Having some of the best films in history under his belt, including Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Aliens, and Titanic, and now with his Avatar sequels having set release dates, Hollywood veteran and visionary filmmaker James Cameron has his foreseeable future set, the famed director recently spoke with Vanity Fair about Titanic getting put into production and how Hollywood then, compares to Hollywood now.
Nowadays, it’s very easy to say that the only things that get greenlit are big franchises, but when presented with the thought that there’s a big difference between the types of big budget films made then to now, Cameron pushed back at the idea.
“It was a very peculiar set of circumstances that even got that film greenlit in the first place. It was an anomaly and of course I’m lucky and grateful that it happened. But I don’t think the industry has changed that much in 20 years when it comes to risk aversion. They were risk averse then, and they’re risk averse now. And all the trends everybody’s always talking about, ‘Oh, well it’s only franchises, it’s only comic books.’ You know what? It was that stuff back then. It’s not like we’re getting any smarter.”
While I think Hollywood has surely changed in other ways, there is truth is what Cameron said. Studios are very careful on the projects they choose to take on, and financial viability is key. Without profits the studios really have no incentive or even the ability to make the films we love. Being risk averse is part of any business, the difference for movie studios is there is always a balancing act between art and profit, and while you may think that a good display of one increases the other, that isn’t always the case.
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Source: Vanity Fair