2015 has been a year of box office records so far, with films like Jurassic Park, Furious 7, and Avengers: Age of Ultron racing to the billion-dollar mark. In spite of the commercial success we’ve seen this year, however, it’s up for debate whether 2015 can be considered a banner year for Hollywood. In a recent interview with The Independent, Oscar winner Dustin Hoffman made it clear that he’s less than impressed with the state of cinema right now.
“I think that it’s the worst that film has ever been — in the 50 years that I’ve been doing it, it’s the worst,” said Hoffman, whose first major role was in 1967’s The Graduate. He criticized Hollywood’s shrinking budgets and quick turnarounds, explaining, “It’s hard to believe you can do good work for the little amount of money these days. We did The Graduate and that film still sustains, it had a wonderful script that they spent three years on, and an exceptional director with an exceptional cast and crew, but it was a small movie, four walls and actors, that is all, and yet it was 100 days of shooting.”
Jurassic World, by comparison, was shot in 78 days, according to Empire, which is a striking comparison considering the sheer enormity of the film, with the addition of an exotic location. Shooting films more quickly has been a byproduct of multiple industry changes. Not only has new technology had a major impact, marketing costs have skyrocketed. In 2014, THR reported that marketing expenses have been rapidly inflating overall costs. With studios spending nearly as much (or more) as the film’s entire production budget, it’s understandable they’d face budget constraints when it comes to the actual shoot.
Unfortunately, as Hoffman indicates, that may come at a cost to viewers looking for films with more substance. Based on the huge number of reboots, sequels, and adaptations we’ve seen in recent years, studios seem to be much more willing to direct their dollars to films with preexisting audiences. While this means we get more nostalgia, we may also continue to see fewer original projects, seeing as they are a greater financial risk. All of this could result in a decrease in variety, and possibly quality, for moviegoers.
There is a slight consolation, though: Like many actors and directors, Hoffman believes that television is currently at its best.