Hollywood Heads Roll as DVD Sales Plunge

New studio heads place bets on 'branded entertainment'
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2009 8:44 AM CDT
In past economic downturns, Hollywood earned a reputation for being recession-proof. This time, the industry is showing some cracks in its armor.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
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(Newser) – In previous downturns, the corporate owners of America's movie studios would cut Hollywood some slack. Not anymore: these days, the corporate suites of LA look like the aftermath of a slasher flick, with old hands kicked out at Disney, Universal, MGM, and Paramount. With DVD sales down 25% and easy financing a thing of the past, "there's been more change in the last 18 months than in the preceding 18 years," one exec tells the Los Angeles Times.

As the new blood in Hollywood attempts to ride out the downturn, studios are grinding out more "branded entertainment" like sequels and other easily recognizable names. Adult dramas will decline further, and movie stars who once commanded huge salaries are taking cuts now that they can't guarantee sizable audiences. Instead, expect lots of films based on children's toys: Movies based on Battleship, Legos, Stretch Armstrong, and even the View-Master are in the works.