Recently, Jodie Foster spoke out against big budget movies. To be exact, she compared them to the practice of fracking, which is when oil and gas companies gain access to oil and gas deposits by pumping high-pressure liquid into boreholes, thus causing the existing fissures in the shale beds containing the oil and gas deposits to open up. In other words, Foster was essentially saying that while big budget movies are profitable now, they are ruining the market for movies.
As for why she thought this, her argument seems to be that movie studios are focusing on big budget movies because of their profit potential to the exclusion of other movies, which is problematic because those big budget movies are often aimed at the lowest common denominator. As a result, movie-goers are being conditioned to watch such movies and nothing but such movies, which is happening not just in the United States but throughout the rest of the world because of Hollywood’s international influence. In time, Foster fears that there might no room remaining for other kinds of movies, which would be a serious problem for filmmakers who are uninterested in making big budget movies as well as moviegoers who are uninterested in watching big budget movies.
Furthermore, Foster’s thoughts on the matter seem to be connected to some extent to the treatment of directors by the movie studios as well. According to her, there is a lack of respect for directors barring a small number of exceptions that prove the rule such as Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg on the part of movie studios. Something that seems to be borne out by how movie studios have been exercising increased control over the film-making process, with the result that directors are looking more and more like replaceable cogs in a film-making machine rather than the artists in charge that some people see them as.
With that said, it is worth noting that Foster doesn’t actually have anything against the sort of subject matter that is being covered in big budget movies. For example, she has stated that she doesn’t want to direct superhero movie, but when she was asked about whether she would ever consider doing so, she stated that she would be willing to consider it provided that the character had a mindset with sufficient complexities to it. For that matter, it should be mentioned that Foster has just directed an episode in the dystopian Black Mirror, which was an experience that she actually cited as a positive contrast to working with movie studios in Hollywood because of how polite the series creator Charlie Brooker was on the set.
Does Jodie Foster Have a Point?
Foster has a point about Hollywood’s excessive focus on big budget movies, which is indeed having unfortunate consequences for the market for movies. In part, this is because the focus on big budget movies is shrinking the production resources that are available for other kinds of movies. However, it should also be noted that big budget movies tend to be rather risk-averse in nature, which means fewer failures but also fewer successes of an unexpected style. As a result, it is no wonder that Foster is but one of a number of directors who have spoken out against the current way that movies are being made in Hollywood, as shown by Ridley Scott’s recent comments about the film-making process for Star Wars movies.
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