In June 2013, at a University of Southern California event with George Lucas, Steven Spielberg predicted an implosion of the film industry. The failure at the box office of “tentpoles”, mega-budget movies that are designed with potential sequels in mind and anchor a studio’s release schedule, “are going to go crashing to the ground, and that’s going to change the paradigm,” he said.
This may not seem to be happening, but Anne Thompson shows us in her interesting and illuminating new book, The $11 Billion Year, that the prediction has already come true. White House Down, After Earth, The Lone Ranger, Turbo and R.I.P.D. all tanked at the box office and the whole cinematic apparatus, the paradigm of production, distribution, exhibition and the technological, economic and political structures that underpinned it, have indeed changed.