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THE FUTURE : From Here to Eternity

January 04, 1987

Bertram Fields, entertainment industry attorney: The next 100 years will see dramatic technological advances that will make a vast array of entertainment choices available to consumers throughout the world. Demand for product will soar beyond anything we can now foresee. Investment in production will be recouped more readily and more rapidly. The share of financial rewards flowing to creative talent will increase substantially; and, lest we forget that essential lubricant for the engine of commerce, the need for skilled lawyers will be greater than ever.

Sidney Sheldon, author of "Bloodline," "The Rage of Angels": The entertainment industry will grow even more fragmented. Videocassettes will be targeted for religious groups, rock groups, sex groups, anything you want. The pendulum is swinging back from the Moral Majority syndrome to a much more permissive attitude. It's moving in the other direction, and society will be as permissive as ever.

Don Simpson, producer of "Flashdance," "Beverly Hills Cop" and "Top Gun": People are continually going to want to be entertained. They want to be told stories, just like people did in the Pleistocene age, when they listened to campfire stories about capturing dinosaurs. I don't think it will be a genre-based business. It's going to be a business that tells good stories. I say that because television is topical; it's newspaper-headline stuff. Movies are bigger than life; they are that magic space in which you find yourself interlocking physically and emotionally and intellectually with all other people in the room and laughing or booing at the same time. That's the real high. Movies will be around forever because you can't get that kind of experience in your home.

Dawn Steel, president of production, Paramount: The good news is that there are some wonderfully talented people coming up. The bad news is that movies cost so much to make. We are desperately trying to find ways to reduce the cost. If we don't, we may get caught relying too much on star power. Also, we can no longer make movies just for 16- and 17-year-olds. The baby-boomers are maturing, and now we are moving on to more adult material.

Ed Feldman, producer of "Witness" and "The Golden Child": No matter what happens with the burgeoning ancillary markets, the picture business will remain a theatrical business. All of these other elements will simply enhance the business and enable us to take more chances. Theaters will continue to change. The big single downtown theater is disappearing. In its place are multiple-screen operations with as many as 12 movies at once. This will create a need for even more product, and we will see more production than ever. In other words, Hollywood will be bigger than it ever was--not necessarily better, but certainly bigger.

David Ansen, film critic, Newsweek: As the Reagan era begins to crumble, we are on the cusp of a new age. Back in the '60s and '70s we had dueling cultures that produced some creative, interesting movies; the Reagan era has brought us the movies this decade deserved. As a new counterculture emerges, there will be fresh blood.

Alvin Toffler, author of "Future Shock": One hundred years ahead, Hollywood will be able to generate electronically any kind of image at all, which will mean that actors won't have to act out each scene. Rather, the actors will begin and end a scene, and the rest will be interpreted electronically, as is true today in animation.

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