Wednesday, January 14, 2015

10 reasons movie box office numbers are down

What's wrong with the movies?
10 things to fix to bring back the audiences

Ticket sales, admission to movies is down. In January 2015 Variety ran a story,
Box Office Drops 5% in 2014: What’s Behind the Fall. "Audiences cooled to Hollywood offerings, voting with their feet as attendance dropped by an estimated 6% to 1.26 billion, the lowest figure in nearly two decades." You'll find similar articles in Forbes, The Hollywood Reporter, USA Today, other periodicals and their corresponding web sites.

People aren't so happy with the films they're seeing. What can new filmmakers, indie film-makers, screenwriters, actors and producers take away from the remarks of the film-going public to consider when crafting your next film? What's the goal? An award, a blockbuster? Who is your audience? 

Here are comments from movie patrons, problems they see in movies and reasons for the slump in attendance.  

1) People want more true characters and genuine humor. True reflections of human life. 

"They are tired of seeing themselves ridiculed and burlesqued.  If the public grows weary of motion pictures it will be for the reason that they do not appeal to the best in us. We prefer to laugh with not at the screen characters. Fewer imitations of hits."

People in Jack-in-the-Box costumes hand out candy
2) Predictability of plots, themes. "Continued foisting upon audiences of threadbare and ill-chosen plots which would in story form be rejected by almost any magazine. ... Old tricks are resorted to, logical outcomes distorted.  ...

"What fun is there in going to pictures when you know in the first five minutes not only how the story will end but all the phases  through which it will pass before reaching that end? 

"When you can shut your eyes and see how the hero and heroine will look and when, if you were not too self-conscious, you could give beforehand a demonstration of their reactions to all emotions brought into play?" 

3) Poor quality of films, over-sentimentality. Movies that underrate the intelligence of the audience. "Bad stories, shallowness of theme, sameness, standardized movie stories. People have seen too many good films to like the crude, disjointed, falsely sentimental films."

4) Need substance over thrills and effects. "Want more true characterizations and genuine humor. True reflections of human life rather than sensations, thrills and effects. 

"People cannot react forever to thrills. Something else is needed, something built on the deeper desires of human nature. As a child outgrows the merry-go-round, so does the adult. With movie vision matured, reject that which only thrills for that which satisfies."

Lance Out Loud
Includes moving essays by his family,
friends and colleagues
The Loud Family
TV's first Reality Show?
5) "The public is to blame for much of the trash that is being foisted upon it. The producers know the wants of the paying public and play up to their demands. The masses refuse to think therefore have not learned as yet to discriminate and the result is obvious." 

Movie makers appeal to the masses, to their pocketbooks.

6) Unemployment. People can't afford luxuries like going to the movies, going out to dinner. People can remember when a whole family could afford to go to the movies. Now you're more likely to find another type of entertainment or see a movie in a different venue where admission is cheaper.

7) High admission charges. Pair this with the fact that so many people are either unemployed of dealing with pay cuts, additional expenses associated with going to a movie, babysitter, gas prices, maybe a meal or theater refreshments. 

"The people of my town have been disappointed too many times by High priced pictures when they were no better than the one the previous night for half the price. The much advertised stars or at least many of them do not earn the high salaries they receive and for which the public must pay."

8) Hollywood Scandal. "Newspapers delight in publishing stories and statements detrimental to the characters of our favorite friends of the screen causing some
patrons to become disgusted. ...
Gloria Swanson William Holden
Sunset Boulevard 8x10"
"The fierce light of publicity that is brought to bear on the frailties of movie folks, following the recent scandals and the affection and regard felt by the public for their heroes and heroines cooled markedly. ...

"Tales of scandals of people in motion pictures, elevation to stardom of some men and women obviously unprepared by either training or experience for such positions."

9) Competition from other media. Movies aren't the only leisure activity
We can stream movies on TV,
project them outdoors

10) The unrest and dissatisfaction in the world today is affecting pictures. "When the soul is not at peace with itself everything is wrong. If the public knows not what it wants how can the producer know? ... 

"The public really wants truth at any cost, though it doesn't know it. It is tired of extravagances, popular actors, improbable situations. It seems to me in the effort to please everything has been overdone made unreal and unconvincing."

Some say that film-making is a business vs. an art. Do you agree, disagree or think it's impossible to make such an apples and oranges statement?

As you may have guessed these excerpts are not from a contemporary source. They're comments made from movie fans over 90 years ago. These come from a 1922 Photoplay magazine. "The public diagnoses the illness in the motion picture theater box office and prescribes remedies." 

A contest was run for film buffs, if that term may be used for moviegoers and readers of movie industry & fan magazines of that era. The contest asked people to write editorials which were perhaps the closest thing 1922 had to blog posts. It was a way for the public to get their voices heard.

