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Channing Tatum's Commentary On Streaming Is Spot-On And Paints A Pretty Grim Portrait For The Future Of Movies

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It bothers me in these MODERN TIMES 

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and SOCIETY that we live in when many people don't think you can be of two minds of anything. If you really dissect your own life, general reader, you'll find it's littered with contradictions, quiet hypocrisies and even antiquated/anachronistic/incongruent sets of beliefs, thoughts, and/or ideals.

Saying that to say, I'm of two minds of these truth-bomb remarks and personal experiences shared by Channing Tatum in a recent profile for Forbes:

"The movie industry is just changing so much. It’s a different era now and it’s just getting crazier with the streamers. I do fear a little for the storytelling of it all. I think there will be less good storytelling and a lot more product out there.”

Tatum went on to tell me that people no longer make a movie anymore just because it needs to be made, but rather, you have to know that you have about an 80% chance of making your money back. He recalls his Magic Mike sequel in 2015 having a rather skewed approach between the filmmaking budget and other business expenses.

"We made Magic Mike 2 for $12 million dollars and they spent $60-$70 million dollars to sell it. So, we’re spending exponentially more money to sell a movie than actually make the thing for you. That should be the other way around. We could be spending the money on the thing that the viewer is actually going to get to see and now it’s just who can create the most noise to break through the cataclysmic wave of content coming out every single day."

On one hand, yup, the business side of the entertainment industry etc. is almost oxymoronic entity in and of itself. It's the antithesis of creative expression. On the other hand, it's a necessary, vital part of the deal. Because how else do you get the word out about your content these days and stand out when the market is so oversaturated? You spend a fuckload on marketing, advertising, publicity and so on. HOWEVER, it comes at the expense of the budget with which you're actually making the project.

I'm basically sort of reexplaining what Tatum says in the above passage but it's important to underscore. He's so right about all this. There's something backassward about pinching pennies (relatively speaking) on a budget and conserving all that just so you can make a big pageantry-type spectacle where more time, energy and financial resources are spent just on promoting the damn thing.

While I love the idealistic sort of utopia that streaming represents at its best — giving the green light to wildly original projects that'd never fly at a major studio — for every great movie or TV show that arises out of that heap of endless pitches, there's a zillion that go into production, hit whatever streaming platform and are pretty much instantly forgotten. Like, great: Create so many new jobs for cast and crew…but by just kind of dartboard throwing, free-for-all'ing and going way into the red just to produce a wave of streamer-original content for the sake of the brand, it's watering everything down.

Quentin Tarantino actually had an interesting take on this not long ago, about movies that go direct-to-streaming. They tend not to be part of the zeitgeist or, AHEM ---hoity-toity word--- DISCOURSE if you will, darling.

(ILY Ryan Reynolds, for the record. Just making a point here). 

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So you see where the whole "of two minds" mentality — minds mentality woa dude — comes from. We're seeing streamers yank down content en masse that may never return to that original platform and/or may never be viewable ever again. Weird, that. HBO MAX has made huge cuts since the Discovery merger. Disney+ just pulled off hundreds of titles.

It's a really, really strange and rapidly-changing time in the industry right now, which is only complicated by the ongoing writers' strike. All I know is, Channing Tatum's experience on Magic Mike 2 and declaration that studios are more worried about just trying to break even than actually telling a worthwhile story synecdochically lay you all you need to know about the state of things. 

Million-dollar adverb in that last sentence came from somewhere. So unrelated to Channing Tatum but related to this immortal/existential art vs. commerce dilemma: I highly recommend diving into Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York if you haven't before.

Twitter @MattFitz_gerald/TikTok

Channing Tatum gets candid about being a dad in that Forbes feature as well. In his honor, pick yourself up some Father's Day merch if you would please.