Thursday, 17 April 2014

Hollywood Babble On & On #1139: Mrs. Doubtfire Returns


Fox 2000 has commissioned a writer to develop a script for Mrs. Doubtfire 2, a sequel to the 1993 comedy starring Robin Williams. 


If you don't have basic cable, where the first film has been running on a loop for the last 20 years, it's the story of an unemployed actor who lost custody of his children because of his irresponsibility, so he puts on an elaborate disguise as an old British lady to become their nanny, and G to light PG  rated hilarity ensues.

Reports say that the studio has been sniffing around the idea of a sequel since the original raked in over $200+ million domestic but struggled to come up with a decent premise since (SPOILER ALERT) the original film has a happy ending.

One can imagine what the studio is thinking to jump into a sequel 20 years later, when the star is struggling to keep a sitcom on the air. I can imagine to pitch meeting:
PRESIDENT: We need a new movie. Something original and daring! 
EXECUTIVE: If an original movie flops, you could get fired.
PRESIDENT: Good point. Have a new Mercedes. We need a new remake or a sequel. Something where I can deny making any mistakes when it flops, and blame it on the market research people. 
EXECUTIVE: (looks through list) We haven't done a Mrs. Doubtfire sequel yet.
PRESIDENT: Wasn't it a one joke premise that is all wrapped up nicely with a happy ending?
EXECUTIVE: More or less.
PRESIDENT: What will be the new movie's premise?
EXECUTIVE: We could have Robin Williams disguise himself as an actor with a viable movie career…
PRESIDENT: Hmmmm… Sounds edgy, daring, and inventive. I HATE IT! 
EXECUTIVE: We could just pay some writer to come up with a reason for him to dress up like an old lady again.
PRESIDENT: PERFECT! Give it a green light and a $100 million budget. We don't want to spend to much on it, times are tight.
EXECUTIVE: You got it boss!
In case you missed it, there are pretty good reasons why it's hard to make a sequel to a family comedy, especially 20 years later.

1. TIME: It's literally been 20 years since the last movie. It's quite believable for the Williams character to be a grandparent. So what's the premise? He has to disguise himself as an old lady to spend time with his grandchildren, who he can't normally see because his meth-head oldest child lost custody and got a restraining order against the whole family. Sounds more depressing than ever.

2. HAPPY ENDING: The first film ended with him restoring his connection with his kids, and having success as an actor. So why must his character don a disguise as an old lady? Did he lose everything, is he on the run from the mob, have his kids disowned him and forbidden him from seeing his grandkids? Either way, the happy ending that had been earned through his comical trials has hence been declared all for nothing. That created a subconscious sense in the audience that they'd been kinda cheated, and many will just stay home.

3. ONE JOKE: That's all the original had. Sure, it may have seemed original and novel at the time, but it's been done to death over the last 20 years.

I wish Hollywood wasn't ruled by greed and fear, then maybe they might be willing to try something original and novel again.

But I doubt it.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Hollywood Babble On & On #1138: Apres Colbert Les Deluge?

Okay, we all know that Stephen Colbert is replacing David Letterman, that's a fact, and some are already prepping excuses for him to pull in low ratings, which is probably a given. But this is not what this post is about.


What this post is about is the half-hour gap Colbert will be leaving on Comedy Central between The Daily Show and @Midnight. For those who don't know The Daily Show is where Jon Stewart earns $25-$30 million a year, more than the $20 million earned by Leno and Letterman, for about half of their viewers. @Midnight is a mock game show hosted by nerd-king Chris Hardwick where comedians and other smart-alecs crack wise about crazy stuff the show's writers and producers find on the internet. Now @Midnight's been seeing a very steady rise in viewership thanks to its aggressive online word of mouth campaigns on social networks, and some say it often beats The Daily Show in key demos.

So what should go in between them?

Well, Comedy Central is not really known as the best run of networks, at least from what I've heard. One story I heard involved a producers and cast waiting over a year to find out if their show had been renewed because someone somewhere forgot to make a phone call. So don't expect any decisions being made as swiftly and surely as CBS did with Colbert/Letterman.

Basically, the management style is that if you're one of the flagship clique who deliver either big ratings or lots of kudos they will give you the moon, if you don't you're a punching bag.

