If a company that makes a faulty light bulb can be sued by consumers then why can’t a film company that makes a horrible film meet the same fate?
After all, both the cases amount to cheating the consumers of his hard earned money and in both the cases, guilt can be scientifically proven – a bad film is preceded by misleading advertising and promotions promising… all together a different content and experience. Further, Lack of coherent script and character development and logical flow of story can be easily proven even if garish use of colours, tacky props/sets, insipid acting and ear drum shattering sound are debatable
– Amit Mehra, CEO/Film Producer at Amit Mehra Productions
Here is the answer I posted at Linked-In Q & A (Link to the actual answer)
Answer: Sir, you have asked an interesting & thought provoking question. I am impressed. Here is my explanation. I put forward 7 theories to answer this question.
1) Indirect Nature of Product & Service
You can hold a bulb right in your hand, but you cant sing with the actress right in the movie. Essentially it does not matter if the movie has a poor props or sets, but a light bulb that you purchased yesterday from the local store holding in your hand which is not working really hurts (if your money is really that hard earned)
2) Qualitative (Subjectivity) Aspect
This theory is essentially the next theory but in a different perspective. There is no mutually accepted "Good Movie" definition, a romantic movie may be good for a couple but not for a guy who had a bad break up in the morning. Quite opposite of it, a light bulb not working is same for everyone i.e. not working at all whether the one holding it is a couple or a heart-broken individual.
3) No Set Performance Standards
When you buy a light bulb there is a known performance standard i.e. it will light up when you will pass current through it. But in case of movie, there is not set standard against which the performance of the movie will be judged. For e.g. directors/producer don’t make promises regarding what movie will do for, except 2 and half hour time pass, which every movie does nonetheless (in some cases change your entire life or viewpoint regarding something like Taare Zameen Par)
4) No definite outcome regardless of input (actual/perceived benefit)
I really appreciate your viewpoint i.e. lack of coherent script and character development and logical flow of story can be easily proven even if garish use of colours, tacky props/sets, insipid acting and ear drum shattering sound are debatable. But paradox is that some movies still work in spite of all these shortcomings because of subjectivity & qualitative aspect involved (see theory no. 3.) What I am trying to say is that movie will be a success if it ticks well with the audience regardless what went into the making.(For e.g. Life in a Metro really worked well despite the average star cast & multiple stories all rolled into 1) So is the case with the bulb, in emergency I (in fact everyone) want the bulb to light up regardless of what went into its making. So, lack coherent script, insipid acting et. al does not matter as much as the perceived benefit. Always remember, perceived benefit is much different from actual benefit. I can perceive that the light bulb saved my life as it worked when I turned it on just when the burglar was about to kill me, or I can perceive that the bulb does not make any difference to my life while I am working on a laptop while the actual benefit is same in all the cases that is bulb worked when I wanted.
5) No or Partial Film Industry Standards
We have partial industry or organization standards i.e. censor boards, when we move into a cinema to watch a family movie we are sure that it will not contain nude scenes. There is somehow agreed standard that the family movie cannot have nude scenes, but there is no overall set industry standards for the movies (which is good I believe as I explain in next theory). But we have Industry, International & environmental standards for the bulbs, so they have to work according to them. There can be no exception.
6) Freedom of expression & creativity
I thank god we have no set standards for movies, otherwise we would have standards like this: In order to create a great performing movie you must cast this hero (best), this heroine (best), this director (best), this location (best) and this set (best) which means we will see movies from same director featuring same hero, heroine, location & set.
We take cinema essentially as form of art & cast limited freedom of expression of creativity to the director (or story teller). Story teller is essentially like a painter and can paint whatever he feels like. Karan Johar, celebrated bollywoood director says he likes to create different worlds & wants the audience to immerse in it. So, suing director/producer for bad movie is like suing the painter for painting a poor picture, when we cant judge what a good painting is, which when further proposed can sufficiently explain why people shell thousands for a painting which seems rubbish & childish to some people.
The 7th theory is actually consumerism that is there is not much awareness & willingness among the movie goers to see what there rights are or what they deserve or what they want from a movie, there are very few movie goers associations.