Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (October 15, 2013)
In Blockbusters: Hit-making, Risk-taking, and the Big Business of Entertainment, author Anita Elberse shows why betting on the mega-hits is the most bankable business strategy today. Elberse is the resident expert on entertainment at the Harvard Business School. His knowledge comes off very well in Blockbusters.
The simple, compelling argument brought forth by Elberse is this: The entertainment business does not reward playing it safe. Just look at what Jeff Zucker and Ben Silverman did while at the helm of NBC. This was a network that had huge audiences in the 1980s, 1990s, and early part of the 2000s.
But what happened to NBC? They stopped going after the highest-paid producers and stars and their dismal efforts showed in the ratings.
The case was just the opposite at Warner Brothers Studios, where Chief Operating Officer Alan Horn decided to identify just a few projects that , with major budget-squeezing investments of money and resources, had the potential to be huge. They did just that with the Dark Knight saga, the Harry Potter series, The Hangover, and Million Dollar Baby, to name a few.
It shows that the networks and studios must be willing to take risks if they really want to attract an audience.