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July 16, 2002
7:16 AM   Subscribe

HMOs sign on with William Morris. "We're not saying it's verboten to attack some part of the health care system. We're saying there is another side to what we do." No word yet on whether the American Association of Health Plans is set to star opposite Tom Cruise in the next summer blockbuster. But, aside from moving beautiful people from casting to marquee, I believe this is the first time in history that the William Morris Agency has been set up as a Hollywood lobbyist. It's bad enough that more than 100 product placement agencies continue to bombard movies with increasing junk. But, assuming the studios take this representation seriously, is it too much to ask that corporate interests be denied any potential sullying of the cinematic voice? Will CAA follow suit and take on the NRA? Or are today's movies beyond salvation?
posted by ed (4 comments total)

 
is it too much to ask that corporate interests be denied any potential sullying of the cinematic voice?

As long as people keep paying for garbage Hollywood will keep shoveling it out.

If you want movies to change don't waste your time asking for change. Instead, spend your ten dollars at the local indie theatre instead. Or better yet, at the bookstore!
posted by plaino at 7:28 AM on July 16, 2002


Planio: Independent theaters? You're kidding, right? Most "indie" houses in the States are run by Landmark and Landmark has the big boys providing them movies. Miramax is owned by Disney. And there's Fox Searchlight, Universal Classics/Vivendi, Sony Picture Classics, Paramount Classics and Fine Line Features (owned by New Line/AOL/Time Warner). Sure, you've got small-timers like the Shooting Gallery, Lions Gate and a case can be made for USA Films. But, by and large, the indies are controlled by the majors.

And like it or not, people will continue to see movies. They will pay for dreck like Men in Black II (which has earned $137.2 million).

So is it safe to say that, whether indie or uncompromisingly commercial title, that this is an issue? If Miramax will run away from the Catholic League because of a harmless movie like Dogma, without CAA or Morris representation, then how will distributors react with representation?
posted by ed at 7:48 AM on July 16, 2002


And like it or not, people will continue to see movies. They will pay for dreck like Men in Black II (which has earned $137.2 million).

I think this is the point.

Making movies is a business. If only high quality movies without product placements were made, people would go to them. If (as it is now) mostly crap with commercials is made then people will still go see it just the same. Now, you are a producer investing in a movie, with this in mind, which do you choose? Fronting all the overhead yourself in the name of artistic purity or getting corporate sponsorship and compromising quality for security. Unless your target audience is the relatively small elitist-film-school-purists demographic you're probably gonna choose sponsorship because your target audience simply doesn't care either way.

Frankly, product placement was the least of MIB II's problems. I'm much more concerned about the blending of "movie" with "video game" made possible by computer graphics and the selling of flashy images in preference to good story telling.

Except for the occasional rare gem, Big studio movies will always be more exploitive of the audience's weaknesses than challenging them. It is a stupid waste of time trying to change that. Instead, if you care, give your business to someone who is making movies you like or make good movies yourself.
posted by plaino at 8:46 AM on July 16, 2002


Oh, geez. I read "William Morris" as "Philip Morris", and thought that the HMOs were partnering with the tobacco giants.

You know, more cigarettes -> more illness -> more profits.

I don't know if it's scarier that I thought this, or that it wouldn't have surprised me much if it were true.
posted by beth at 9:09 AM on July 16, 2002


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