Indiewood Finally Figures Out That Their Movies Are Depressing

Break out the popcorn! Photo: Clockwise from top left: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures, Focus Features, Miramax Films, New Line Cinema

The L.A. Times today writes about the disappointing performance thus far this year of studio specialty-division films, the low-budget, awards-bait "indiewood" movies that can ride buzz and word of mouth to big box office. Specialty-division chiefs like Miramax's Daniel Battsek and Picturehouse's Bob Berney speculate on why there's been no breakout hit this year like last year's Little Miss Sunshine or The Queen. Part of the problem, everyone agrees, is that the previous success of smaller films has led to a glut in the market. But, as Focus Features' James Schamus points out, there's another problem: The movies are freaking grim.

There's "the same finite amount of appetite for depressing films as we've always had, but that appetite is being serviced by so many options on the menu that it's difficult to make a choice," says Schamus, whose own slate this fall includes a Chinese-language movie full of brutal, explicit sex, a downbeat thriller about the Russian mob, and a movie whose opening sequence kills the hero's son.

Indie Films Could Use a Little 'Sunshine' [LAT]

Earlier: Let's All Go to the Movies ...