Ocean’s 8 Proves Hollywood Is Hurting Itself by Playing Things Safe


David Ehrlich:

There’s a tidy exchange from “Ocean’s Eleven” that sums up our current age of compromise. A dashing thief ambushes his ex-wife in a Las Vegas restaurant, and — cards on the table — asks her a very pointed question about her new boyfriend, slimy casino mogul Terry Benedict:
Danny Ocean: “Does he make you laugh?”
Tess Ocean: “He doesn’t make me cry.”
Danny might still be the same reckless gambler who screwed things up the first time around, but Tess has started to play the odds. Faced with a choice between potential love and certain stability, she’s put all her chips on the safest bet. And it’s hard to blame her for that, or for that haymaker of a comeback — Danny might have a movie star twinkle in his eye, but he also has a real penchant for winding up in prison. At a certain point, when the stakes get high enough, most people would rather cash out than risk it all on a game that’s rigged against them. But when a Hollywood assembles a cast that includes Cate Blanchett and Rihanna, and then hands them over to someone like Gary Ross, it’s like they’re counting cards on a low-stakes table in the hopes of not getting caught.

Ouch. A harsh, but by most accounts, a pretty fair assessment of how Ocean's 8 ended up. I haven't seen the movie myself yet (mainly because I know it's mediocre), but the same basic issue plagues Solo as well. And it's plaguing far too many theatrical releases these days. 

It's self-reinforcing: Hollywood only wants to push high-priced blockbusters into theaters. But because they're so high-priced, it bets on "safe" people to be stewards of the hulking ships. Beyond the money, this is why so much talent is flocking to places like Netflix. They seems much more open to risk-taking, which is humorous given all the data they're using to greenlight projects. (Traditional) Hollywood is screwing itself. 


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