How streaming re-scripted movies

Chaos and uncertainty are nothing new in cinema. The death of cinema has been heralded at least once a decade since the beginning of the sound era. The last golden age usually coincides with the adolescence and early adulthood of the writer of the obituary. Why don’t they make them like that anymore? It’s not even a rhetorical question; it’s just a complaint.

Which brings us back to “Top Gun: Maverick”, which seemed like an example of how they made them (at least when I was a kid), and succeeded by an old-fashioned standard of measurement. Lots of people bought lots of tickets.

One thing that’s gone in the age of streaming is a consistent yardstick for success. Platforms protect their analytics: One thing no one knows is how many viewers have watched – or finished watching – a given movie. It’s even harder to determine how many new subscribers have signed up to watch this movie. The goal of the subscription model, in any case, is to provide an inexhaustible algorithmic abundance, a deep and diverse reservoir of content at everyone’s fingertips. The traditional goal was to launch a blockbuster that everyone wanted to see. Now, as long as everyone is watching something, the algorithm will be satisfied.

This means that the reasons for watching have changed. Back in the days of the studio system – and even after, in the 70s and 80s – an annual poll of exhibitors produced a list of stars ranked in order of box office influence. The methods weren’t entirely scientific, and competing lists appeared (notably in Variety), but the idea was that star power could be quantified. All three major data tabulators agreed, for example, that in 1946 Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman were box office king and queen.

Popular entertainers like Crosby and Bergman – and exhibitor poll stalwarts like Abbot and Costello, Judy Garland, Betty Grable and Bob Hope – are said to have “opened” a film, to attract crowds who might know nothing about the image other that who was in it. Not that these stars, in the era of studio power, were shakers and movers in the system. They were his products. Studios gave them new names and gave them carefully constructed characters. Marion Morrison was renamed John Wayne. Constance Ockelman transformed into Veronica Lake and Norma Jean Baker into Marilyn Monroe. Humphrey Bogart, the son of a wealthy doctor who had been expelled from Phillips Academy, became Humphrey Bogart, a cynical badass and badass.

After World War II, stars gained more freedom to choose and profit from their projects, and their cultural cachet grew along with their perceived influence at the box office. Movie stardom has become a worldwide phenomenon, and new acting styles have taken over Hollywood. To some extent, the rise of the method – associated with new stars like Marlon Brando, Paul Newman, Natalie Wood and Monroe herself – has replaced artifice with authenticity, but the star glamor has not faded away. hardly faded. Despite competition from television, professional sports, and rock ‘n’ roll, movies remained at the pinnacle of mass culture, and movie stardom set the gold standard for modern stardom.


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