Hollywood is going to undergo a radical simplification during the next few years, and so will the independent film market. The number of films released will decline by at least a third, and probably more, this year, and will be down by 50 percent in 2010.
The economic logic is inescapable. Hollywood no longer has hedge-fund capital to burn. The kinds of tricky European tax shelters that allowed studios to make movies for almost nothing (detailed brilliantly in Edward Jay Epstein's The Big Picture) are going to be closed. Even Steven Spielberg was forced to go shopping for new backers in India, and when those backers went broke, he came back to the United States and found that his old friends at Universal had lost their stomach for doing business with him.
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