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Nice analysis, Matt. Films are a blend of art and commerce and your article touches on what I believe is a key difference in the finance of blockbuster filmmaking vs. independant filmmaking. Market research has shown that the average filmgoer (ie a person that is not a cinephile or genre fan) only goes to the theater a certain number of times in a year. Increase the number of films released and this number doesn't move. Therefore Hollywood has moved toward putting more eggs in fewer baskets to ensure butts in seats. To offset the risk of this approach the studios must continually make "must see" films. Smaller films also care about making money, of course, but with small or non-existant marketing budgets they realize that their viewers must meet them half-way. Smaller films are often forced to take more risks, but these bold filmmaking choices can help to generate buzz that takes the place of marketing. Blockbusters and indies are both operating intelligently but they're aiming at two very different markets.

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