There are few filmmakers who've had a bigger impact on the movie-making landscape than George Lucas. Between the Star Wars movies, and (at least the first three) Indiana Jones films, he's arguably had as much influence on our childhoods as (if not our parents, then at least...) your garden variety cool uncle or aunt.
All of which means that when Lucas speaks, we listen - no matter how curmudgeonly he's being. Like, for instance, during his recent interview with Charlie Rose on CBS This Morning, in which he revealed his thoughts on exactly what's wrong with the movie industry nowadays:
"...the problem has always been the studios...Although the beginning of the studios, the entrepreneurs who ran the studios were sort of creative guys. They would just take books and turn them into movies and do things like that. Suddenly all these corporations were coming in. They didn't know anything about the movie business...The studios went back to saying, 'Well we don't trust you people and we think we know how to make movies...The studios change everything all the time. And, unfortunately, they don't have any imagination and they don't have any talent."
All of which is fascinating - and there are few in a better position to comment on the state of the industry than Lucas - but it's also an interesting stance for him to take on the studio system.
After all, though he began his career as a low-budget, independently minded young filmmaker, he soon found his niche making big-budget, studio-backed epics like Star Wars and the Indy movies - he and Steven Spielberg's success with which was a big part of what prompted the rise of the modern blockbuster.
So, while what Lucas is saying has truth to it - and it would be awesome if he were to find a way to help steward a new generation of independent filmmakers into being, like some sort of directorial Obi Wan Kenobi - much of the reason for the studio system as it now is is a direct response to what we, the audience, want.
There are still a fair few independent films being made every year - even if more would be a great thing - but they just don't seem to be as popular as, say, a new Star Wars movie, no matter how much studio backing they receive when it comes to distribution.
So, unless our own tastes change, and move away from commercial studio event pictures like The Avengers and Star Wars Episode VII, there's absolutely no incentive for studios to treat movies as anything other than a simple financial commodity.
And, so long as those studios keep making movies like [Star Wars: Episode VII](movie:711158), and so long as they're still awesome (at least sometimes), that might not be such a bad thing...
What do you guys think, though? Should the studios start trusting filmmakers more, and worry less about money?