Universal Cruising

June 23, 2017


It must be a cinch to work at Universal Pictures these days. You show up, you occasionally give a half-hearted pitch for an original movie idea that your buddy showed you, but that will surely be shot down in favor of an unnecessary sequel to an existing franchise, you rely on foreign markets to pay for poor-quality movies, you let more passionate artists generate movies for you, and you pretend like you are important.

Whew! What a full, productive day!

The whole thing could probably be run by an IT guy, a Webmaster, and a decision-maker. They wouldn’t even need to own a lot anymore. Just make the true movie-makers go out and find their locations and lend a little rental cash to them.

I love me some classic Universal, and their existing library is enormous. However, just a glimpse at their upcoming lineup reveals unnecessary sequel after unnecessary sequel.

Even the original titles look like sequels of older movies. Hangover 4 Girls Trip, James Bond Puts On A Blond Wig Atomic Blonde, Mission Impossible: Smuggling Protocol American Made, Source Code 2: Murdered Happy Death Day, Hurt Locker 2 Thank You For Your Service, and Gorky Park 2: The Scarf The Snowman.

Sequels, sequels everywhere! So what do you need a lot of people for? To use up space and take all your revenue as paychecks. You really only need one decision-maker to decide on all those sequels. Meanwhile, there’s a whole lot of employees at Universal Pictures who think they are important little cogs in the machine.

I would enjoy being a fly on the wall in the boardroom when someone realizes that the foreign movie market has grown sophisticated and will no longer “rescue” movies that aren’t made well. Of course, this being a bureaucracy, they won’t make that realization until 10 years after it happens, and they will already have been hemorrhaging money to the point of absolute poverty.

A story as old as time: An old, established institution struggles to survive by mimicking competition and repeating formerly-profitable habits until it will inevitably be eaten alive by a younger, hungrier competitor. Ouch.