The Cannes Film Festival has become synonymous with with the glitz, glitter and excess money that the movie industry has been known for.
But this year, it looks like Cannes is also going through its own belt tightening measures to reflect the crisis that has cast a pall on the world economy. It’s safe to say that the business of entertainment is tiptoeing through this crisis just like other businesses.
Advance bookings for the film festival shows that there is a 15 percent drop in attendance. What this means is that there will be far fewer distributors on the lookout for films to buy and far fewer investors who would want to put their money on a movie — stocks in trade of the whole Cannes festival.
Things have become so surreal that Steven Spielberg is practically panhandling looking for investors for the now independent Dreamworks Studios, one of the more successful movie companies in Hollywood. Just the thought of Spielberg — arguably the most successful director in Hollywood history — begging for spare million dollars from investors sends shivers up my spine.
Because of the still bleak economic outlook, Hollywood is now adapting by lowering film budgets, down to 20 percent in some cases. This could mean Michael Bay may have to limit the cars he destroys in his next action movie from 60 to just 50 — the horror! But more alarming though is that there may be movies that may not see the light of day because the projected returns may not just be worth it. For this, the real losers are the art films and the independents that already make do with minuscule budgets and non-mainstream appeal.
Art does suffer during an economic crisis.