Which brings us to who and what will get Colbert's Comedy Central time slot?

Now political humour these days is pretty thin, there are too many areas that are more or less off limits to political comedians barring a shift in who runs Washington. 

So doing another political show to replace a political show to reiterate what their main political show just said would just be flogging a dead horse.

Perhaps a more mainstream talk show format would be best, but then the host would be key.

Now if Comedy Central was smart, they'd set up a show where a funny host, or rotating roster of funny hosts, recruited from podcasts, have half-hour chats with other funny people. Include audience participation via the internet, segments, video sketches, and other nonsense.

But Comedy Central will probably just sign the show over to Chelsea Handler in the hope that she'll bring more than her usual 500,000 female fans with her from the E! Network.

It's the safe choice from their point of view.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Hollywood Babble On & On #1137: REBOOT REBOOT REBOOT!

Universal Pictures has put a feature film reboot of Battlestar Galactica on the development fast track, because it's considered way easier and safer than doing anything, you know, original.


Now I want you remember that this movie is a remake of a 2004-2009 TV series, which itself was a remake of a TV series that first premiered in 1978 before being cancelled.

So here we are, Universal's best idea is to do a remake of a remake that's still pretty fresh in everyone's minds. At this rate of rebooting by 2020 every major studio's summer release schedule will be three different versions of the same film.

Why are they doing this?

Greed and fear.

Greed in that they honestly think people will pay to see something they've already seen fairly recently because they believe people are stupid with the long term memories of goldfish.

Fear in that they're all terrified of losing their jobs. So they go for what they think will protect them. Chiefly picking a familiar franchise, running through some market research focus groups, and then say when it all goes to pot: "You can't fire me, I did everything I could to make sure we had a hit."

But did they?

First, let's look at the franchise itself, and the nature of that franchise and whether or not it's got real potential for a reboot.

The original Battlestar Galactica was a ratings hit when it first aired, but then rival CBS rescheduled their hit sitcoms All In The Family and Alice to directly compete, leaving Galactica with only 28% of the audience. 

Ironically, numbers that would be considered a mega-hit now was not enough for the ABC network to justify the expensive show.

Faced with an audience backlash ABC gave the green light to a cheaper new show called Galactica 1980. The premise of the pilot involved the Galactica and it's ragtag fleet of ships finding Earth in the year 1980, and Starbuck and Apollo having to use time travel to stop Baltar from rewriting Earth's history.

However ABC balked at the time travel premise, viewing it as too expensive and complicated. Also most of the cast of the original show was either not interested, or too busy doing other things to do this show. So they jumped ahead about 30 years, said most of the previous show's characters were either dead or missing, and sent 2 new characters and a bunch of annoying kids to live on Earth. Plus, changes in gravity and other things have given those annoying kids superpowers.

The new show didn't last, it had low ratings and was canned after 10 episodes.

The rejected fixing history premise was later revived by producers into a show called Quantum Leap.

Anyway, the Galactica franchise lay dormant for over 20 years before being re-imagined as the new Battlestar Galactica on what is now called the SyFy Channel. The show was a hit by basic cable standards, and racked up some critical acclaim and audience devotion.

It ended a four year run, with a finale that somewhat divided fans. Universal and SyFy didn't want to completely lose the franchise, but didn't want to pay for all those expensive CGI spaceships. They wanted something a little more planet-bound and that led to the creation of Caprica.

Caprica sought to tell the story of the creation of the Cylons and their eventual break from human society.

It was never as popular as Battlestar: Galactica, and it only lasted one season.

Universal/SyFy then tried another prequel pilot movie called Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome. The premise was following the adventures of Commander Adama, before he became Edward James Olmos and was just a cocky young fighter pilot. SyFy lost faith in the premise and released it first as "webisodes" before airing it as a TV movie.

Now they want to do Battlestar Galactica all over again, this time as a movie.

First, the franchise, as you can see, has a fairly spotty record, especially in the spin-off department, and I think I know why.

It's a story franchise, not a procedural franchise.

