Anne Thompson kicked off the discussion by commenting that while the studios spent too much on too many wrong projects, preferring to throw their money after splashy visual effects and 3D, some of the best films of the year were made on small budgets: 'The Social Network,' 'The Town,' 'True Grit' and 'The Fighter.' She asks: Is there change in the air?
Eric Kohn responded by wondering if those successful films marked a return of the auteur -- talented directors whose stylistic or thematic tendencies are consistent throughout their films. But he also lamented that the studios' marketing dollars generally don't get spent on those types of films.
Leonard Maltin worried that audiences just aren't aware of directors beyond the handful that have created blockbusters -- the James Camerons, the Steven Spielbergs or the Peter Jacksons. Audiences, he says, still succumb to the machinations of Hollywood's giant marketing machine, and don't take chances on independent productions.
And all three wondered how the brave new world of social media and viral marketing will affect Tinseltown -- will the change be for the better?
A transcript of their entertaining conversation is after the jump.