Barry Diller made his name in the Hollywood studio game as the CEO of Paramount and Fox. So you would think he knows little about the movie business. Well, late Thursday afternoon, Diller appeared on NPR while at the Sun Valley conference in Idaho and had some interesting thoughts on the state of the industry.
He said, “The movie business is over… The movie business as before is finished and will never come back. I used to be in the movie business where you made something really because you cared about it.”
His comments came amongst lamentations about the rise of streamers and corporate conglomerates that have changed what it means to create movies, and have altered how studios make money in theatrical releases.
Diller's main point was that making movies with lasting cultural impact might be finished.
He continued to talk about what it's like to make movies for a streamer like Amazon, saying, "The system is not necessarily to please anybody. It is to buy more Amazon stuff. That's not a terrible thing. It just doesn't interest me."
These are not new worries and have been echoed by people since the start of the pandemic. Many feel that the closing of theaters and rising of streamers negatively affected the industry, turning movies into content, and pushing art further from commerce.
Diller echoed these feelings, focusing on the quality of what's come out, saying, "These streaming services have been making something that they call 'movies.' They ain't movies. They are some weird algorithmic process that has created things that last 100 minutes or so."
There is a lot to unpack here and to worry about. Things need to change in Hollywood.
I am mostly worried about the idea of theatrical releases going away, and the opportunities of young voices also struggling to break through all the noise on streaming platforms. We're in the Wild West and no one can predict the future, but do you think movies are finished?
Let us know what you think in the comments.