This goes along with the Murdoch My Space article, TV not dead, only bigger, Hollywood reborn–again.
Wired 14.06: The New Hollywood: “The New Hollywood
Jeff Skoll, Steven Soderbergh, George Clooney, and Mark Cuban
They’re an unlikely gang of rebels: a couple of dotcom billionaires, an Oscar-winning director, and the sexiest man alive. But if you’re going to take on Hollywood – transform it from the inside – that’s the kind of clout you need. Jeff Skoll, Steven Soderbergh, George Clooney, and Mark Cuban are breaking the studio system of its bigger-is-better mindset and showing that risk-taking message movies can compete with popcorn blockbusters at the box office. By using new ideas and technologies – broadband distribution, 4K digital projectors, and simultaneous multiplatform releases – they’re building a new economic model for Tinseltown. Cue the music: The castle walls are coming down.
The Role: Founding Participant Productions, a film company with a “double bottom line,” Skoll says. “Profits and social good.”
The Drama: Skoll’s eBay billions fund movies that take a stand against global warming (An Inconvenient Truth), delve into the sticky relationship between politics and the oil trade (Syriana), and expose scaremongering (Good Night, and Good Luck).
The Sequel: Director Richard Linklater’s take on Fast Food Nation, the best-selling diatribe on the American diet.
The Role: Using his fame as a director (Erin Brockovich, Traffic) to make movies that land simultaneously in theaters, on DVD, and on hi-def cable networks.
The Drama: Bubble, Soderbergh’s first multiplatform film, died at the box office. But as a proof of concept, it captured national attention.
The Sequel: Five more simultaneous releases, showing Hollywood how to join the broadband revolution.
The Role: Leveraging his charm, experience, and personal fortune to get the green light for politically engaged movies. The former TV star is well versed in studio economics, but he’ll work for scale on a project that challenges conventions. He even offered to put up his house to finance Good Night, and Good Luck, the story of how newsman Edward R. Murrow took on red-baiting senator Joseph McCarthy.
The Drama: : In Syriana and Good Night, Clooney dialed back the pretty-boy smile but still emerged as a sex symbol for the new independent film movement – paunch, beard, glasses, and all.
The Sequel: Exposing the ethical transgressions of corporate litigators at a top New York law firm in Michael Clayton.
The Role: Producing pictures “that make people think” (HDNet Films, 2929 Entertainment), distributing them (Magnolia Pictures, HDNet Movies), and exhibiting them in what will be the world’s first all-digital theater chain (Landmark Theatres). Oh, and freeing all of his films’ DVDs from copy protections.
The Drama: He’s rich, he’s brash – and he just might be right.
The Sequel: Providing an audio feed to every theater seat, so viewers can listen to films in different languages.