At an event at USC last night, young industry innovators George Lucas and Steven Spielberg spoke on what they believe the future holds for the film industry. Assuming their predictions are correct, start preparing for hundred-dollar movie tickets and dream hats.
"They're going for the gold, but that isn't going to work forever. And as a result they're getting narrower and narrower in their focus. People are going to get tired of it," Lucas said. "They're not going to know how to do anything else." And who would know more about that than a guy who's directed nothing but Star Wars films since 1977?
"There's eventually going to be a big meltdown," Spielberg added. "There's going to be an implosion where three or four or maybe even a half-dozen of these mega-budgeted movies go crashing into the ground and that's going to change the paradigm again."
And what then? Well, according to Lucas, that's when most movies will just go straight to TV and on-demand, while only select films will be screened at "bigger theaters with a lot of nice things." And while all that may sound fine for those who like lots of nice things, all those nice things come at a price, which Lucas thinks will be between $50 and $150--priced similarly to Broadway shows, and like with those, theaters will devote entire years to just showing Shrek or whatever.
As evidence of this, the two point to the fact that even they have a hard time getting smaller projects funded. Lucas lamented, "You're talking about Steven Spielberg and George Lucas can't get their movies into theaters," and that's fucking Steven Spielberg and a guy who once got a Howard the Duck movie in theaters. Now, the Lucas-produced Red Tails apparently "barely" got a release, while Lincoln was "this close" to being on HBO--which would have cost Daniel Day-Lewis an Oscar, even if Spielberg then could have left in Mary Todd's trademark "fuckhead"s.
Anyway, looking further into the future, Spielberg, like Scorsese, seems to think future films (and video games) will soon be a completely three-dimensional immersion experience, eliminating the need for archaic devices like screens and artistic framing. Lucas, meanwhile, thinks "the next step is to be able to control your dreams" just as you control Jar Jar's comic timing: with computers.
"You'll just tap into a different part of your brain. You're just going to put a hat on or plug into the computer and create your own world," Lucas said, loosely explaining his oneiric hat invention. "We'll be able to do the dream thing 10, 15 years from now. It's not some pie-in-the-sky thing."
Lucas did not yet reveal what kind of new additions and changes to expect when he re-releases Star Wars as special edition dreams.