Ron Meyer: Studios Must Do a Better Job Reining in Rapidly Escalating Movie Expenses

Ron Meyer

This column is part of Variety’s Broken Hollywood feature. For more execs and their opinions on the state of Hollywood, click here.

Marketing costs have always been a challenge, and they continue to escalate. The cost of production is a major, major issue that has to be dealt with. We have to be in a business where we are profitable, and if you spend more than you make, you can’t be profitable. So I always look at costs as the first and most important issue — what you’re spending vs. what you’re making.

Each film has its own model; it’s not one-size-fits-all. So you have to take a hard look at the movie you’re making, and figure out what you believe its return can be. That’s never not been important.

Costs continue to escalate for all different reasons, and we as content providers and creators and financiers need to be responsible. Making films is expensive, and marketing those films is expensive. When we’re wrong, we’re real wrong, and when we’re right, we’re very right. It’s just one of those businesses: The bet is always a huge bet, and you’d better be more right than wrong.

Our content has to be appealing to the public. We have to
have hits. In today’s business, the audience is more discerning, in my opinion, than ever, and all of us have to be good or better at our game. You have to have films that are successful at the box office in order to take them through all the other distribution windows. It’s about delivering the right material with the right people executing it and marketing it properly.