Is there such a thing as the British film industry? Screenwriter Jonathan Gems argues that it actually died years ago, when the old subsidy system - known as the Eady levy - was abolished. What remains is essentially a Hollywood service industry. The free market, says Gems, works for lots of industries, but not in this particular case. He favours the French interventionist model. I don’t know enough about the finances to argue whether he’s right or wrong. (Ask my accountant what he thinks of my money skills.) Anyone else have any other suggestions? Here’s the crux of it:

France, despite constant howls of rage from the US government, continues to protect its film industry. By law, foreign companies are precluded from owning a greater than 70 per cent share of the French market. This guarantees 30 per cent of the movies released in France are French. French filmgoers complain about this because most French films are crap - they'd rather see more American ones. What they don't understand is: you have to make bad films to make good ones. Of the hundred-or-so French films released each year, about 90 are bad - which is why the French get so pissed off. But the French industry's hit ratio (approximately 10 per cent) is much better than Hollywood's.

America makes about 2,000 movies a year, of which about 460 are released, out of which 50 are profitable. America's hit ratio is only 2.5 per cent. The French government knows its industry is four times more successful than Hollywood's, but because Hollywood makes 2,000 movies a year, and France only 100, the playing field is not level. So, legislation is used to adjust it. Without this adjustment, French films would be destroyed - and destroyed unfairly.

|||Clive|||http://clivedavis.blogspot.com/2005/04/movies-2-is-there-such-thing-as.html|||4/19/2005 02:29:00 pm|||||||||