The sex scene is dying out: not just because of #MeToo, but also because of new box-office economics
For decades, no big-box-office, adult-oriented Hollywood movie was apparently complete without a sex scene, from Dont Look Now to Basic Instinct. Yet it appears that erotica is now dying out in mainstream cinema.
It said that a new summer pattern has emerged: the release of several European-produced festival and arthouse films often, like this years French drama Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo, heavy with action followed by a season of sexless Hollywood action and family films.
Lost between those two options is the classic sex scene. So no more Dont Look Now with Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland; no 9 Weeks with Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke; no Dangerous Liaisons, The Postman Always Rings Twice or Mulholland Drive… the list goes on.
Once a staple of high-gloss, adult-oriented, mainstream movies, the Washington Post wrote, the sex scene has been largely forgotten and ignored, recommitted to the very esoteric margins it sprang from generations ago.
But why? According to academics and close observers of Hollywood culture, the reasons are multifarious, and suggest that the movie business is going through a profound realignment of priorities backed by broad cultural, political and legislative changes.
According to Stephen Galloway, a columnist at the Hollywood Reporter, the changes are primarily economic: Hollywood is simply no longer in the business of making mid-budget character dramas that might or might not include physical bonding. Instead, movies must appeal to the four quadrants male and female, over and under the age of 25. Weirdly, its not a new puritanism Hollywood has always been puritanical. Its about economics, says Galloway. Include sex and youll get an R rating, and that means no kids: thats not going to bring in a four-quadrant audience.
The current exceptions, or at least aberrations, seem to be musical dramas involving homosexual love: witness the success of the Elton John coming-out-and-getting-famous drama Rocketman, or the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, which has reportedly produced a billion dollars in business for its producers, the groups drummer and guitar player.
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