Don Simpson: It’s all about the money

Don Simpson

Memo by Don Simpson on money in the film business

The pursuit of making money is the only reason to make movies.

We have no obligation to make history. We have no obligation to make art. We have no obligation to make a statement. Our obligation is to make money. And in order to make money, we must always make entertaining movies. A powerful idea is the heart of any successful movie. The creative premise is what first attracts people to the product. A good idea is one that seems imaginative, original. Seems in some way new and unique.

The power of the biggest blockbusters is that they come from out of nowhere and break new ground. In many cases a compelling idea may not be strictly original. But it will seem different and exciting for its time. The most distinctive quality of a strong concept is that it does not seem familiar. The appropriate star or cast is important. As are the contributions of the movie’s writer and director. But they are all secondary to the concept.

The success of a movie is unlikely if the basic concept lacks a spark of uniqueness. And a sympathetic protagonist who goes through a transforming experience the audience can relate to.


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