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By Charles Peirce
It would seem, to the eyes of Hollywood, the high form of film has become the franchise. It satisfies the two poles of conventional business wisdom: limiting risk as it promises more of the same, maximizing profit as it entices investors with that self-same prospect. The Hobbit is stretched out to encompass three movies, hordes of young adult novels are on the horizon, and Bob Iger suggests Frozen will now be a franchise after its huge success, but it’s hard to imagine that wasn’t always the plan. Strangely, though, two of the pioneers of the form, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, both predict doom for what they helped create. And the recent failure of The Lone Ranger (and John Carter before that) suggest they might just be right. [...]
George Lucas has always been an “inspiring package of entertainment”. To me, he represents a distinct strand of indie: the entrepreneurial artist. A great vision that recognized how to maximize the business proposition inherent in a story world and it’s execution. How much money did his model draw into the industry, dreaming of a repeat success? I suspect it has given birth to thousands upon thousands of cinema babies. Once we start recognizing the affinity that the creative industries have with start ups and general entrepreneurial ventures all share, we will be able to properly measure Mr. Lucas’ effect — and it will be awe-inspiring indeed. But that is not the only reason I remain optimistic at this latest stab at media consolidation. Or should I say “despite” this latest stab? [...]