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The list of ways the film industry has changed over the last 25 years is essentially endless. Not only is the finished content vastly different to reflect a vastly different world, but there have been countless advances like streaming platforms, digital cinematography, and advanced visual effects that have totally changed the way movies are both made and sold to the public.
One of the most significant shifts, of course, is the way in which Hollywood budgets now gravitate towards extremes: massive blockbusters with great brand recognition get $200 million to play with, while original titles that need to find an audience are desired at a price point under $10 million (if that). It’s a change that has many in the industry concerned about diversification in storytelling, as the projects that need $50 million to be properly brought to life just can’t find that much money to get made.
It makes one wonder about a film like Robert Zemeckis’ Forrest Gump – which, when it was released in 1994, wound up not only being a massive hit, but won six Academy Awards. At the time it was made it carried a $55 million price tag – so if it someone wanted to make it in 2019 would it stand a chance? In the opinion of producer Wendy Finerman, the answer is probably no:
I think Forrest Gump getting made today would be very difficult. To look back and say Forrest Gump would never get made today - we know that's probably true. It probably would be very difficult to get made today. And was still very difficult to, obviously, get made many years ago.
Wendy Finerman knows a thing or two about the challenges of getting Forrest Gump made, as it took her a grand total of nine years pitching the film through the 1980s and early 1990s to get it sold in the first place. As difficult as the task was back then, however, she recognizes that getting it into development today would potentially border on impossible.
With Forrest Gump celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, Fathom Events is bringing the movie back to theaters for a limited time, and it was in promotion of this event that I had the opportunity to recently speak with Wendy Finerman over the phone. In a discussion about the challenge of getting the project made, and noting how Hollywood has changed in the last two-and-a-half decades, I asked if she felt the film could be sold in 2019, and got a mostly pessimistic direct answer.
That being said, the pessimism was immediately followed by tremendous optimism – specifically generated by not only that Forrest Gump did eventually get made, but also became a beloved film. It’s so beloved, in fact, that 25 years after its initial release it can still draw audiences to their local cineplex for the opportunity to see it on the big screen. Said Finerman,
There's nothing more rewarding than having a movie 25 years later, they're still coming back with more stuff to put on the Blu-ray and they're still coming back with more stuff to reopen the movie theatrically. So I try to really just look at the positive elements rather than the struggles that we had, and realize that a whole new generation gets to go hopefully see this movie and learn about this movie that they couldn't have been done five years ago. A whole new generation gets to see this movie on big screens.
That opportunity comes both tonight, and on this Tuesday, June 25th, courtesy of Fathom Events. You can check local listings for showings in your area, and head to the official site to buy tickets in advance. And for those of you who enjoy rewatching the movie over and over in the comfort of your own home, Forrest Gump is now available to watch in multiple formats - including a newly remastered two-disc Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD, and digital.
To see what else is coming to the big screen in the coming weeks and months, check out our 2019 Movie Release Calendar.