Taking Back Tinseltown: How the Money Works — Part 1

Despite the numbers that show more Americans identify themselves ideologically as conservative than anything else, Hollywood continues to either ignore or blatantly criticize conservatives and their ideals. Considering this point, it’s a wonder how a liberal minority continue to dominate Hollywood messaging through films like “Avatar” and “Green Zone,” and moreover how they continue to get away with it. With the larger fan-base that a well-done conservative film would logically have, it’s a wonder why time and again conservative ideals have fallen before big-budget, bigger box office successes without putting up any real alternative.

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Funding would be the first logical explanation – making a movie costs upwards of $100 million. But somehow films with average scripts and worse acting make it to the screen almost daily. For example: the aforementioned liberal duo.

Now, average to awful films can be classics despite themselves – “Big Trouble in Little China” anyone? – but with all the hype over how much a film costs versus how much it rakes in at the box office, it begs the question how do bad special effects, scripts and actors make it to the big screen, and how do writers, directors and producers continually insult the largest portion of American audiences and get away with it? How does a value-system upheld by liberal elites define American cinema? And this isn’t the case in every film – there are some quality conservative films out there like “Die Hard” and “The Patriot” – but such films are the exception, rather than the rule.

The biggest question is how does Hollywood get away with it time and again? If money is the bottom line, and a movie is terrible, and you see it once in theaters and never rent it again, how can a studio make money off this product? Journalist Edward Jay Epstein tells exactly how in his eye-opening book, “The Hollywood Economist: The Hidden Financial Reality Behind the Movies.” This book breaks through the shroud over Hollywood finances to explain why your popcorn is loaded with butter, why theatres in general seat less than 300 people per screen, why you might see Canadians starring in American films, how a studio can make a $100 million film for $20 million or less out of pocket and how a film can basically make more money before it is released than after.

It’s a brilliant book and a must-read for anyone who really wants to understand how the back rooms of Hollywood work, where the money comes from and why. I’ll be making the pitch for Epstein over the next few weeks in a weekly series, where I’ll address the key elements of the book, and relate those elements to conservatism – why we’ve been ignored by Hollywood, why money is the last reason we should accept for it. Most importantly, I’ll throw out my best ideas on what we can do about it. And then I’ll wait for your best responses telling me why that’s ridiculous. Hopefully there’s some fun dialogue.

It’s time to take back the movies.

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