“Whatever Happened to the Family Film?” (excerpt)
By Philip F. Anschutz
The following remarks were delivered on February 24, 2004, at a Hillsdale National Leadership Seminar in Naples, Florida, upon receipt by Mr. Anschutz of the Adam Smith Award from Hillsdale College.
Since the year 2000, Hollywood has turned out more than five times as many R-rated films as it has films rated G or PG or soft PG-13. No less than 2,146 films released since 2000 received R ratings, compared to 137 films rated G and 252 films rated PG.
Is this preponderance of R-rated films simply—as we hear so often—a response to the market? I would say not, considering that of the top 20 moneymaking films of all time, not a single one is rated R, and of the top 50, only five are rated R—with the remainder being G or PG. Don’t these figures make you wonder what’s wrong with Hollywood just from a business point of view? Why, in the face of these statistics, does Hollywood keep putting out so many non-family oriented movies? Let me mention the ideas that I’ve run across in Hollywood and that define a kind of Hollywood mindset. One of these is that the way to be successful is to be hip and edgy. A second is that to be noticed and therefore successful, you need to utilize shock value to gain attention. A third is that sex, language, violence and bad taste always seem to find a market.
Speaking purely as a businessman, it is of utmost importance for a business to try and figure out a way to make goods and products that people actually want to buy. And as I’ve already suggested, I don’t think Hollywood understands this very well, because they keep making the same old movies—the same kinds they have been making for years—despite the fact that so many Americans are tired of seeing them. Why can’t movies return to being something that we can go and see with our children and our grandchildren without being embarrassed or on the edge of our seats? I don’t think they [filmmakers] understand the market and the mood of a large segment of the movie-going audience today. I think that this is one of the main reasons, by the way, that people don’t go to movies like they used to.
In a well-organized essay, answer the following:
What types of films do audiences want from Hollywood according to Philip Anschutz? Do you think Anschutz is correct or mistaken in his belief? Describe the perfect film in your opinion. It can be a film already made, or a film that you think should be made. Be sure to develop your ideas with ample evidence and reason. Spend some time editing and proofreading your work.
Required Text Entry Length: 400 to 600 words
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