You see a procedural franchise is one where a hero or heroes face a series of villains and adventures in every instalment. There may be character development and story arcs between instalments, but they're not essential to know to enjoy them. A good example are James Bond films and superhero films which can generally be rebooted and rehashed into infinity. There are always new villains and adventures to face in every instalment and who cares who plays the hero as long as they do a good job.

Galactica is a story franchise. It's the story of Exodus set in outer space and peppered with Mormon theology. It's supposed to have a set beginning, a set middle, and a set end. All problems are variations of the main one, surviving until they find a new home on the planet Earth, and all threats are variations of the central villain, the Cylons.

Unlike a procedural franchise, every time you reboot it, you're just repeating one story, not introducing a new adventure.

I'm not sure if that's a recipe for success.

That's what I think, let me know what you think.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Hollywood Babble On & On #1136: Who Will Replace Letterman?

Okay, we all know David Letterman is leaving the Late Show on CBS, and that I'm not really going to miss him, since I long stopped missing him in the mid-1990s, so let's join in with everyone else on the internet with POINTLESS SPECULATIONS OVER WHO WILL REPLACE HIM!!

Now remember, this is not NBC we're talking about, there is no Lorne Michaels at CBS holding onto everyone in the executive suite by the short and curlies. CBS has always been a top-down monarchy, so the final decision will rest with network uber-boss Les Moonves. So let's take a look at some of the people being considered or recommended for the job... 


CRAIG FERGUSON

Ferguson has been hosting the post-Letterman slot for about 10 years.

PROS: Charming host, good interviewer who seems actually interested in his guests. He's also pretty good at retaining a good chunk of Letterman's audience while attracting fans of his own.

CONS: His loopy, geeky, and absurdist style and tendency to interview authors, which is considered heresy by networks executives may keep him from promoting him to the more mainstream 11:35 PM slot.

Don't cry for him if he doesn't get the gig, according to reports, his contract stipulates a $12 million payoff if he's passed over.

STEPHEN COLBERT

Colbert is the front runner because everyone in media wants him to be the front runner.

PROS: He's hugely popular in media circles, and his show The Colbert Report, where he plays a parody of a conservative pundit gets about a million viewers on average, mostly around college age, which is a coveted demographic. People also seem to like him as an interviewer.

CONS: He's hugely popular in media circles. Which means that he tends to play more to the shibboleths and prejudices of the media community that I like to call The Axis of Ego, over the mainstream audience. Also the network will push to soften his sharp edges to appeal to the mainstream, which might hurt the audience he already has.

If he doesn't get the job I will be extremely surprised.

ELLEN DEGENERES

Ellen is being touted as a replacement to break the "Middle Aged White Male" dynamic of late night talk shows.

PROS: Has a successful syndicated daytime talk show, and a pretty good public image.

CONS: Has no reason to leave her daytime talk show, where she has lots of control to go work for a network and it's legions of executives. Plus, if rumours are true, I'm not sure if the tightly run, closely knit CBS network would stand for having the staff of it's late night flagship fired and replaced at least once or twice a season.

CHELSEA HANDLER

She's leaving her E! Network show and is rumoured to be in talks with CBS to replace Letterman, though those rumours may be coming from her.

PROS: Has about 500,000+ fans, mostly females 18-49, who will watch and buy just about anything she puts her name on.

CONS: Her personality, style, and choice of subject matter generally means that those 500,000+ seem to be all she's got, and her attempts to go mainstream, like the sitcom based on her life, tend to disappear unnoticed.

HOWARD STERN

The legendary "shock jock" has also been touted as a replacement for Letterman.

PROS: The self-proclaimed "King of All Media" has a large and loyal fan base that followed him into the realm of uncensored satellite radio.

CONS: He'd never take the job because it would mean a pay cut and loss of the freedom he enjoys in satellite radio. Plus, he's only a few years younger than Letterman, so how long could he maintain the grind of a daily show?

However, reports say that Stern recommended:

GREG GUTFELD

Gutfeld hosts the Fox News shows Red Eye at 3 AM and co-hosts The Five at 5 PM.

PROS: Gutfeld would mark a radical change in style and attitude from Letterman, and Gutfeld manages to get 350,000-500,000 viewers on average which is pretty good for a cable show on at three in the morning.

