Director Martin Scorsese condemns Hollywood for how they heavily judge a movie’s value based on box office returns. Scorsese is one of the most renowned directors to ever star in cinema, with more than a few films on his resume that are considered classics. Films from the beginning of his career such as Cab driver and Raging Bull, are now routinely taught in film schools as examples of stellar character work and filmmaking. Scorsese is known for countless gangster movies that audiences still love and talk about, such as Goodfellas, Casino, the deceasedand the Irishman.
To date, Scorsese has nominated nine films for a Best Picture Academy Award, and has earned nine Best Director nominations. Unfortunately, to the dismay of many, he has only won Best Director once for the deceased, which also won Best Picture. However, many felt that his victory was far too late by the time he won. Still, Scorsese’s passion for cinema is well documented, with the director fighting to preserve what he loves about the medium while also occasionally denouncing what he sees as a hindrance to the arts, such as Marvel movies. Now the director expresses his concerns about the state of cinema and Hollywood.
During a speech at the New York Film Festival to introduce his documentary New York dolls in the clip shared by Ellen Houlihan, Scorsese opened up about how Hollywood’s reliance on box-office receipts is hurting cinema. He denounces Hollywood for judging a film’s success from a purely monetary position, which devalues the art on display. Scorsese even goes so far as to call it “repulsiveCheck out Scorsese’s comments below:
“Since the ’80s there has been a focus on numbers. It’s kind of repulsive. The cost of a movie is one thing. Understand that a movie costs a certain amount, they expect to at least get the amount back The focus is now on numbers, cost, opening weekend, how much it made in the US, how much it made in England, how much it made in Asia, how much it made around the world, how much viewership it got. As a filmmaker, and as a person who can’t imagine life without film, I always find it really insulting.I’ve always known that such considerations have no place at the New York Film Festival, and here’s the key too: There are no prizes. You don’t have to compete. You just have to love cinema here.”
Why Martin Scorsese is right about the box office
While Scorsese is known to have a passion for cinema as art, his comments contain some truth. The movies that generally make the most money at the box office are seen as a success, even if they are often not considered great movies. For example 2016 suicide squad has a Rotten score of 26% on Rotten Tomatoes, but made over $746 million worldwide, probably based on marketing and character recognition over quality. Also movies like Adam Sandler’s 2010 comedy Adults was also disliked by critics, but it managed to earn over $271 million worldwide on an $80 million budget, prompting the film to get a sequel. Even if movies are loved by critics, like The hangovermaking over $469 million worldwide, not many people would label the film art.
So while some, like movie studios, might disagree with Scorsese’s comments, the director has plenty of evidence to draw from. Even within his own filmography there are examples such as: Silence and Bringing out the dead, both of which were loved by critics but failed to impress in theaters much. Those movies were probably judged as failures by studios that may have lost money on them, but they live on as great pieces of artistic cinema, making Scorsese’s comments true. So while cinema currently relies on box office returns, filmmakers love Scorsese keep fighting for art in the medium.
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Source: Martin Scorsese/Ellen Houlihan