“Eventually I would imagine, I’m speaking as an observer, the studios will need to find their own platforms and create our own direct-to-consumer opportunities,” said 2oth Century Fox film boss Stacey Snider today at a UCLA confab about where the movie industry is headed. “It’s a vital conversation to be having, and we can all leave with saying that one-size-fits-all doesn’t work in today’s marketplace.”
“We have to expand our thinking to include more choices and options,” Snider, Fox’s chairman and CEO, pointed out in her panel discussion with Ken Ziffren during UCLA Law School’s 41st annual Entertainment Symposium. “We are facing increased competition for attention,” she said of the era of Peak TV and emergence of digital platforms. “I think it is inevitable that we will always be around, and that we will derive revenues from different sources,” she said, balancing the best of both possible futures for the industry.
With that, maybe the formal “Entertainment Madness: Keeping All The Balls In The Air” title of the two-day event at the Freud Playhouse was the best indication of where today’s keynote today was going to go. “In this feast-or-famine marketplace,” Snider bluntly admitted to Ziffren, “there is a choice and there’s road kill.”
“I do think there are going to be new products to be offered to people to watch moves at home — I do,” she said, half-joking with the LA Film Czar and to laughs from the crowd. He was trying to get her to jump more into the discussion about windowing in a Netflix and Amazon world. “I think it will be incremental revenue for us,” the self-described high-functioning introvert said more seriously. “We love our devices, but none of my devices are any good to me if I didn’t have good sh*t to watch,” she made clear.
In charge of Fox since taking over from Jim Gianopulos last summer, the UCLA Law School alum and former DreamWorks CEO also told the symposium audience that she tries to find a balance between tentpoles and smaller films on her slate.
“It’s not about the size or genre of the movie,” Snider said, as Fox still is riding the powerful wave of Logan at the box office. “I can love a movie like Deadpool or Kingsmen because we surprised ourselves as much as I can love a movie like The Revenant or Hidden Figures.”
“It does feel like the bigger studios have made bet on the bigger pictures, but I do feel there is an opportunity for other avenues,” she added. “We are committed to make a variety of films, but we have to ask ourselves about every picture, particularly the smaller ones: does this require seeing in a theater, is it cinematic?
It’s a question Fox has good answers for right now.
Coming right off the $464 million and growing worldwide gross success of Logan and the acclaim of Hidden Figures, and with Ridley Scott’s upcoming Alien: Covenant and Matt Reeves’ War For The Planet Of The Apes in its arsenal, Fox is looking well positioned in the tentpole universe. Then of course there are those James Cameron Avatar sequels and another Deadpool further down the line, among other projects.
The sequel of the unexpected Marvel’s Ryan Reynolds-led R-rated hit of last year got a shout-out from Snider as she and Ziffren discussed how she and her team plan their schedules and release dates. “Deadpool 2 will have more swagger to scare people off and choose a date than Deadpool 1,” Snider said of the weight tentpole sequels offer in a crowded marketplace.
The two-day UCLA symposium wraps this afternoon.