Global Picture Show

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Get used to the Global Movie, such as the latest remakes of King Arthur and Around the World in 80 Days. Such films can be recognized by their casts, which feature performers often little-known to U.S. audiences but popular among the increasingly important ticket-buyers overseas.

"As recently as two years ago," writes The New York Times, "international ticket sales were around 40 percent of the worldwide box office, studio executives say. Today, international sales more often account for 60 percent or more of box-office receipts. And as production budgets soar—some as high as $200 million—and the number of big-budget movies rises, the pressure on worldwide sales is growing." The result: Casts increasingly featuring international commercial draws.

Not long ago, the Indian filmmaker Shekhar Kapur argued that what looked to some people like American cultural imperialism was really an issue of home-market size. That, he recognized, was a situation that was changing.

"In 15 years from now," he wrote, "we won?t be discussing the domination of the western media but the domination of the Chinese media, or the Asian media. Soon we will find that in order to make a hugely successful film, you have to match Tom Cruise with an Indian or a Chinese actor." And that, it appears, is just what's happening.

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  1. Eh. Movies will continue to suck until being really successful means having Sunrise/Gainax/etc. animate your movie and being a famous performer means being a voice actor/actress. Oh, and there’s a lot more giant robot references in American pop culture.

  2. I really need someone to explain to me why Tom Cruise is famous, let alone popular. He is a poor actor. He is also, in the eyes of the straight man, not that good-looking. He has a history of turning mediocre films into awful films. At least when he was on scene with Kidman we had something to look at.
    And, Czar, movies will continue to suck until a large scale earthquake destroys LA and, more importantly, kills or traumatizes the armies of middle-trolls who dictate taste and market films: The ones who dragged their feet green-lighting X-Men based on the poor performance of the last Power Rangers film, the ones who gave Scarlet Letter a happy ending; the ones who trim upwards of an hour off of every film to facilitate more screenings and tack another “special feature” onto the DVD.
    Will I ever see another DVD that’s just the damned movie? I am not interested in a slide show of storyboards or commentary from the DP or a half dozen documentaries on how the film was made.
    The people who pioneered the two-minute long DVD main menu must also perish horribly.
    I’m done.

  3. Hey, I don’t think many people disagree we’d all be better off in a number of ways if southern California (and more importantly, the people living there) just quietly sank into the ocean. But since it’s not likely, I’d rather people just developed some taste and realized that there’s better entertainment to be found from other sources. Granted, both solutions are just as likely.

  4. Around the World in 80 Days failed miserably at the US box office.

    Could “Global Movie” be the tag given to a movie that bombed in the US that the producers hope can recoup their money elsewhere?

  5. Around the World in 80 Days failed miserably at the US box office. Could “Global Movie” be the tag given to a movie that bombed in the US that the producers hope can recoup their money elsewhere?

    What he said!

    Adding only that 80 Days was previously supposed to be part of a new wave of “family friendly,” adventure, made by a company called Walden Media, went ridiculously over budget and lost its initial distributor (Paramount).

    Given that 80 Days is the last film to feature Arnold, we now have a clear tie with that other bomb where an in-denial studio kept claiming they’d recoup overseas.

    Not a trend, unless you’re counting the pairing up of rappers/comedians with martial arts stars… (one also suspects European faces are cheaper when it comes time to make ensemble epics)

  6. And this is different from Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns how?

  7. There was an article on this in The Atlantic a little while ago. It’s entitled: Off-shoring the Audience.

    “If France makes movies for the French, and America makes movies for the world, who’s left to make movies for America?”

    Quite frankly, I find this incredibly upsetting. I consider film part of our cultural heritage. Yes, really.

  8. I, for one, am ashamed at the outsourcing of our precious Holywood acting jobs. I think we should tax any movie production company that sends these American jobs overseas!

    Oh, who am I kidding?

    I’m just hoping that Bollywood helps bring back the American musical.

  9. I, for one, am ashamed at the outsourcing of our precious Holywood acting jobs. I think we should tax any movie production company that sends these American jobs overseas!

    Oh, who am I kidding?

    I’m just hoping that Bollywood helps bring back the American musical.

  10. Cantinflas, a man who was ahead of his time.

  11. Right — I’m sure movie studios are just salivating to repeat the success of “Around the World in 80 Days.”

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