There's a dangerous trend becoming more apparent than ever in Hollywood and that's an aversion to new blood.
On Wednesday, Disney+ entered the streaming market in the US - it hits our shores on Tuesday - bolstered by the promise of new content, but secured by its legacy, because only with a catalogue of classics and already-established franchises can you go up against the monster that is Netflix with as much confidence as Disney+ swung in with.
Even a new release like the highly-anticipated Mandalorian series stands on the shoulders of the Star Wars franchise which came before it, relying on that fandom's carry-over interest not only to succeed, but to draw interest (and by "interest" I definitely mean "subscribers") to start with.
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The other thing that's become apparent with the arrival of Disney+ is that the major streaming platforms - Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, HBO Max - are sharing content creators. They have to; if you want the big name content in order to get eyes on your product, you get the big name creators.
A Washington Post article earlier this week pointed out that Steven Soderbergh not only just created The Laundromat for Netflix, but his film The Report is soon to drop on APV and he's just sold another movie to HBO Max.
Similarly, Ryan Murphy has a $300 million deal with Netflix, but also has a close relationship with Disney which houses Pose and American Horror Story. Shonda Rhimes has a $100 million deal with Netflix, but also has several primetime shows on Disney's ABC. JJ Abrams famously worked on Disney's Star Wars films, but also just signed with HBO Max and is working on a series for Apple TV+. And Jon Favreau is a Disney and Marvel stalwart, but he's also got shows at Netflix and Apple TV+.
In a world where everyone's fighting for our attention, it helps to have big names attached, so everyone's just sharing.
The problem, veteran producer Tom Nunan told the Post, is that "if everyone's chasing the same few names, where are the original voices, where's the space for green shoots to grow?"
Is it just me, or are horror movies boring as hell?
That's not even the worst of it though, because in other news this week it was revealed that intellectual property licensing specialist CMG Worldwide is "resurrecting" James Dean (via CGI) to star in a movie and not only that, they've merged with immersive content creation studio Observe Media to form Worldwide XR and do the same thing with scores of other long-dead celebs.
Together, the new company holds the rights for more than 400 celebrities, athletes and sports teams including the likes of Bettie Page, Burt Reynolds, Andre The Giant, Maya Angelou and more.
I have talked to friends about this for YEARS and no one ever believed me that the industry would stoop this low once tech got better. Publicity stunt or not, this is puppeteering the dead for their ‘clout’ alone and it sets such an awful precedent for the future of performance. https://t.co/elS1BrbDGv— Zelda Williams (@zeldawilliams) November 6, 2019
Their tagline? "Influencers will come and go, but legends will never die."
Well not if you don't bloody let them, they won't.
Let's skip over the idea that you can own the rights to a human being for a minute - that's a whole other column - and focus on the implication that anyone new on the scene is merely an "influencer". It's a dangerous thought in and of itself, and then to insist that quality requires names we are already familiar with, whether they're alive or not, is just plain offensive.
It's the same nonsense that has holographic versions of dead singers on tour and it's also the same idea that feeds into the current wave of nostalgia touring we're all swimming in now.
It's especially upsetting when there are people in Hollywood - Ava DuVernay's Array comes to mind - fighting every day to bring new talent into the fold and give them a platform.
What if the Saoirse Ronans and Timothee Chalamets of the world never got their shot? What if we didn't make room for Lorde or Aldous or any young person trying to do something new?
If we're relying on the same people to make the same content featuring the same faces we've always seen, then what's the point? How are we ever supposed to create change in terms of diversity and representation, to hear new stories from new viewpoints, to challenge ourselves and at the very least, to be entertained?
There's so much talent in the world; people waiting for their shot who, at this rate, will never get it because Hollywood thinks we want "James Dean 2.0".
So the trick now is for us as consumers to put our money where our mouths are and demand better.