Ever notice how blatantly the entertainment conglomerates force themselves into our lives? Of course you do, how could you miss it? Take Blockbuster and the endless ads hocking the latest made-for-profit-extravaganza. They cater to the lowest common denominator by carrying big budget Hollywood crap. Stock thirty copies of every lame-brained two-hour remake of TV shows that weren’t even watchable when they were first on the air. Just put Will Smith in it boys, team him up with Owen Wilson and an animated condom! It’ll sell!
On top of this, Blockbuster has the right to censor anything in its stores for inappropriate content. This might be alright for a Remake of the Beverly Hillbillies (Goldangit, Granny’s dress is too revealing in that shot!), because you can watch the majority of them with your eyes closed and your fingers in your ears and still not miss anything. But in a well made movie movie, you might need to be able to follow the plot without big brother telling you what you’re allowed to see.
Of course this is dependent on who made the film. Its fine to see a naked woman tortured to her grisly death if the film was financed by Disney, but if Lloyd Kaufman was to show a fake melon head full of hamburger and food colouring explode, he’s out of luck. Not that they would carry his films in the first place.
This brings me to my point; Blockbuster is owned by Viacom. Viacom also owns Paramount Pictures, as well as Famous Music, DreamWorks, Republic Pictures, MTV Films, CBS, Nickelodeon Movies, Go Fish Pictures, Comedy Central…I’m not getting carpal tunnel syndrome over this, lets just they ain’t hurting. They also have numerous tie-ins with other conglomerates in industry, media, agriculture, energy and finance.
Now Lets say Viacom wants to make another bajillion dollars so everyone can buy new Range Rovers. First they tell some sap to write a movie about the first thing he finds in the June, 1973 issue of TV Guide. If he doesn’t have one handy he bases it on whatever video game he’s playing. Just make sure that whatever its about somebody can make it into a toy, dammit! Paramount makes the movie. They bombard the airwaves with commercials, put up billboards, the stars get interviewed incessantly on the evening news and we get to discover what kind of tricycle handsome douchebag of the week rode when he was a toddler. Out of nowhere the title track becomes a hit song, and the soundtrack sells like crazy even though the movie hasn’t been released yet.
The next step is to put all the cute little dolls and cups and toys in McDonald’s and Burger King. The Kids lap it up, buy more greasy food, go see the movie and buy more merchandise. These are the folks who pay the salaries of the talking fish and surfing penguins which never seem to get old.
The next time you’re watching the beatle biography of the week, or their bi-weekly incredibly relevant story on the news, remember its not a happy-go-lucky moptop footing the bill for it. The beatles didn’t sell out, they were a pre-packaged commodity that became more popular than the Pet Rock. They may have had something to say, but it was diluted with a bag of beatle hair out of a beatles lunchbox.
Think who the target market is, and who’s holding the gun.