Could Hollywood Increase Public Transportation Ridership?

Post by Steven Dale

This idea is no where near as absurd as John Travolta's mustache in The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3.

Kids eat more spinach after they’ve watched Popeye cartoons.

New Zealand experienced a 40% increase in tourism that’s been attributed to the Lord of the Rings movies.

At least 200,000 American youth are influenced to start smoking each year due to all the positive associations and images of cigarettes and characters who smoke presented in Hollywood films and television programs.

Really? You don't say.

The sleepy town of Dyersville, Iowa (population: 4,000), meanwhile, is still reaping the economic benefits of tourism due to its association with the classic Kevin Costner baseball fantasy, Field of Dreams.

And what kind of computers do you see all the cool kids using in film and television these days?

It took us, like, 30 seconds to find this and we don't even know what a "gossip girl" is.

Over in the state of Wyoming where Brokeback Mountain was set, a dramatic increase in tourism occurred after the Oscar-winning gay cowboy epic was released wide across the nation – this despite the fact that the movie wasn’t even filmed in Wyoming and was instead shot in Alberta, Canada.

And how many of us would know such a city as Casablanca, Morocco even existed (let alone where to find it on a map) were it not for a certain Humphrey Bogart movie?

This one, if you were wondering.

In other words: If Hollywood makes something look cool, it is cool. And its no secret that consumption follows coolness.

We know that Hollywood thinks you’re a loser if you don’t drive and so far the best treatment American film has ever given public transit is this:

"No thanks . . . I think I'll just walk the three hours to work today."

And while it was a fine and entertaining flick, I can assure you it didn’t make anyone want to ride public transit. Quite the opposite, I suspect.

So . . . Leaving all moral and ethical judgements aside:

Is it possible that Hollywood could increase public transportation ridership if they depicted it in a positive light?

Could the American film industry accomplish what the public transit industry has failed to do despite decades’ worth of attempts and billions of dollars in government subsidies?

Not to mention thousands of ill-conceived and poorly executed billboard and marketing campaigns.

And when exactly was the last time we saw a positive depiction of public transit in a mainstream and popular American movie?

Not here, that's for sure.

Ultimately, what would happen if Hollywood created movies that made public transit look cool?

It’s worth thinking about – seriously . . .

You're a fool if you think the car industry hadn't already figured this one out...


. . . decades ago.


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  1. the aston martin already looked cool before it made it the movies. find a cool looking public transit and then maybe it will make it into a film too. but, unfortunately anything with lots of people -- train, bus, plane -- are usually just blown up in movies, now that's probably not the best publicity is it? maybe they should just show hollywood movies IN public transit, then people can see the films for the price of a bus ride instead of the obscene amount they charge in theaters.
  2. What hollywood made: A film like "The Soldier", USA 1982 ( villain imprisons agent in a gondola and shoot a rocket on it) Or very crazy like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHPDIjWgMzw&feature=related A former James Bond was skiing at the Valluga, St.Anton, Austria and you can see gondolas ("On Her Majesty's Secret Service" ??? ) You should ask Arnold Schwarzenegger, if he makes a chase by gondolas in his next film.
  3. No, it was a former film than "On Her Majesty Secret Service". But there is a ropeway too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PDRpvAh_Us
  4. I enjoyed Collateral with Tom Cruise (on an el-cheapo Tuesday in Suva, Fiji for F$4.00) because of the scenes on the red line of LA, having just ridden all the coloured lines of LA a few weeks before. I also remember the El Grande Cokes were similarly bargained, and the last few plot twists were extremely painful to put up with.
  5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:French_Quarter_Undercover.jpg
  6. This is all we need... http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1323045/
  7. or we could just start the "Snakes on a Moving Form of Popular Transport" series! Snakes on a Plane Snakes on a Bus Snakes on a Streetcar Snakes on a Gondola and the grand finalé Snakes in your Shoes
  8. Snakes on a Plane. What was that about?
  9. How about things that actually make people want to ride them?
  10. Yeah, I saw that poster a year ago and wasn't thrilled. I'm just glad it was a movie nobody saw :).
  11. I loved Collateral. It didn't, however, make me want to ride the LA Metro.
  12. A couple of locals shot that at Snowbasin, near where I live. Reading the publicity during production, I recall wondering what, were it to become any kind of a hit, its impact would be on urban gondola, and like Steven, was glad it was the movie nobody saw. Frankly, given the implications, I was quite amazed that the resort actually allowed them to use its facilities. The plot was so bizarre that it seemed like something that could only happen in a movie. But the next thing ya know, wham! Life imitates art (not that that movie was art) ihttp://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2011/03/10/bc-whistler-blackcomb-stranded.html
  13. Jeffrey Bridgman
    The Bourne series has quite a bit of public transport in it.... in usually at least a neutral light..... always makes for a good get away ;)
  14. Always strange though . . . it's always an action movie with guns blazing, eh? Never any "positive" experiences.
  15. It must be a chase/pursuit, where user of an urban ropeway are faster than chaser/pursuer inside a car jam...
  16. snakes in ... eh gondolas in a music clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eG2uNbNRkAw
  17. Why Hollywood? Why not in a commercial advertising film ? George Clooney drinks his coffee in a gondola. (possible at the urban ropeway of Cologne/Köln, Germany http://www.koelner-seilbahn.de/english/index.html ) Godfather John Malkovich wants his capsules and stops the gondola... Contact: http://www.nespresso.com/mediacenter/index.php?page=international-press-detail&id=9 Why not?
  18. post scriptum Cologne is a big ans wonderful town of Germany, where politicians of USA or Canada can drive there without violence to see an urban ropeway, experience up close. §;o)
  19. What about Unstoppable? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JM-0Ywc7wNY What about 9/11 - the actual thing, the movie? Is it possible that Hollywood could increase public transportation ridership if they depicted it in a positive light? I agree with Guenther by the way. Hollywood or else movies: to me it seems a bit too much. But with the right circumstances it shouldn't be a problem to make it "sexy" or cool. Like this for instance: nice image, good marketing, but a lie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhMV0e_cFAI

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