Podcast / The Time of Monsters / Jun 9, 2024

Hollywood’s Blockbuster Crisis

On this episode of The Time of Monsters, Daniel Bessner discusses what corporate monopolies are doing to the dream factory.

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Hollywood’s Blockbuster Crisis | Time of Monsters with Jeet Heer
byThe Nation Magazine

On this episode of The Time of Monsters, Jeet Heer and Daniel Bessner discuss what corporate monopolies are doing to the dream factory.

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People at a movie theater.

(Sean Gallup / Getty Images)

The summer season has started with a fizzle for Hollywood, as expected hits like The Fall Guy, and Furioso have far underperformed their expectations. This isn’t a matter of a few films. Over the last few years, Hollywood is discovering that audiences are no longer reliably willing to buy tickets for the action adventure franchises that are the mainstay of the film industry. In particular, the once-dominant superhero genre is now fizzling. Adding to the troubles of Tinsel Town is the fact that streaming services, long touted as the future revenue model for the industry, are being squeezed by falling profits and rising interest rates.

Historian Daniel Bessner wrote a lengthy survey of Hollywood’s woes for the May issue of Harper’s Magazine. His account gives particular focus to political economy: the way government regulations and unions once made Hollywood a hospitable home for culture workers and how this has been undermined by the rise of private equity and monopolies. Daniel joins the podcast to talk about the movie industry and its discontents.

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Jeet Heer

Jeet Heer is a national affairs correspondent for The Nation and host of the weekly Nation podcast, The Time of Monsters. He also pens the monthly column “Morbid Symptoms.” The author of In Love with Art: Francoise Mouly’s Adventures in Comics with Art Spiegelman (2013) and Sweet Lechery: Reviews, Essays and Profiles (2014), Heer has written for numerous publications, including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, The American Prospect, The GuardianThe New Republic, and The Boston Globe.

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