George Lucas, who only a year ago spent $115 million on a flick that nearly tripled that total in domestic box office gross alone, has declared the death of the Hollywood blockbuster. Perhaps he was feeling the sting of his fantastically overpowered flick receiving almost no Oscar attention, despite its clear crown as king of the 2005 Box Office Wars. In an year where we've lamented the sagging B.O. numbers, Mr. Lucas almost singlehandedly lifted the slump for a few weeks with Revenge of the Sith, and yet the awards all went to much smaller movies. Lucas claimed that he was pleased by the Oscars - "I think it's great that the major Oscar nominations have gone to independent films" - but also pointed to the obvious problems with such. "Is that good for the business? No - it's bad for the business. But movie making isn't about business. It's about art!" (We can almost feel the sarcasm dripping off of that one, George.) He went on to declare that in the future, almost everything in theaters will be "indie" movies, predicting that by 2025, the average movie will cost only $15 million to make.

So what do we make of this idea? The truth of the matter is, most of the big hits this year were big budget films - Star Wars, Harry Potter, Narnia, War of the Worlds, and King Kong (despite its less than hoped for final total) were the top five grossing movies of the year. If you continue down the list, the closest thing you'll find to a non-big budget movie in the top 15 films is probably Wedding Crashers,* which still cost a solid $40 million. However, it is hard to ignore the impact of smaller films, particularly given the awards handed down by the Academy this year.

*Oh, and that Penguin documentary, I suppose. Sucker brought in some real numbers for a documentary.