Why Didnt The Second Movie Get Made For.His Dark Materials Movie Stars’ Continuous Migration to TV

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Movie Stars’ Continuous Migration to TV

In 1988, when Dustin Hoffman won his second Oscar for his brilliant portrayal of an autistic savant in “Rain Man,” few would have predicted that he would be starring in a television show later in his career. Big-name actors would never consider playing TV roles-ever. Yet, the list of top movie stars making their way to the small screen continues to grow each year. So what has caused this migratory pattern?

With the help of performers like Hoffman, television is no longer the stepchild for actors. It is attracting top talent because it has caught up with silver-screen movies in three broad categories-jobs, spending, and creativity. From all indications, TV intends to step up its competition for the stars.

The Unemployment Rate

Like all industries, filmmaking continues to seek more return on investment. Nowadays, there is less incentive for producers to undertake a film that showcases acting aptitude. The list of top box-office hits is filled with movies that rely on computer-generated effects to draw large audiences. In fact, we often lose sight of a movie star against a backdrop of alien invasions or catastrophic explosions. These movies are expensive to make and frequently divert money from other projects. In the end, the availability of big-screen acting jobs has diminished.

Movie blockbusters like “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” have deemphasized the need for top-drawer talent. The movie received three Oscar nominations for visual effects and sound, but none for acting. Although Shia LaBeouf did a credible job as lead character in the film, it’s difficult to envision any actor winning an Academy Award playing that part. No matter how well it could have been written, the role would never supersede the action. For an accomplished actor like Hoffman, it’s not a part that would demonstrate his far-reaching ability.

Television, on the other hand, has grown from three channels in the 1950s to hundreds of channels that need new shows to entice viewers. The cable and satellite TV concept has made it possible for commercial-supported and subscription channels to offer increased opportunities. It’s true that reality TV has reduced the demand for actors. Nonetheless, premium content providers like HBO and Showtime have led the pack by developing challenging roles that appeal to the stars.

The Expenditures

Large movie-studio films used to command the roster of A-list actors. Making a fortune from one film was possible if you had name recognition. Television actors, by comparison, made paltry sums and probably had to work harder for their money.

But as television grew, so did its spending on film actors. Some felt it was just an experiment that would fail. Nevertheless, Charlie Sheen, who transitioned from Hollywood movies to the TV series “Two and a Half Men,” earned millions of dollars per episode. Few movie stars made as much during the same time period.

Salaries, however, aren’t the only issue. Television spending on all aspects of production has increased, which has pushed the quality of what it now offers. TV wasn’t known for its lavish spending in 1988. Situation comedies like “The Cosby Show” and “Roseanne” were shot on limited sets, and many dramas like “L.A. Law” and “Matlock” didn’t feature an abundance of outdoor scenes. The argument that TV was too small for pricey visuals could be made then. Large-screen TVs forced changes in that thinking, however. Viewers wanted better visual effects than what the original “Battlestar Galactica” series could provide in 1978. The updated version, which drew Academy Award nominee Edward James Olmos to the series lead in 2004, filled the bill.

The Freedom

Hollywood studios once had a corner on edgy material. In 1972, comedian George Carlin had a list of the seven words you can’t say on television. That inventory remained intact two years later when Hoffman starred in “Lenny,” the autobiography of another off-color comedian, Lenny Bruce.

Such a movie could have never shown to a TV audience in those days. Rewriting it to meet FCC standards would have been a disservice. But now Carlin’s list is a memory of how things used to be on TV. Television pursues content without strict censorship. In addition, TV has strayed from its traditional good-and-evil characters. For example, the lead in the Showtime series “Dexter” is a serial killer. He is good in the eyes of viewers because he eliminates violent criminals who have slipped through the cracks of the legal system. It’s a far cry from what television used to be, and many high-profile performers relish the change.

Conclusion

The theater box office no longer represents the only option for actors in search of profound or high-paying roles. The law of supply and demand applies. Because of that, the resettlement of big-time film stars to television is sure to continue.

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