In many ways, the streamers [like Netflix and Amazon] have been rebuilding Hollywoodâ€™s old studio system. That system, which lasted roughly from the 1920s to the 1950s, was powered by vertical integration. Major studios like Paramount or Warner Bros. didnâ€™t just own a bunch of soundstages, but also the theater chains that screened their movies, meaning they had complete control over every aspect of a movieâ€™s creationâ€”a straight line down from film production to distribution to exhibition.
Even the sharp corners of ostensibly “bad” moves are being rounded over:
Critic Judy Berman argues in The Baffler, for instance, that the internet and the larger â€œstreaming voidâ€ it perpetuates have slowly been killing the cult film, the â€œscruffy, desperately original, and intermittently brilliant works of transgressive artâ€ once enjoyed communally on the midnight circuit, but now cynically engineered for social media engagement, Ã la Sharknado. Naturally, itâ€™s not just the makers of would-be Rocky Horrors who are suffering.
Although she mentions the creative financing that powered Irving Levin’s distribution of Ida Lupino’s Filmmakers movies, she misses the opportunity to comment on the similar pattern shown by The Cannon Group during its ownership by Golan and Globus.