Made-as-Television Movies

“….BRIDESMAIDS succeeded because, aside from being funny, it told a complete story with a narrative destination…. the women in BRIDESMAIDS actually moved forward. A sequel that puts them back in pink dresses replaying life crises would suggest everything that happened in the first movie was a lie–you thought you were watching a movie, but no, it was just a sitcom pilot.

“Pilots, though, are pretty much all that studios are in the business of making right now. They don’t call them that, because the movies are desperate not to be mistaken for and therefore further supplanted by television, but that’s what they are. In 2011, the nine-highest grossing movies in America were all sequels. That represents an immense collapse of imagination–even as recently as 1996 and 1998, the year’s top 10 movies didn’t include a single sequel–and it suggests that to studios, the primary function of a movie is to generate more episodes exactly like it. But even sequels need starting points, so for the business to stay lubricated, a certain number of successful originals have to be generated each year….”

Mark Harris, “Kristen Wiig Wigs Out Hollywood,” ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, Feb 3/10 2012, p. 26

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