It’s a sure sign that pop culture is stuck in an endless loop. Speaking to investors yesterday, Viacom CEO Robert M. Bakish outlined the strategy for the company that owns MTV, Nickelodeon, TV Land, Paramount Pictures and other well-known media enterprises. It seems his plan is to build up new ideas for movies by using existing TV shows and nurturing new ones, rather than creating new movie ideas that stand along. In other words, Golden Girls II: The Wrath of Support Hose.
Furthering this idea, existing network Spike TV (which is still apparently on) will be rebranded as Paramount Network to remind everyone that Paramount is still part of the family too. This information all comes from TrekMovie which has been a reliable source in the past.
So, ok. I understand that making movies is incredibly expensive, and I understand that it’s just safer to make movies about people, things and ideas that already have a large audience. And, on the face of it, just because a movie comes originally from a TV show doesn’t automatically mean it’s bad. It just seems like it’s more likely it will be bad. And I get it, Paramount has not exactly had a string of hits in the theaters lately. No one has, except for Disney/Marvel.
And I understand this whole “synergy” thing and how it saves money and makes companies more productive. It just sort of feels like a copout and just an excuse to make movies that are nothing more than 2-hour TV shows. That’s fine I suppose because most of these will probably make their money from streaming and rental, not from sales, but I feel like Paramount could do better, that’s all.
But what do I know?
The one thing that’s certain is that there are far too many entertainment avenues out there today. With hundreds of TV channels, thousands of streaming channels, and millions of web sites, it’s hard to think about plopping down $15 a ticket and sitting still for two hours to watch a movie. I myself do it at most twice a year and it usually doesn’t end up being worth it. The movie industry, on the other hand, employs hundreds of thousands of people and has a right to try to figure out how to stay relevant in a world where videos can literally be plucked out of the air any time of the day or night. So it makes sense that Viacom is trying to make a go of it any way they can.
Just be ready for Crank Yankers: This Time It’s Collect. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.