I figure if we're gonna discuss the Hollywood Reporter article, let's actually link to it: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/warner-bros-eyes-slimmed-down-movie-budgets-under-toby-emmerich-1015390
Regarding my thoughts on the announcement, to be honest, I don't completely hate this. Not completely. Yes, it sucks that the only big budget, flashy movies we'll be getting for quite some time might be from cinematic universes, tentpole entries in franchises and what not, but I'm not too fussed about that. Those are the movies that everyone knows are going to do well, so it makes sense to give them the freedom to do what they want (well, I say 'freedom', even though there'll be re-shoots, rewrites, changes to make the work inoffensive enough to appeal to general audiences, and all the usual guff that makes me detest these sort of films).
Besides, I gladly admit to having no expectations for these kind of films getting better. When they're making billions and pleasing audiences just for doing what is (in the world of 'you-can-do-anything-when-backed-by-billionaire-corporations-with-near-endless-amounts-of-resources'
film-making) the bare minimum, why bother changing how they operate? Besides, the bitterly humorous side in me hopes this fosters more resentment towards these films and helps to lead to their eventual death kneel in a few years from now, so there's one upside of superhero/franchise/universe films getting better treatment than everyone else, yet again.
But more than anything, I'm actually in support of the idea of trying to reduce budgets on projects without guaranteed success. No, really. Hear me out.
It's always baffled me, in a manner similar to the video game industry, how so many of these projects have such a high budget (for what they're trying to do, at any rate) that they need to make a ludicrous amount of money at the box office to just break even
, let alone actually make any proft. And when you've got at least five or ten over-budgeted movies in production at any time, it's truly a wonder some studios haven't gone the way of THQ or Midway by now. But that's still not a good way to operate, and I'm in favor of doing whatever needs to be done to prevent (or at least reduce) frivolous spending on films that don't need it. If you can ensure that X film can still do what it needs to do at only half of the production cost without suffering for it, then do it.
Secondly, I'm also interested in the idea of a lot of people now having to deal with more tangible production constraints. It's often said that limitations breed creativity, and while it's likely NOT going to happen, I would really like to see some film-makers attempt to become more creative in how they make their film:"You don't have the money to pull off this rather pointless action scene, so why not choose to merely show glimpses or the aftermath of this battle and make it more effective?"
"You've got 30 seconds of conversation between two people, so instead of shooting multiple shots that you can't afford, just go with one well framed shot that features both characters and says more through the framing than what you'd normally do."
"You wanna do a big action film with ridiculous gunfights, explosions and tanks? If you're not a big-name director, you better look into getting this animated; and it'll have to be 2D animated, since CGI's waaaaaaay beyond our allotted budget!"
I'll happily admit to being over-optimistic on this one (especially since it's possible that film-makers will just double down on making competent scripts and little else, much like what Hanna-Barbera and their contemporaries did when animation came to television in the late 50's/early 60's), but I may as well take something positive out of this.