Approaching the Academy Awards, Hollywood noted good news and bad news. The good news showed dramatic worldwide growth of movie revenues, soaring 8 percent to an all-time high of $32 billion. The bad news involved the disappointingly flat box-office receipts in North America—frozen below $11 billion. For the first time ever, two-thirds of income for major studios originated overseas, helping to explain the content of contemporary films.
In contrast to 50 years ago, when Hollywood money came overwhelmingly from American filmgoers, we see fewer patriotic projects or dramatizations of U.S. history. Even G.I. Joe, a traditional all-American hero, became an agent of a multinational agency in the new (and lousy) movie version. The growing importance of overseas fans plays into Hollywood’s tendency to present a skeptical, and sometimes even hostile, motion picture attitude toward the U.S.A..
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