Hollywood Has Disquiet On The Set
Hollywood is on the edge of a nervous breakdown1. Worried about an industry wide writers strike, struck by a series of theater-chain bankruptcies, burdened with unreasonable corporate profit, requirements and seemingly incapable of producing consistently2 creative movies, the American film industry is in an intensive period of soul-searching. There's little doubt it will survive this crisis. But most insiders agree there is disease at both ends of the business —where films are conceived, and where they're shown — that may take years to overcome.
While boasting annual box-office revenue increases for nine straight years, largely due to increased ticket prices, the number of actual tickets sold has declined for the second year in a row. The construction boom has added nearly 10, 000 theaters ( more than 200, 000 more seats) in the last five years. But due to a static audience base, eight major chains have gone into bankruptcy and several others are in dreadful financial straits.
In effect, insiders say, Hollywood is now in a business it does not want to be in. "There's general problem in that the companies that have the most consistent output of material are least interested in what they're making, "says former 20 th Century Fox CEO3 Bill. And, Bill adds,"We're in a period where movies are getting bigger and more costly and less interesting and fulfilling to an audience. "
Today the studios are under the stress to increase profit margins for their corporate parents, and profit margins are hard to control in a business whose products are seen as impulse buys. Other business can increase profits by cutting costs — buying cheaper material, or making the candy bar smaller4 . Not Hollywood.
"What we're cutting is risk, "says the head of one major studio, who asked not to be named,"And risk is what great film has always demanded. " While the studios are avoiding risky concepts, their rivals in the home entertainment business have been furiously expanding the boundaries of the imagination. It was this pressure — in electronic games, the Internet, EVDs — that forced the movie theater chains into a self-destructive frenzy of expansion.
Seduced by easy access to loans during the go-go5 economy of the mid to late 1990s, the chains plunged into debt in a feverish effort to be first on the block with the biggest 158 theatres. In five years, the number of U. S. screens expanded from 27, 000 to more than 37, 000 .
" It's going to take three or four years for the complete recovery of the business, "says Kurt Hall, president of the United Artists Theater Circuit."It will take that long to get the number of screens down to a healthy level. The closer we get to 30, 000 the better off we'll be. "
Ⅰ. Complete the summary of the passage:
Hollywood is on the 1 of nervous breakdown. It was struck by theater-chain2 , burdened with 3 corporate profit, requirements, 4 of producing 5 creative movies. Most insiders allege that both ends of the business have disease. The annual box-office revenue increases because of the 6 ticket prices. The number of actual tickets sold has 7 for the second year in a row. In the last five years 8 theaters has set up. Given the limited audience base, eight major chains have gone 9 bankruptcy and several others are in 10 11 .
1. Why Hollywood is now in a business it does not want to be in?
2. Why the studio is under stress? In what way is it different from other business?
Ⅰ. 1. edge 2. bankruptcies 3. unreasonable 4 . incapable 5. consistently 6. increased 7. declined 8. 10, 000 9 . into 10 . financial 11. straits
Ⅱ. 1. Because nowadays movies are getting bigger and more costly and less interesting and fulfilling to an audience.
2. They have to increase profit for their corporate parents and profit margins are hard to control in a business whose products are seen as impulse buys. Other business can increase profits by cutting costs — buying cheaper material, but Hollywood can’t.
好莱坞已处在崩溃的边缘。美国的电影业受到来自各方面的困扰: 担心业内作家的全面罢工; 面临一系列剧院的连锁破产; 承担合伙人不合理的利润要求; 无法不断地制作有创意的片子。毫无疑问好莱坞能度过这场危机, 但是多数的业内人士认为这得花几年时间,因为电影业的两端——制作和放映都存在弊病。
159好莱坞吹嘘它的票房收入连续九年增长, 但这主要是因为票价上涨了, 实际的售票量已经连续两年下降。五年来的建设热潮增加了1 万多个电影院, 20多万个座位。由于观众基数未变, 导致8个连锁影院破产, 另外几家则陷入经济危机。
业内人士说, 事实上好莱坞电影业是欲罢不能。20世纪福克斯公司的前首席执行官比尔说:“ 电影业内有一个通病, 那些拍片最多的公司, 对自己的片子最没兴趣。”他还说:“ 现在我们的电影制作规模越来越大, 成本越来越高, 却越来越没意思, 也很少给观众满足感。”
现在的电影制片厂要承受投资人要求扩大利润空间的压力, 但是像电影这种购买率难以预测的行业, 是很难控制利润的。别的行业可以通过购买便宜的材料、缩减原料消耗来降低成本增加利润, 但是这在好莱坞行不通。
一家大制片厂不愿透露姓名的主管说:“ 我们在规避风险, 但是要制作大片子往往要担风险。”
制片厂都避开有风险的电影构思, 而家庭娱乐业的对手则在极尽能事地扩张他们的领域。来自电子游戏、互联网和EVD 等方面的压力, 迫使连锁电影院走上自我毁灭的扩张之路。
在90年代末借贷容易的泡沫经济大潮中, 连锁影院疯狂竞赛, 在各个街区建设最大的电影院, 结果债台高筑。五年间, 美国的电影屏幕从27 000个增加到了37000个。