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The End of Hollywood?

When people find out I have been reporting on Hollywood for more than a decade, they usually ask me, “Why are there so many superhero movies and sequels and remakes? What happened to interesting, original films for adults?”

I never expected to find answers when Sony Pictures was hacked in 2014. But then the perpetrators released tens of thousands of emails and documents that revealed a major studio’s innermost workings.

The leaked materials form the core of my book The Big Picture, which shows how and why entertainment has changed so radically this century. Sony executives, filmmakers, and stars struggle, largely unsuccessfully, to adapt to a world in which TV evolves from the “idiot box” to home of the best dramatic storytelling, while plunging DVD sales and the rise of foreign markets turn movies into a lowest-common-denominator business in which branded franchises like The Avengers and Fast and Furious dominate.

Meanwhile, new players like Marvel Studios, Netflix, Amazon, and even the Chinese government gain power at Sony’s expense. The future of film is being written by comic-book companies, tech giants, and foreign governments—not Hollywood studios.

Available now, The Big Picture: The Fight for the Future of Movies (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) is Ben Fritz ’99’s second book.