Judd Apatow Explains How Tech Bros and Corporate Stooges Are at Odds With ‘Quality Filmmaking‘

Apatow elaborated on his criticisms of the corporate powers in entertainment from last month‘s DGA Awards
Judd Apatow Explains How Tech Bros and Corporate Stooges Are at Odds With ‘Quality Filmmaking‘

Comedy mogul Judd Apatow doesn’t think that media mega-corporations like Warner Bros. Discovery give two shits about delivering meaningful movies to the masses. He must be one of the lucky few who saw Coyote vs. Acme before David Zaslav dropped an anvil on it.

Last month, Apatow hosted the Directors Guild of America Awards for the fifth time, and his monologue drew positive reviews for his topical digs on corporate mergers, the presidential election and the DGA itself for its non-participation in last year’s entertainment strikes. During his opening remarks, Apatow joked that, in the near future, the entertainment industry will be a monopoly dominated by a single company that uses modern technology to touch up timeless classics as Pornhub emerges as the victor in the corporate consolidation, saying, “Now we have When Harry Met Sally with graphic penetration; It’s A Wonderful Life, but now instead of George Bailey drowning, he hangs himself while masturbating. It’s A.I. autoerotic asphyxiation. It costs $1 a month, and on the first day, three billion people sign up. The industry is saved!”

In all seriousness, the 40-Year-Old Virgin director’s evaluation of the entertainment conglomerates’ intentions for the movie medium and the threat that rapidly evolving technologies pose to artistic integrity isn’t much less negative than his hyperbolic projection of the industry’s future. During a recent interview with Vulture, Apatow doubled down on his criticisms of the business side of show business, saying of the monologue, “That is how I feel about the industry. There are these corporate behemoths and people from the tech world taking over creativity.” 

He better hope that they don’t perfect their Apatow A.I. by next year’s DGA Awards.

“For some of them — not all of them — their intentions are just eyeball time online,” Apatow said of companies like Warner Bros. Discovery, Disney and Paramount who have spent the last decade consolidating the market through mergers and acquisitions that dont always lead to better entertainment options for audiences. “I don’t know if they’re obsessed with quality filmmaking in the way other owners of these entities have been in the past. That’s why they started calling it ‘content,’” Apatow opined. “All of a sudden, they diminished it as much as it possibly could be. I don’t think it would be that weird if you read something in the paper that Pornhub bought Paramount+.”

The problems dont end in the movie theaters, however. Apatow had similar criticisms for how platforms such as Netflix have scaled back on original content and are pushing older shows acquired from other sources to boost streaming numbers instead, leading to things like Suits dominating the zeitgeist five years after the finale. “It’s a scary thing as a creator of television, because of all the streamers going, 'Wait a second. We don’t need to spend $200 million on a new show. We can just bring back Barnaby Jones,” Apatow explained. “They’re going to do it, then you’ll get fewer new shows. They realize, Oh wait, Netflix can just buy shows from HBO, and I would assume they’re cheaper than making new ones. Then at some point, Netflix will sell its shows to HBO, and it’ll just be passing around all the episodes of Ballers for the rest of our lives.”

Apatow did offer a touch of optimism despite his complaints about the corporate interests running entertainment. According to him, the comedy film, a genre many consider to be an endangered species in the modern movie business, is due for a renaissance — all it takes is one blockbuster. “If a movie like The Hangover came out and it was a big hit, suddenly everyone would want five more of those,” Apatow suggested, as if anyone besides the cast of The Hangover is hoping for The Hangover: Part Four.


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