Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Realities of the Entertainment Business

The survival of mankind hangs in the balance as an unexpected mortal hero Bek [Brenton Thwaites] undertakes a thrilling journey to save the world. In order to succeed, he must enlist the help of the powerful and vengeful god Horus [Nikolaj Coster-Waldau] in an unlikely alliance against Set [Gerard Butler], the merciless god of darkness, who has usurped Egypt’s throne, plunging the once peaceful and prosperous empire into chaos and conflict. As their breathtaking battle against Set and his henchmen takes them into the afterlife and across the heavens, both god and mortal must pass tests of courage and sacrifice if they hope to prevail in the epic final confrontation.

Gods of Egypt is the film many of the folks I follow in the film, TV, and gaming worlds are whining about right now over "diversity" in the cast--complete with aspersions of racism--and I just shake my head in disappointment. These are folks who somehow fail to know better over how their businesses actually work, especially those in film and television.

Film and television is a business where the ones with actual shot-calling power are often not the ones credited with that authority. The larger the financing for a particular film or television show, the more that power gets away from those who would use it for the legitimate use of ensuring the best possible quality of artistic production.

It's about mitigating risk in a risky business.

Such is often the fate in many a big-budget movie, especially now that more and more of the whole global audience matters to the bean counters and not just the domestic marketplace of the United States, Canada, Austrailia, and a few Western states in Europe. This is nothing new to insiders or observers--it's been an increasing trend for decades--but now it's reached a point where even fools are noticing the effects.

Each of those men listed in the quoted film summary are significant in their home markets, and have significant presences in either London or Hollywood. The producers want to make a profit. The actors take jobs to boost their profiles and fulfill contracts. The financiers want a good return on their investment. At each level, business considerations trump artistic ones. This has less to do about Identity Politics bugbears than simple, banal, and utterly boring-as-fuck realities of the entertainment business.

It's about the Box Office.

That's why you get casting decisions like this: it's to use their appeal to draw as many people through the ticket stand and the concession stand before they sit in those stadium seats for 90-120 minutes. Money, not race-hating. Money, not sex-hating. Money, not politics. Money, money, money.


The sooner folks grok this, the sooner everything else falls into place.

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