News : Development

The Decade When Hollywood Cracked Open – In Praise of the 2010s

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

– Leonard Cohen

There’s little doubt that the decade just ending in Hollywood was the most consequential in living memory.

We all know that the entire entertainment business was reshaped in the last 10 years in multiple ways: DVDs definitively went away, major studios consolidated, Netflix became a force and streaming became the new form of distribution.

But beyond those momentous changes, another more subtle reality shifted. The collapse of the studio system — the seven major studios that for 50 years held all the power in entertainment — and the influx of technology giants who dwarfed the likes of Sony and Paramount, coincided with a stunning cultural shift.

After decades of stories dominated by a straight white male sensibility, suddenly a chorus of new voices were everywhere, telling all manner of unconventional stories.

  • “Black Panther” in 2018 redefined the superhero movie with a predominantly African-American cast and a story set in Africa.
  • Guillermo del Toro in 2017 told a sci-fi fantasy love story in the Oscar-winning “The Shape of Water” that was in fact an allegory for his life as a marginalized Mexican nerd.
  • Ryan Murphy brought gay and transgender characters into American homes with “Glee” (which technically debuted in 2009) and later “Pose” (2018).

And women started to appear everywhere — in fact they will direct nearly half of the superhero movies in 2020. Unthinkable to remember that Kathryn Bigelow — once ignored as the ex-wife of “Titanic” director James Cameron — was the first woman to win Best Picture at the Oscars with the searing “Hurt Locker” in 2010.

Also Read: 8 Ways Netflix and the Streaming Revolution Upended Hollywood This Decade

Getty Images

In the 2010s, people who were previously in the margins — women, people of color, the LGBTQ community — were able to emerge. Murphy and del Toro joined Shonda Rhimes, Ryan Coogler and Kathryn Bigelow — along with Ava DuVernay, Lena Waithe, Lena Dunham and Jill Soloway — among the writers, movie directors and TV showrunners whose voices helped define the decade.

The 2010s was the decade when Hollywood cracked open.

I noticed this most when I stepped back recently to consider “Rebels on the Backlot,” the book I wrote about the 1990s in Hollywood and the voices that defined it.

When I wrote “Rebels” in 2005, I was aware that the six iconic filmmakers I had chosen as my focus were all men: Quentin Tarantino, Steven Soderbergh, David Fincher, Spike Jonze, David O. Russell and Paul Thomas Anderson. All white men.

Also Read: 6 Major Lessons Hollywood Learned in the 2010s, From Binging to #MeToo

Being John Malkovich

To me, they were all supremely talented rule-breakers who had defied convention to make the most important films of the 1990s. They had started out in the scrappy world of independent film only to be co-opted by Hollywood’s major studios, the sprawling media companies eager to capitalize on the filmmakers’ cool factor and a new source of box office revenue.

But I was painfully aware that there were no women or people of color whom I felt fit my thesis, even if there were a few wonderful and diverse writer-directors in the decade, whether John Singleton (Boyz ‘n the Hood”) or Kimberly Peirce (“Boys Don’t Cry”).

Today it’s not too hard to notice that the rebels have changed — and so have the backlots. As I write this at the end of 2019, Hollywood has never been less interested in the perspectives of white men. (Which is not to say that plenty of their projects will, in fact, be greenlit.)

Still, in every talent agency and development meeting all over Hollywood, the call goes out for women and people of color behind the camera and in the writers rooms.

The economic disruption in Hollywood has been a major factor in this change. One factor is the demand for volume. Netflix set off an arms race when it pivoted to an online distribution model from the old DVD-by-mail. The streaming service needed product and lots of it. Netflix makes many dozens of movies per year in the U.S. market alone (last year more than 30), compared to traditional movie studios that might make between eight and 20 per year.

Then came “peak TV,” an avalanche of television shows as cable networks battled first each other for viewership and ad dollars and then the online upstarts. And now come the streaming wars. Hulu, Disney+ and the coming HBO Max and Peacock have necessitated a volume of content that has never before been contemplated in entertainment.

As for audience, technology allows distributors to serve up content to their target viewers with unprecedented precision.

By 2019, the $50 million and $100 million development deals handed out by the new streaming services were going to a notably more diverse set of creatives than in previous decades: Rhimes, DuVernay, Murphy all got major deals, but also “black-ish” creator Kenya Barris and “Pose” writer-producer (and transgender activist) Janet Mock.

Also Read: TV in the 2010s: How the New Golden Age Turned Into the 'Peak TV' Era

Shonda Rhimes / Getty Images

The change is absolutely vital to the lifeblood of mass entertainment. These new artists have brought a desperately needed new set of experiences and priorities to American culture. Race, social justice and covert operations have been among the new areas of inquiry, so distinctly different from the topics that obsessed, say, a pop culture polymath like Tarantino or a studiously self-involved David O. Russell a generation ago.

