The Los Angles Times‘ Ryan Faughnder reports that the traditional Hollywood film business faces several key challenges as a by-product of disruptive technology and changing distribution methods, resulting in a high level of executive turnover at the major studios as the industry attempts to adapt to evolving consumer tastes.
From the outside, Hollywood looks like a thriving town with massive blockbusters and growing box-office revenue. But pull back the curtain and the legacy movie business is under siege, contributing to the highest level of executive churn in years.
Three of the six major studios — Paramount, Sony and Fox — have removed or replaced their top executives in the last year. Jim Gianopulos, the longtime head of the 20th Century Fox movie studio, lost his job. Paramount Pictures Chairman Brad Grey was pushed out. Michael Lynton resigned last month as chief executive of Sony Pictures Entertainment. Warner Bros., Walt Disney Co. and Lionsgate have also made high-level changes.
Some of the current leadership turnover reflects long-term struggles at the individual companies, especially Paramount Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment, which have yet to replace their chief executives.
But the management shake-ups also signal wider challenges in the movie business amid fast changing viewer habits. Consumers are going to the multiplex less often and gravitating more to premium television, streaming services and video games. The media companies that own the studios also are grappling with shrinking cable subscriptions as more consumers cut the cord.
Mid-budget movies in particular have been a casualty of the see-it-now-or-see-it-never marketplace. Warner Bros.’ “Live By Night,” a gangster movie starring and directed by Ben Affleck, this year grossed a pitiful $10 million domestically on a $65-million production budget. A similar fate befell Brad Pitt’s World War II drama “Allied,” a project that Grey touted in presentations to film journalists.
Read the full article at the Los Angeles Times.