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The Big Picture

The Fight for the Future of Movies
By: Ben Fritz
Narrated by: Timothy Andrés Pabon
Length: 9 hrs and 44 mins
5 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The stunning metamorphosis of twenty-first-century Hollywood and what lies ahead for the art and commerce of film

In the past decade, Hollywood has endured a cataclysm on a par with the end of silent film and the demise of the studio system. Stars and directors have seen their power dwindle, while writers and producers lift their best techniques from TV, comic books, and the toy biz. The future of Hollywood is being written by powerful corporate brands like Marvel, Amazon, Netflix, and Lego, as well as censors in China.

Ben Fritz chronicles this dramatic shakeup with unmatched skill, bringing equal fluency to both the financial and entertainment aspects of Hollywood. He dives deeply into the fruits of the Sony hack to show how the previous model, long a creative and commercial success, lost its way. And he looks ahead through interviews with dozens of key players at Disney, Marvel, Netflix, Amazon, Imax, and others to discover how they have reinvented the business. He shows us, for instance, how Marvel replaced stars with “universes”, and how Disney remade itself in Apple’s image and reaped enormous profits.

But despite the destruction of the studios’ traditional playbook, Fritz argues that these seismic shifts signal the dawn of a new heyday for film. The Big Picture shows the first glimmers of this new golden age through the eyes of the creative mavericks who are defining what our movies will look like in the new era.

©2018 Ben Fritz (P)2018 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

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The Best Book on Film I've Ever Read

Simply loved this book. The future of film as laid out by Ben Fritz was a page turner from start to finish. Using the Sony emails as a basis for a book on the film industry was a brilliant idea. Many insights because of this. In a very entertaining book. Would recommend to any film fan.

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  • Joshua C.
  • 01-11-2018

And now you know!

Loved the insight, and the perspective on modern Hollywood. Also enjoyed the author's choice of material from the Sony hack.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • KIRAN J PHILIP
  • 06-08-2018

A modern history book of movies

Amazing book.
Very well researched and written
Unique perspective of modern day TV and movies
Highly recommend to anyone with an interest in the movie business

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Carl
  • 07-07-2018

Best book I have heard in a while.

I loved it. The only issue I had was that every mention of "Warner Bros" was pronounced just like that... Warner Bros rather than Warner Brothers. Made it sound like hipsters rather than a legendary movie studio. Otherwise a stellar book and an amazing performance.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Sean May
  • 19-08-2019

Good book, distracting narration

Overall, the book is a good look at the current state of Hollywood along with an interesting peek at the changes being brought about with the Chinese influence over the industry, both in more Hollywood movies making huge sums of their box office in China, but perhaps even more critically, the influence of Chinese companies investing in Hollywood films.

My main issue with the book was the narrator. While his voice is as professional and smooth as other pro narrators, he mispronounces so many words and names that it can be distracting. Nobody calls the studio 'Warner Bros' even though it's written that way. Cameron Diaz is pronounced as "die-az" which I've never heard, and when referring to the Sony game series Uncharted, the narrator calls it 'Unchartered' at least twice. The narrator also has a strange habit of straining odd parts of sentences that can be a little distracting as well.

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  • Jon
  • 31-07-2019

Best overview of the current film industry!

This book is so spot on to the modern film industry, I learned more in this one book than most of my film classes.

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  • Admiralu
  • 27-04-2019

The New Reality is Already Here

<strong>The New Reality is Already Here</strong>

The title of this book is somewhat interesting, since the fight is pretty much over. A number of studios are facing the reality that consumers have choices for entertainment. Art-house films the Academy loves, the public does not. Viewership has fallen dramatically.

Author Ben Fritz has done a great job of reporting on the Sony pictures back and state of several studios facing the difficult fact that public tastes in films at the box office have changed. Films that once dominated the box office, now are watched through other mediums of they are seen at all. A number of films made in the last few years are simply not good and theater going has become more expensive, so many people are more selective of what they see at the multiplex. The author makes a (wrong in many cases) assumption that a majority of people are bemoaning the lack of certain types of films. Hence there is a woe is me, the adult focused films aren't popular as they used to be. Each generation changes, what your parents loved may not be what you love. The public is deciding what they want, no longer studio heads in most cases.

