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Hollywood is Broken

Hollywood is Broken

Hollywood is broken and it will never return to what it once was. Jerry Seinfeld just said in his interview with GQ, “The movie business is over.” The stand-up comic, writer, and producer who loves cars, comedians, and coffee was commenting on the decline of movies, saying,

“…film doesn’t occupy the pinnacle in the social, cultural hierarchy that it did for most of our lives. When a movie came out, if it was good, we all went to see it. We all discussed it. We quoted lines and scenes we liked. Now we’re walking through a fire hose of water, just trying to see.”

GQ HYPED, April 22, 2024, by Brett Martin

The numbers don’t lie: Gross box office receipts are not returning to the $10 Billion mark of the 2010s, even now that we are clearly out of the pandemic. The interviewer asked Mr. Seinfeld what has replaced movies, and his response is as profound as it is concerning:

“Depression? Malaise? I would say confusion. Disorientation replaced the movie business. Everyone I know in show business, every day, is going, What’s going on? How do you do this? What are we supposed to do now?”

GQ HYPED, April 22, 2024, by Brett Martin

Granted, it’s hard to stay grounded when you’re following the trends of an ever-changing market, and embracing a worldview that despises the roots of your own culture. Our creative culture leaders have not been pointing audiences to stories of eternal truths, or building their creative house upon a rock. Instead, they have been running away from meaningful art, embracing the fuzzy nature of anti-heroes, and promoting so many woke ideologies that even SouthPark mocked the trajectory of recent Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars movies.

As our culture has abandoned its Judeo-Christian tenets, we are left with so many empty stories that do not feed the soul or inspire the heart. Daily, we encounter an endless glut of meaningless “art”. While arthouse and indie films can be incredibly quirky and creative, they rarely offer real hope, or inspiration. This becomes problematic for creatives and their industries because vacuous, or virtue-signaling art does not draw people to movie theaters, museums, or playhouses in droves. Propaganda annoys the audience no matter which political side you are on. It becomes boring or insulting, instead of inviting us into a broader conversation, as great art is meant to do.

The Crisis for Creators and Consumers

Creators and consumers are overwhelmed. Streaming services flood our devices with mostly mediocre content, competing with Joe Rogan podcasts, YouTube influencers, and random social media posts. The volume is mammoth, while the quality is mostly hit or miss.

Creators are overwhelmed by a myriad of new opportunities while being pushed to monetize any IP they can get their hands on. They have to learn to adapt to A.I. in every field. From script writing with ChatGPT to instantaneous virtual backgrounds with services like ILM Stagecraft, and a host of new technological tools and processes, it is dizzying to see how fast things change. Industry blogs and services are dedicated to the latest tools and services. Creators barely learn new tools before the new bigger, faster tools hit the market, while the content creation flood and competition grows.

Consumers are caught trying to understand where to find the content they like amidst the shifting entertainment market. On top of the vast libraries of professionally produced content we can consume, we now have the ability to create our own content. Anyone can create jaw-dropping art using MidJourney, without any training in drawing, painting, or digital composition. Software like Bing’s Image Creator is built right into the search engine, for organic use and rendering to help us create our own images instead of looking for great art created by a master in some other country, or era. The options are endless. We can create music with a few-word prompt using services like Loudly, Boomly, or media.io.

Rise of the Fake Artists

Fake art, under pseudonyms, is nothing new, but the ability to scale it is unprecedented. The Future of Hollywood, Film, TV, VR, and all artistic endeavors is up in the air for the moment. Just consider Johan Röhr, a Stockholm-based musician who created more than 650 fake artists on Spotify with a cumulative of more than 15 billion streams. This places him above The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Avicii, on the Spotify top 100 most streamed artists.

The Longing for the Authenticity of the Imago Dei

Jerry Seinfeld described how consumers today are looking for authenticity, as they get tired of so many imitations, straight-to-video sequels, and unoriginal content.

“Audiences are now flocking to stand-up because it’s something you can’t fake. It’s like platform diving. You could say you’re a platform diver, but in two seconds we can see if you are or you aren’t. That’s what people like about stand-up. They can trust it. Everything else is fake.”


This points us to the core difference between artificial intelligence and the human imagination created by God and implanted within the Imago Dei. No matter what A.I. can do, it is still artificial and will feel inauthentic. Tools are wonderful but they are not replacements for creating great art.

Ostrich or Owl?

As tempting as it may be for some, we cannot stick our heads in the sand, pretending this will go away. Pandora’s A.I. box. Like the owl, we must watch discerningly and choose wisely how we use new A.I. tools while remaining organically connected to our audience. No one can predict the next 10 to 20 years, but God is calling you to hold on to hope, use your gifts, and to continue to be salt and light for Christ. Maybe the breakdown of Hollywood will prove to be an opening for Christians in the arts, media, and entertainment to lead us toward authentic art and authentic artist experiences.

Remember, this is the new horizon for which God has prepared you.
What will you do?
What tools will you embrace or avoid?

How will you celebrate the dignity of the Imago Dei in a world of A.I.?
Please let me know in the comments below!


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Copyright © 2024 Joel & Michelle Pelsue. All Rights Reserved. Used with Permission. 

2 comments on “Hollywood is Broken”

  1. Leonardo Ramirez Reply

    Yes, Hollywood is broken. But so is the church. And like the church, I believe we are all going through a transition that will leave platforms behind. The hunger of many will cause the truth of who God is authentically to surface, through whatever medium He chooses to speak through and whatever that looks like. And for all we know if could be something as simple as Balaam’s donkey stopping us in our tracks to get us to pay attention to what God is saying or who He is. He’ll still use us. But things will be different.

    • Joel Pelsue Reply

      Great point, Leonardo.

      The church is always tempted to rely on what worked yesterday and what seems to work today, but the Spirit is always doing something new that can’t be captured by our perfect liturgies, nor controlled by our traditions. Indeed, we are in a pivotal, historical, moment that will require pivoting. The challenge is maintaining orthodox theology, while listening to the Holy Spirit and engaging the new culture in a fresh way to preaches the truth, goodness and beauty of The Gospel.

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