So, I just watched The French Connection for the first time (yeah, I know, I know…) and it blows my mind how important the 70’s were to the face of film in the US.
Besides Connection, you have Star Wars, Chinatown, Godfather, and many many other films that helped to define genres in ways that have never really been touched since. I don’t know why it all culminated in that decade for some reason, but it did. It might have something to do with the fact that while the studio heads were out to make money, they were also people who loved film and thusly threw large amounts of money behind films they actually liked. This is of course much different today with polls, demographics, and “current market trends” defining what should or should not get produced. It’s a stupid system for a lot of reasons, but one of the biggest ones being that so many small budget films have such a bigger return than all the supposed “blockbusters”.
In their vein, take for instance, Titantic. It’s made something like $1.8 billion since it was released. It also happened to cost $200 million to make. That means a 900% return (or 9 times or whatever, I’m not good at math) on the initial investment, which may seem pretty good. But take a movie like Memento, which cost $5 milliion to produce and has made $110 million since its release. That’s a 2200% return!
Why studios don’t try more of these film is beyond me, since they keep paying off. It seems like these guys are too stupid or coked up to see all that was good about the 70’s and how independent film has come about in the meantime to make an intelligent decision. I think they’re also scared to admit that they have no idea what a good film is.