The most popular films are noted in this book as franchise films. I believe the author is missing the point as to why "event" films are ruling the box office. I am old enough to remember a time before Star Wars. When geeks who loved comic book, sci-fi and superhero didn't have the films we wanted to see. Star Wars shocked the industry because it was the type of film millions wanted to see that was not being made. Marvel Studios is another example. Marvel makes good movies. Their showrunner is a fan and makes films for fellow fans. Just throwing up a film with costumes is not going to work, as rival studios have seen. The audience for these films is so large because these films speak to fans. Many studios had (and some still haven't) to learn the power of fandom the hard way. We are passionate about what we love, we share it with friends and family and we are a "force" to be reckoned with. Many of the elitist snobs refuse to recognize that popular films can have great stories that touch people like their beloved art-house films do for their audience. They have film festivals and we have conventions. Outside of the constant bemoaning of the lack of film type that used to be popular, this was a good book. I read this book using immersion reading while listening to the audiobook. Narrator Timothy Pabon's beautiful voice perfectly fit this work. Any doubts as to the power of fandom were dispelled as Avengers End Game broke Fandangos presale ticket record and box office records galore. And we still have Star Wars Rise of Skywalker coming in December. We will be looking forward to the new Disney streaming service that Netflix will need to work hard to compete.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-04-2019

Seems like the audiobook was rushed

Content of the book is very good and informative. I will say that Ben Fritz can be overly dismissive of things he doesnt like (Adam Sandler films did well on dvd because of fraternity brothers and stoners, a pretty dismissive view of the Chinese, and constantly reminding us that one of the big Netflix guys started as a college dropout managing a video store).
Tim Pabon is only ok. I have no problem with him referring to Warner Brothers as Warner Brothers, Warners, and Warner Bros. Which are used interchangeably. Dont know why people have jumped on that. It does seem like they should have used some more takes (a pause before the reading of a difficult last name like its the first time hes reading it, last names changing [Pascall becomes Pascull a couple times], words mispronounced, and a couple chuckles while reading that dont fit what he is saying. It comes off at times as a first read through instead of a polished piece.
Great book, ok audiobook.

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  • NYCSF2014
  • 23-03-2019

Sony, Disney & The Bro's

If you can get past the narrator repeatedly pronouncing Warner Bros. as "Warner Bro's" instead of "Warner Brothers" then a decent, focused case study of the present day movie business begins to emerge. The majority of the book focuses on the unraveling of Sony Pictures as its execs begrudgingly give up star driven movies for the enormously profitable "cinematic universe" model pioneered by Disney's acquisition of Marvel Studios. With further examples from the Lego movie franchise and Amazon's foray into the indie film world, and China's role in the new Hollywood. Fritz highlights the key risks and rewards that a modern day film studio has to take on in order to balance creativity, profitability, and cultural relevance.

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  • Tom Barreiros
  • 11-03-2019

Great story for anyone interested in Hollywood.

I loved the themes of dmtrying to discover the future of Hollywood. Its a great story

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  • Anonymous User
  • 17-01-2019

Very entertaining book

I was very impressed by this book and highly recommending it to movie buffs. Great entertainment.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-02-2019

Interesting topic marred by annoying narration

The narrator has seemingly never had to read words in a foreign language or heard anyone pronounce Warner Brothers. The mispronunciation of Warner Brothers really started to gate the further I got into the book

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  • S Marshall
  • 29-11-2018

I Don’t Like Change

Nutshell: Ben Fritz has a very specific notion of what Films are and now that reality is drifting away from that, he is scared.

It is clear Fritz has been seduced by the Hollywood Producers he studied for writing this book (Amy Pascal in particular). He conveys most things Hollywood from their point of view, which is as interesting as it is irritating.

It is clear Fritz has very little respect for Writers, TV, Comic Book Movies, and a variety of other popular genres and feels like there is a massive crisis because things he doesn’t like are popular.

He talks at length in the final summation of the great power of Cinematic visuals in a conventional Cinema, but is blissfully unaware most Cinemas no longer have a projectionist and the only fundamental difference between watching a movie at home or in a Cinema is the Price and the size of the screen. He thinks it’s important to sit a room full of people you don’t talk to and will never talk to, because of Cinema’s conventions. He ignores the fact that social watching occurs on Social Media, but then he doesn’t like social media very much either.

In short, there are some very interesting ideas here, but it’s also drowned out by the Writer’s constant fear of change.

The reader reads the entire Novel like it’s a children’s book. So if you enjoy being patronised for hours on end, this will be right up your street.