Radio was competing with movies in 1922. Radio provided more than music, there were dramas and comedies, serialized programs featuring film stars which aired on a regular basis. This was partly to publicize the movies of course.

There were game shows and in-depth news programs, soap operas, sports and children's programs. Fans could see some movies for a cheaper price in schools and churches. 

They would later say television killed the movies, the internet killed print media, altered the way we watch television.... We're seeing a resurgence of vinyl LPs though. The good old typewriter is still out there.

There will always be competition. There will always be a struggle to create good stories and a struggle to get stories produced.  Give the public what they want? What do you think?

Related Pages of Interest:

Irving Thalberg's Ten Commandments for Choosing a Story The iconic producer's Ten Commandments for Studio Readers. He distributed them early in his tenure at MGM

The William Castle Story: Scream for Relief

National Film Registry Save the Films- These Amazing Shadows

Was Katharine Hepburn Box Office Poison?

A Good Cry, Off-Camera Musicians help Actors shed tears needed for scenes  

James Mason on The Burns & Allen Show

Lance Out Loud, Reality TV 1973, "Television ate my family"

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Famous Actresses with Red Hair

Famous Redheads: Actresses with Red Hair

1931 Clara Bow 1931 No Limit with 
Norman Foster, Dixie Lee,
Stuart Erwin, Thelma Todd

12 Classic Redhead Actresses
Maureen O'Hara
Clara Bow
Myrna Loy
Susan Hayward
Deborah Kerr
Jeanette MacDonald
Greer Garson
Ann Sheridan
Arlene Dahl
Piper Laurie
Rhonda Fleming 
Agnes Moorehead

Clara Bow was famous as the "It girl" in the silent movies of the 1920s

In 1959, Arlene Dahl, mother of actor Lorenzo Lamas, starred in the campy science fiction film Journey to the Center of the Earth. Her costars included James Mason, Pat Boone and a loyal acting pet duck named Gertrud. Love the now steampunk aspects of the environment, costume and props.

Henry Winkler and Greer Garson 1978 Oscars: Star Wars Wins Art Direction

Greer Garson 8x10" Photo

13 More Modern Actresses with Red Hair
Bryce Dallas Howard
Tilda Swinton; signed
The Chronicles of Narnia
8X10 Photo Autographed

Angie Everhart
Reba McEntire
Julianne Moore
Marcia Cross
Marg Helgenberger
Tilda Swinton
Jane Asher
Sissy Spacek
Nicole Kidman
Lindy Booth
Shirley MacLaine

Reba McEntire is well known as a singer and songwriter as well as being an actress.

Bryce Howard is one of the daughters of Cheryl Howard and husband actor/director Ron Howard. She had the memorable role as Hilly Holbrook in The Help. Another fabulous red-headed actress Sissy Spacek played her mom. The movie also starred Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer.

Katharine Hepburn appeared on The Dick Cavett Show 1973

 11 Actresses with auburn, strawberry blonde hair
Judy Garland
Ginger Rogers
Katharine Hepburn
Mary Astor
Billie Burke
Norma Shearer
Miriam Hopkins
Alexis Smith
Dorothy Dalton
Una Merkel
Sally Eilers

Actresses known for their red hair; said to be dyed
Rita Hayworth
Lucille Ball
Jeanne Crain

1920s-30s star Alice White was known for having blonde hair while she was really a redhead

Redhead Revolution
line of makeup and skin care

Related Pages of Interest

Personalize your home for your coloring; Decor tips to Personalize your home Redheads

Middle Child Jan Brady's Wig: Jan Brady gets to the root of her self esteem issues after a famous wig-out; Brady Bunch Costumes [currently being revised]

Please note: Information from multiple sources, online and print.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Personalize your home for your coloring

Decor tips to Personalize your home

Here are some ideas for your home using the wonderful red-haired actress Maureen O'Hara as an example. If you're a redhead, this article is especially for you. Just like fashion, your home can complement your look. 

Maureen O'Hara 24x36 Poster
was born in Ireland. She's known for standout performances in famous swashbuckling films with actors such as Errol Flynn, Tyrone Power and Charles Laughton. 

She starred in Miracle on 34th Street, How Green Was My Valley, Jamaica Inn. Too many fine films to count. In 1991 she appeared in Only the Lonely with John Candy.

A few magazine articles dated 1941-1956 either described and/or included photographs of Miss O'Hara's home. She was married to Will Price 1941-1953. He was from Mississippi. Their daughter, Bronwyn was born in 1944 and I believe that the family moved at least once during this time period. She has a fun, dynamic personality and she updated her decor when she pleased.