The #MeToo movement, expelling from Hollywood those who had harassed women and worse, vastly accelerated other changes in representation in the industry; Hollywood has finally realized that their organizations have to tangibly evolve in order to survive. This is leading not only to more inclusion in hiring — not to mention inclusion riders to enforce inclusive hiring — but, critically, the rise of more diverse leadership in the decision-making class of top executives and boards of directors. (I think of Shari Redstone at ViacomCBS and Ann Sarnoff, who was recently named to run Warner Bros.)

We need more of this to continue to drive the creative engine of this industry.

The world shifted in the 2010s, mostly for the better. It was an unforeseen change that nonetheless expanded the vocabulary of our mass culture, offered a broader and deeper view of the human experience and a richer perspective on the limits of imagination.

The effects of this shift on the world will be seen only over the generation that follows. But the changes feel like they are here to stay.

Related stories from TheWrap:

8 Ways Netflix and the Streaming Revolution Upended Hollywood This Decade

12 Best Superhero Movies of the Decade, From 'Avengers' to 'Black Panther' to 'Joker' (Photos)

12 Biggest Media and Tech Deals of the Decade, From Facebook-Instagram to Disney-Fox


HUAWEI Mobile Services launches Developer Integration Challenge; developers can win their share of R650K in prizes

HUAWEI Mobile Services (HMS) recently launched the Huawei Developer Programme, Shining-Star, in South Africa. This programme is part of a $1 billion global investment that HUAWEI is committing to, to encourage global developer innovation and support. In South Africa, the Shining-Star programme will focus on assisting local app developers in the following ways: Talent Development [&hellip (

Tips for Sending Money Online to Togo

According to the World Bank, Togolese nationals in the diaspora remitted over $500 million in 2018, placing the country in 10th position in Africa in terms of remittances. As a measure of GDP, the remittances accounted for 8.5%, exceeding the country’s foreign direct investments and official development assistance.  Are you looking at sending money to [&hellip (

NO UK AID FEARS - High commissioner says proposed merger won’t compromise Britain’s ties with Ja

The top British diplomat in Jamaica has sought to dispel fears here and in the wider Caribbean that the prospective merger of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Department for International Development (DfID) will cause millions of... (

Global giants eye Africa for data centre expansion

The greatest commodity in the world today is information, as information leads to knowledge. Similarly, the ability to access, and distribute information have become crucial factors for the upliftment and development of any county. “Moving towards a knowledge-based economy by harnessing the power of ICTs, will greatly boost the competitiveness and financial health of our [&hellip (

Amazon launches an SME skills development programme in South Africa

On Monday, 11 November 2019, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced the launch of the AWS Equity Equivalent Investment Programme (AWS EEIP) – designed by AWS South Africa and Amazon Data Services South Africa. The AWS EEIP aims to see over R365 million invested in the development of sustainable 100 per cent black-owned South African small [&hellip (

Craig Mazin and Ted Elliott to Develop New ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Movie (

Watch Live Tonight – 2019 Internet Hall of Fame Ceremony (

INTERVIEW: Projects delivering technology for life in Africa

KOKO is a venture-backed technology company that believes communities thrive when each of their members is connected to opportunity. From product development and engineering projects to sustainable energy solutions, KOKO is on a mission to deliver technology for life in the world’s fastest-growing cities.  IT News Africa’s Jenna Cook had the opportunity to talk to [&hellip (

Huawei unveils socio-economic development project for Kenya

“The empowering use of ICT is closely connected to socio-economic development. Our 20 years of experience connecting rural communities in Africa has shown us that wireless broadband access is significantly changing the way we live and work in the digital world,” says Ritchie Peng, CMO of Huawei Wireless Solution, at the ITU Telecom World 2019. [&hellip (

SAP Africa announces entrepreneurial development initiatives at WEF

Preparing our youth for the uncertain future requires new thinking around issues of education and skills development, this according to Cathy Smith, MD for SAP Africa who was speaking at this year’s WEF Africa taking place from 4 to 6 September in Cape Town. The World Economic Forum believes nearly two-thirds of children entering school [&hellip (

RMI provides millions in loans to fin-tech Startups

Rand Merchant Investment (RMI) subsidiary, AlphaCode announced on Monday, 2 September 2019, that it has awarded just over $1.5 million in supplier development loans to three fintech startups, Zande Africa, Bright On Capital and Livestock Wealth. “We have granted Zande and Bright On, with whom we’ve been associated for over four years, around $658 thousand [&hellip (

Japan and African Development Bank announce $3.5 billion to support Africa’s private sector development

On 30 August 2019, Japan and the African Development Bank announced a joint target of $3.5 billion under the Enhanced Private Sector Assistance for Africa initiative (EPSA4). The announcement was made at the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7). Japan and the Bank have set a target of $1.75 billion each from [&hellip (

