Steven Spielberg: 'Lincoln' was almost a TV movie, predicts film implosion

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If Steven Spielberg is losing faith in the movie industry, what hope does anyone else have? While speaking alongside George Lucas at the University of Southern California, the "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial" and "Jurassic Park" director painted a bleak picture of the future of film, CBS News reports.

The problem seems to be Hollywood's current strategy, using "tent pole" films to support the rest of the business. "Tent pole" movies are the mega-budget films that make tons money and keep the studios rich. "Marvel's The Avengers" is a perfect example of one of those movies, as it made Disney a boatload of money.

However, the problem comes from the tent pole movies that don't set the world on fire. Then you're left with money lost on the budget and marketing of a movie. If you take a film like "John Carter," also a Disney production, you see a perfect example of that.

"John Carter" cost $250 million on the budget, marketing not included, but only make $282 million worldwide. According to Disney, they lost $84 million that fiscal quarter, which they "primarily" attributed to the movie's performance.

With studios set on tent pole franchises to carry them, newer filmmakers with fresh ideas are less likely to get a chance to try something new. "That's the big danger, and there's eventually going to be an implosion, or a big meltdown," Spielberg says. "There's going to be an implosion where three or four, or maybe even a half dozen, mega-budget movies are going to go crashing into the ground, and that's going to change the paradigm."

He even says there was trouble getting "Lincoln" a deal to show in theaters. Though Daniel Day-Lewis went on to win an Oscar for Best Actor due to the film, Spielberg says "Lincoln" was nearly a TV movie with no theatrical distribution, admitting he was close to a deal with HBO.

Lucas thinks Hollywood will eventually evolve into more of a Broadway-like schedule, with fewer movies being released. They will spend more time at the theater and carry a bigger price tag.

Spielberg's vision of the future is a bit different. He thinks a ticket's price will depend on the movie, saying, "You're gonna have to pay $25 for the next 'Iron Man,' you're probably only going to have to pay $7 to see 'Lincoln.'"

The message is clear, the movie industry is on a dangerous path. If the opinions of two of the most successful filmmakers in the medium can't be trusted, what can?
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