I’ve stopped being embarrassed about being in the film business, I really have. I’m not spending my days trying to make a weapon that kills people more efficiently—it’s an interesting business. But again, taking the 30,000 foot view, maybe nothing’s wrong, and maybe my feeling that the studios are kind of like Detroit before the bailout is totally insupportable. I mean, I’m wrong a lot. I’m wrong so much, it doesn’t even raise my blood pressure anymore. [laughter] Maybe everything is just fine. …But. Admissions, this is the number of bodies that go through the turnstile, tenyears ago: 1.52 billion. Last year: 1.36 billion. That’s a ten and a half percent drop. Why are admissions dropping? Nobody knows, not even Nate Silver. [laughter] Probably a combination of things: ticket prices, maybe, a lot of competition for eyeballs. There’s a lot of good TV out there. Theft is a big problem. Now I know this is a really controversial subject, but for people who think everything on the internet should just be totally free all I can say is “good luck.” When you try to have a life and raise a family living off something that you create… There’s a great quote from Steve Jobs:
“From the earliest days of Apple I realized that we thrived when we created intellectual property. If people copied or stole our software we’d be out of business. If it weren’t protected there’d be no incentive for us to make new software or product designs. If protection of intellectual property begins to disappear creative companies will disappear or never get started. But there’s a simpler reason: it’s wrong to steal. It hurts other people, and it hurts your own character.”
I do think… [applause] I agree. I agree with him. I think that what people go to the movies for has changed since 9/11. I still think the country is in some form of PTSD aboutthat event, and that we haven’t really healed in any sort of complete way, and that people are, as a result, looking more toward escapist entertainment. And look—I get it. There’s a very good argument to be made that only somebody who has it really good would want to make a movie that makes you feel really bad. People are working longer hours for less money these days, and maybe when they get in a movie, they want a break. I get it.