms of art such as painting, one finds that the cinema is severely lacking in regional dialects or aesthetics. There has been, since the advent of the blockbuster, a unifying series of styles that have come in and out of vogue, essentially restricting audiences’ filmic literacy to these accepted aesthetics. These aesthetics themselves have found prevalence, and have therefore become stylish trends because of their marketability, due to the management of film studios and distributors as corporations and not curators of art. When audiences reacted positively to Darren Aronofsky’s Pi (1998), a slew of films were made that resembled that film in some way. Similarly, Miramax’s acquisition of My Left Foot (1989) resulted directly in the acquisition of In The Name Of The Father (1993). Both instances represent this trend in American cinema explicitly. This is not entirely new, but as the internet spreads positive criticism of once hard to find films like Who Wants To Kill Jessie (1966), why are so many movie goers allowing Hollywood to dictate which films are imported to this country?

Regional cinema is all around us. Filmmakers toil unrecognized in every corner of the world, yet their work is lost to the general public because of an inability to meet a marketing quota. Like all businesses Hollywood and American film distributors will only meet supply with demand. As an audience the American public must therefore demand that foreign regionalist films and even domestic regionalist films find wide spread distribution.