Perhaps it's not a big surprise that
No feel-good movie, "12 Years a Slave" is a relentlessly brutal depiction of the most disturbing period in American history. What is remarkable is that the movie got made at all (for $22 million), that it won attention and has already grossed a respectable $50 million in North America and an additional $90 million internationally. Being able to advertise it as "Oscar winner for best picture" should give an additional boost to revenues, especially at a moment when viewers who worried about being overwhelmed by the subject matter on a big screen are finally able to watch it on a smaller screen at home.
In recent years, it has become conventional wisdom that the big Hollywood studios don't like to take risks, and that smaller, serious or controversial films have a more difficult time getting made than they did 15, 20 or 30 years ago. Perhaps "12 Years a Slave" will serve as a reminder to Hollywood studio executives and producers that movies that explore difficult subjects and channel different voices are often worth taking chances on. It helped enormously that
No one expects or would even want Hollywood to stop making action movies and blockbusters. And it is certainly true that many small movies don't make their money back. But it is good to see that there is an audience out there for "12 Years a Slave" — and for "Dallas Buyers Club," about the early medical struggles of men with