Her home wasn't midcentury modern with retro furniture -- her homes were actually mid-century. These stars can give you ideas for your home.

In 1941, she talks about furnishing a home as a new bride, mentioning an assortment of possible creative Irish gifts of the era. "Every Irish bride starts out with twelve apostle spoons one each having a figure of an apostle on its handle. At a high tea you put a spoon in each saucer. But you can't get them over here."
Ancestry, Heritage: Celebrate yours, your partner's. How are they similar, different?

Miss O'Hara is very proud of her Irish heritage. She displays not only the flag in her home, but when St. Patrick's Day rolls around she celebrates with a feast and a big party. She remembered superstitions from the old country.

Heirlooms: Recognize your own family's history

Sentimental trophies filled
Maureen's cabinets.
O"Hara poses with
Ireland Harp Flag
Winged Maiden; her
Irish clay pipes displayed
The top of her wedding cake and a sprig from her wedding bouquet are side by side.

Then there's a tiny carved elephant from a Woolworth store in Ireland. It was given to Maureen when she was 11 by her best girl friend.

She has framed items, documents from her husband's Southern ancestry share such as Confederate bonds passed down from his grandfather.

Display pieces of personal collections 

Acquire items in Special and Unique ways

* When you Travel
In her dining room is "an exquisite Georgian table which came from Slane Castle Maureen got it at an auction on her recent trip to Ireland. Every time she goes back to the old country." 

* Items passed down through the family can find a meaningful new life in your home

* Shop Auctions; Antique, specialty shops and retail outlets 

"Maureen is determined to stalk through antique shops until she finds the
missing parts of the dining set."

"The plaid draperies in the pine-paneled library are from Sears, Roebuck and Co. They harmonize with the hand-me-down furniture."

Maureen O'Hara Living Room 1950
There's more to your environment than what we readily see. The fire, the music, the mood. Making people comfortable.

"There are rafters in the living room, a grand open fireplace usually merrily
Maureen O'Hara 24X36 Poster
1940's Stunning in Green
crackling with a good blaze, a piano spread with Irish music and comfortable, lived-in-looking furniture in soft greens and tans."

DIY, repurpose items, don't leave things in boxes!

Because it got cold at night in California, they had their open porch aka their lanai, enclosed with glass and then furnished. Don't let space go unused or rarely used.

"One day I was rummaging around the storage basement and I came across four solid bedposts and a needlepoint bench that Will has picked up in a Mississippi antique shop. My first impulse was to use them with their mahogany finish. But Will didn't like it, so I had them painted green!" (1949)

Friends John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara made a number of films together

Colors are very important
O'Hara is a redhead.  Why do redheads look so great in green?  

1948 hand-crocheted linens
Irish symbols
Because green and red are true complementary colors, hues that lie on opposite ends of the spectrum, notes George Brescia in the book, Change Your Clothes, Change Your Life: Because You Can't Go Naked. 

When looking at color charts, planning furniture placement, considering paints, wall coverings, etc for your home, don't forget to think about what will suit you best, too.

Maureen and her painter decided on sea-green for the walls of the master
1950 sea-green walls, spread
painted four poster bed
bedroom and a sea-green bedspread. (Sea green is her most becoming shade, the writer notes.) The color is restful and warm. It doesn't show smudges yet it's soft enough for a woman's room. (1949)

"When Maureen wears a hostess gown to one of her own dinner parties she makes sure that it blends with the green. Many actresses, in fact, know the trick of matching their clothes to their environment." 

Film art directors and set designers would probably tell you that they take their lead actors into consideration when staging the sets. 
1956 Miss O'Hara bedroom
Just as you dress to complement your complexion, eye color and figure you are the jewel and your home is your environment. The same theories can be used to accent your house whether it's the paint/wall coverings, furniture and accent pieces. 

A 1956 article about the now-single O'Hara shows a couple of photos of her bedroom. The bed is different but similar. The room appears to be a brighter shade of green but there's no way to tell considering how old photos, scans and then reproductions on different screens can be misleading.

In 1948, Jeanette MacDonald and husband, Gene Raymond had a green living room. McDonald was also known for her red hair.
Related Books, Pages of Interest:

The homes of Old Hollywood Stars Put personality in your home: Blonde actress Carole Lombard had a Blue Room, "designed so that Carole looks her best and every other woman (with different coloring) looks her worst."

Wisecracker: The Life and Times of William Haines, Hollywood's First Openly Gay Star 

Class Act: William Haines Legendary Hollywood Decorator by Peter Schifnado and Jean H. Mathison   

'Tis Herself: An Autobiography by Maureen O'Hara

Famous Actresses with red hair