Not Breaking News: Disney doesn't think too highly of scripts for their blockbusters
Andy Hendrickson, Chief Technical Officer at Disney, said last week what we all pretty much knew: story is bullshit. Hendrickson, who works at the studio that recently churned out ALICE IN WONDERLAND, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES and TRON: LEGACY, was speaking at the Siggraph, the computer graphics conference, earlier this month. Somewhere during the course of his talk, he dropped some truth bombs on the audience.
"People say 'It's all about the story,'" Hendrickson said, adding, "When you're making tentpole films, bullshit." This may be something that we as movie fans and critics of not-very-good movies can say with relative ease and frequency. But for an executive at a movie studio to admit this publicly?
Hendrickson didn't stop there. He went on to admit that ALICE "isn't very good" but the "visual spectacle" and the casting of Johnny Depp brought people in droves. His bottom line? Studios should be releasing more tentpoles.
I'll give you a few minutes to bang your head on your desk.
His talk was ostensibly about digital production but he somehow veered into the weird admission that they don't care about scripts or story for their big-budget movies. Remember: Disney shit-canned THE LONE RANGER not because it had story issues (which from what little we know about it - werewolves?... - it had in spades) but because it cost too much money. Money. That's what it's all about.
The sad truth here is that Hendrickson is right. Story doesn't matter because we, the audience, don't demand that it matters. ALICE IN WONDERLAND did make over $1 billion worldwide despite most people agreeing it was pretty awful. It'll be easy to rip on Hendrickson in the Strike Backs below (and by all means, have at it) but at the end of the day, he's just a guy with a calculator, some research and a fancy spreadsheet. We gave him the data. It's our fault.