‘An Officer and a Spy’ Review: Roman Polanski Is No Emile Zola in This Listless Retelling of the Dreyfus Affair (

9mobile receives $230 million loan

Nigerian telecommunications company, 9mobile, has recently been approved for a $230 million loan by the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC). The AFC is a pan-African multilateral development financial institution that was created with the goal of minimizing Africa’s infrastructure investment gap via the provision of debt and equity finance, project development, financial and technical advisory services. [&hellip (

South Africa: Over 2000 school principals receive reporting mobile devices

Over 2000 Samsung Galaxy A30 devices were handed over to school headmasters across the Gauteng province on Tuesday, 13 August 2019. The devices support the administrative processes underpinning e-platforms and will become a focal point of communication between principals, districts and the department of education head office. The Gauteng MEC for Education and Youth Development, [&hellip (

Satisfying the Evidentiary Demands of the UDRP (

TV White Space project receives funding for deployment in South Africa

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has awarded a grant to support an Adaptrum project designed to help improve internet access to rural areas of South Africa on Monday, 5 August 2019. The grant aims to fund several TV White Space (TVWS) deployments in order to establish business models that can be replicated across [&hellip (

Samsung tackles job creation with new initiative

Samsung South Africa has announced its Research and Development (R&D) Academy Project in partnership with the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and Microsoft. The Academy, through its Future-Innovation Lab, aims to provide youth with the opportunity to gain skills in software development and digital social innovation. Unemployed matriculants and graduates with a strong interest [&hellip (

USTDA expands affordable internet access across South Africa

On 5 August 2019, The United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) announced that they had awarded a grant to South Africa’s Wireless Access Providers Association (WAPA) for a pilot project that aims to help improve internet access for rural and semi-rural areas in South Africa. This will be done through the use of American [&hellip (

South Africa gears up for 1st travel hackathon

On Thursday, 25 July 2019, Zulu Nomad, a travel tour operator, announced its plans to partner with Geekulcha, the Northen Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism,  and BrownSense InSights to hosting the Africa Travel Hackathon. The event will take place from 5 to 8 September 2019 onboard the Premier Classe Train from Johannesburg to [&hellip (

How Podcast Companies Wondery, Gimlet Are Going Global (

Microsoft builds capacity of women software engineers in Kenya

In an effort to build support for local women in ICT, Microsoft has recruited engineers to work in its new Africa Development Centre (ADC) in Kenya and in Nigeria. In June, ADC Nairobi hosted its first LEAP hackathon for 26 female developers, challenging participants to design creative solutions in AgriTech and FinTech using cloud computing, [&hellip (

Who is Ibrahim Ajagunna? … CMU’s acting principal affirms the reputation of the university

Widely regarded as an extraordinary leader who has spearheaded the development of a variety of programmes at the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), and now the acting president of the institution, Ibrahim Ajagunna is seeking to reassure current... (

Bill Clinton Says He ‘Knows Nothing’ About Epstein Sex Trafficking Accusations (

Idris Elba Denies Plagiarism Claims From 2 Former Writers on His Play, ‘Tree’ (

UPDATED: CARICOM presses Ja to pay more into Caribbean Development Fund

CARICOM partners remained adamant yesterday that Jamaica should make further payments to the Caribbean Development Fund after they were told ahead of one of the caucuses at the 40th Heads of Government Conference in St... (

Investing in fibre is key to enable the growth of Africa’s digital economy

At the end of June 2019, the International Telecoms Week facilitated a panel discussion session where members spoke about the importance of investing in fibre infrastructure within Africa, in order to facilitate the development and growth of the continent’s digital economy.  Principal Analyst at TeleGeography, Patrick Christian, evaluated the African digital economy — he noted [&hellip (

T-Systems strives to create employment opportunities for the youth and women

As part of its support for the National Development Plan (NDP), T-Systems has created educational and employment projects targeted at South Africa’s youth through collaborative initiatives. These projects are aimed at targeting issues such as poverty and unemployment and to help establish South Africa as an internationally recognised economic force in today’s Digital Age. “Because [&hellip (

T-Systems drives digital skills development for young South Africans

In its quest to address the issue of skills for the digital era and youth employability, T-Systems South Africa (TSSA) has been using its Nation Building Initiative to drive digital skills development and employment opportunities for young people.  The latest intake into its long-running youth programme includes 120 Grade 12 graduates walking through the doors [&hellip (

Seacom set to explore fibre opportunity across Africa

Seacom is a submarine communications system that launched Africa’s first broadband submarine cable system along the southern and eastern coastlines in 2009. The company has now set its sights on expanding its communications systems across more territories in Africa, due to being awarded a grant of an undisclosed amount from the US Trade and Development [&hellip (