Largely seen as a money factory, the world’s greatest constellation of entertainment companies are thought to mostly be concerned with making as much money as possible. In truth, the six majors’ executives use this ‘business sharks’ perception to convince Wall Street investors to finance their films. However, there’s a great deal more to Hollywood than merely a dollar printing factory. Although studios are no longer at their peak, due to the emergence of huge online digital competition, they still possess the most powerful of skills; the ability to influence.
Therefore, Hollywood productions have a huge impact in our society, changing mentalities and attitudes. Thus, it is well-known how in the past, movies “made in the US” have disseminated a particular perspective about international and North American issues, such as international war participation or the history of US social rights. Moreover, some communication experts point to Hollywood movies as the trigger for unhealthy habits such as smoking or junk food.
It seems clear that entertainment content has the ability to effectively communicate ideas, suggest attitudes and promote behaviours.
For this reason, constantly, new initiatives (representing celebrities, lobbies or charities) are established with the aim of influencing Hollywood. This is the case with Hollywood Health and Society, a platform that “provides entertainment industry professionals with accurate and timely information for health storylines”.
This project has the objective of helping Hollywood productions, promoting a suitable approach to themes related to well-being and a healthy environment.
In other words, this platform provides movie scriptwriters with accurate information about human diseases or natural disasters with the aim of informing the audience correctly. Furthermore, members of this organisation are convinced that using their advice, new Hollywood movies will show a realistic perspective about ourselves and our planet that trigger specific beneficial behaviours to their viewers.
From our European perspective, it is not easy to understand why private initiatives like Hollywood Health and Society are needed to force Hollywood to follow a manual of good practices on health and environmental issues, while there is a public institution, the National Government, that could do it without much effort.
Beyond the policy explanations and the well-known debate ‘Europe versus US models’, a question turns up in this context: Is there any cluster behind this charity platform?
Some of you may think that it may be a cynical question. However, it is hard to believe that Hollywood does anything with no reward in mind.
At least, this idea is more realistic than thinking Hollywood is worried about our wellbeing.
Lau Delgado, 2016.