To all screenwriters, take a good look at the chart below for a blast of clarity. To sum up the stats: a writer in Hollywood has better odds of starting in an NBA line-up than getting your project onto any screen (large or small) in today’s market.
As we all know, the seven major studios finance and/or produce about 26 films a year on an average budget of $200 million per film. They average an amazing 90 percent return on investment. So, franchises do make sense, especially if you have stockholders. Movies, in this price range, are literally printing money. Even with the bad press from a box-office dud, it’s still a safe risk even when considering John Carter or Lone Ranger.
To no one’s surprise this past weekend, Disney’s Avengers: Age of Ultron triumphed worldwide with $191 million in the U.S. — the second highest opening ever in spite of, (pundits opined), Saturday’s grand slam sports day including the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, NBA, NFL, and the Kentucky Derby.
That audience was composed of 59 percent men over the age of 25. Is this all the audience there is? Could it be that there’s an even bigger audience to attract than Hollywood’s imagination can envision? Of course, we all know Hollywood is in the business of franchises. Who can blame them? After all, they need to keep the lights on. Besides, we all need a super-power to hate… but from whence do we begin the revolution?
“If you build it, they will come” still applies… Well, perhaps, this is where the fault lies. Are the screenwriters “building stories” anymore that people want to come to? The screenwriters, themselves of course, will point to the extreme closed-door polemics of getting “inside.” There’s that.