What was probably seen as an incredible opportunity to learn from two of the greatest, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, USC film students were instead given a massive wake-up call at a recent lecture: The industry they are preparing to enter might go belly-up.
Spielberg and Lucas both warned students about the changing landscape of the film industry and why it's likely to become extremely difficult for directors to get films in theaters.
“There’s eventually going to be an implosion — or a big meltdown. There's going to be an implosion where three or four or maybe even a half-dozen megabudget movies are going to go crashing into the ground, and that's going to change the paradigm.” He then predicts that blockbuster and franchise movies will command premiere ticket prices (get ready to pay $25 for stuff like "Man Of Steel"), while smaller scale dramas will become rarer and rarer. "I think eventually the 'Lincoln's will go away and they're going to be on television," George Lucas chimed in. "As mine almost was," Spielberg interjected. "This close — ask HBO — this close."
Lucas also added that he thinks film exhibition could soon wind up having a Broadway play model, with fewer films released and staying in theaters for longer periods of time, and ticket prices becoming much higher. He also talked of the difficulty these days for filmmakers to get their films into theaters. "We're talking 'Lincoln' and 'Red Tails' — we barely got them into theaters. You're talking about Steven Spielberg and George Lucas can't get their movie into a theater," Lucas said. "The pathway to get into theaters is really getting smaller and smaller.”
The shift was set in motion for several reasons, including the rise of cable companies, the internet and vast technological improvements that mean virtually anyone can become a director. Hollywood doesn't have a monopoly on excellent equipment or a big edge with their budget on the new more-level playing field.
It makes sense on a consumer level as well. People are more inclined to stay at home and watch their own large HD screen rather than pay $15 to watch it on someone else's where you might get stuck next to Vincent Thomas.