The blinding success of the present

May 29, 2007 — 3 Comments

Hollywood on Pirates of the Caribbean and the box office

“Summer ain’t over,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Media By Numbers, who predicted Hollywood could bring in record summer revenue topping $4 billion. “You’ve got a record number of people in theaters seeing all the trailers and marketing materials for these upcoming films. I’ve never seen a summer so well positioned.”

Robert Greene on the OODA Loop.

Whatever success you are now experiencing will actually work to your detriment because you will not be made aware of how slowly you are falling behind in the fast transient cycle. You think you are doing just fine. You are not compelled to adapt until it is too late. These are ruthless times.

Ryan Holiday

I'm a strategist for bestselling authors and billion dollar brands like American Apparel, Tucker Max and Robert Greene. My work has been used as case studies by Twitter, YouTube and Google and has been written about in AdAge, the New York Times, Gawker and Fast Company.

3 responses to The blinding success of the present

  1. Indirectly related, I have some opinions on how the box office could have been massively more successful this summer:

    The four big movies are Spiderman 3, Shrek 3, Pirates 3, and Harry Potter 5 (also note the dependency on sequels, of course). The first three movies were all relased ONE WEEK APART from each other. NONE of them got the full chance they could have had they been given 2weeks to run out their audience.

    Spiderman 3 did $151 million on its opening weekend; Shrek $121, and Pirates $115. The movies were also released in that order. Did anyone not see this coming? When Spiderman came out, it was the only blockbuster option for people that weekend. But on subsequent weekends, the market was split more and more between people who hadn’t had a chance to see a certain movie when already another one they wanted to see was coming out. Not to mention that all three of these movies appeal to almost the exact same demographic.

    Smaller movies need to take note of what happened here too: 28 Weeks Later, which received positive fan reception and approval, had a mediocre opening weekend of $9.8 million but was obliterated at the box office by Spiderman 3 when it opened a week later. It probably could have had a much stronger run had it been released in the slow spring season, pre-summer…or hell, just two weeks before Spiderman instead of one.

    These are mega-hit summer blockbusters; movies that people go to the theater to see as soon as they come out. They depend on a hugely successful opening weekend rather than a slow but solid run. Harry Potter will be massively successful when it comes out on July 11 because the market, by then, will have stagnated. It will have a dynamite opening weekend, a solid run throughout July…and then August will drag. The month of June is also void of blockbuster releases, which makes you wonder why the releases weren’t more spread out.

    The question also rises though about the rush of summer movie fever, to say it wouldn’t have had the same effect had the movies been more spread out. While too much time passed between movie releases may have had that effect, I stand that a full two weeks between releases would have bolstered the success of all of these films and also solidified this entire summer as probably the most successful in movie history, rather than just the month of June.

  2. Aside from my first comment here, what does the OODA loop mean to you?

    I loosely take it as “let up for even a second, and you’ve lost” to keep me on my feet all the time. I’ve wondered how you interpret it.

  3. Sorry it took so long for me to get to you.

    As for Hollywood, the idea that big openings even matter is just not even true. Box Office numbers end up making up less than 17% of the studio’s revenue each year- 17 PERCENT! Disney’s chain of Disney Mall stores makes more each year than the entire take of the United State box office. But whatever, it’s their loss.

    Yeah the loop is about fluidity and speed and foresight. It’s about paying less attention to your own inefficiencies and ruthlessly exploiting another’s before they can do the same. It’s running fast and loose and making sure they are too uptight to do the same back.

    For Boyd it was getting inside someone’s head and then knowing how they’d respond to something, force them into a bad reaction or a mistake. Then you have them in your hand and you can manipulate them.

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