CONS: There's no way in hell one of the big three networks would let him host their flagship late shows. He's too right wing politically, too prone to push controversial buttons, and he bears the "taint" of Fox News, which means that he will never win any industry awards which networks will accept in place of ratings as long as their costs are covered.

The network's more likely to replace the Late Show with...

RERUNS OF M*A*S*H*

The original series, set during the Korean War, ran over 3X longer than the real war, going 11 years on CBS.

PROS: It appeals to the late night audience, which has been skewing older and older in recent years, and will be cheaper than the mega-bucks needed to pay a host.

CONS: I can't think of any.

Who do you think should replace Letterman?

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Hollywood Babble On & On #1135: Goodbye Letterman.

You probably heard that David Letterman is retiring in 2015 after achieving his ambition to outlast Jay Leno.

A lot of people are wailing, gnashing their teeth, and rending their garments declaring how much they will miss Letterman, and to them I have a question:  

When was the last time you watched David Letterman's show with any regularity?

Come on, this is a place of honesty, and sarcasm, you can tell me.

I'll wait.

















Pic from my own short-lived 70s late night show.





















There, don't you feel better letting it all out like that?

I won't be missing Letterman as he is now, because I wasted all my late night talk show host attachment missing the Letterman I knew growing up.

As a kid I loved summer vacation because I got to stay up late, and if I showed some real gumption stay up all the way to 1:30 AM local time to watch David Letterman when he came on after The Tonight Show.

I loved Letterman's work in the 80s, he was inventive, he was unconventional, he wasn't above messing with the audience and the owners of the network. 

Then came the battle with Jay Leno to succeed Johnny Carson. It was bloody, it was brutal, and in the end Leno had The Tonight Show, and Letterman moved to CBS and the seemingly perpetual position as the critic's darling.

You see a lot of people in media resented Leno for how he got Carson's coveted desk, and figured they would make Leno pay for his perceived treachery, his obedience to his network masters, and his deliberated middle-of-the-road persona.

That meant Letterman was treated as if he could do no wrong, and that marked the beginning of the end, at least for me. His tics, absurdist pretensions, and mannerisms got more and more pronounced, but without the playful joy he exhibited during his days at NBC. It reached its nadir when he disastrously hosted the Oscars, and, for what I think was the first time in his late night career, he got bad reviews.

Anyway, after that I began to notice a change in Letterman and his show, but first a little digression.

The secret of Johnny Carson's success was that he always seemed interested in his guests. His successors were a different story. Jay Leno only seemed interested in depositing his pay check and getting another steam powered antique car.

After the Oscar disaster I felt that Letterman, see, I said I would get back to him, seemed only interested in 3 things:

1. Outlasting Jay Leno.

2. Proving that he was better than his guests.

3. Proving that he was better than his audience.

Eventually I lost interest in David Letterman, he had gone from being the comedic innovator with an all-American mid-western  aw-shucks attitude, to a smug isolated curmudgeon who played not to the audience, but to the media community that surrounded him.

So I, like millions of others, gradually tuned out, leaving Leno & Letterman to battle futilely for the captaincy of a sinking ship. Except unlike so many others, I'm willing to admit my heresy.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Hollywood Babble On & On #1134: Question Meet Answer!

Nate Winchester asked... 
D, you think this is a big reason why Hollywood always gets capitalism and businesses etc. Heck, when I read some of these I start to see why the movies have this weird trope about "greedy" businesses doing things that would actually cost more money than... almost any other possible action. What about you? You think that's where it comes from?

Definitely, and you've inspired me to go off on a long rant about Hollywood's bad relationship with economics.

So, away we go!

Stupidity, especially about economic issues, is one of my personal bugbears.  Resident Evil, AliensElysium, Repo Men, and literally dozens, if not hundreds of other films, all feature that all purpose villain Evil Incorporated doing things that aren't remotely profitable, but they sure as hell are evil.

Why do Hollywood movies insist on doing this?

Well, there are several reasons:

1. IGNORANCE: The trope of the evil rich person goes so far back it predates capitalism. It's roots lie in the pre-capitalist feudal societies where wealth wasn't created, it was distributed, and usually it was distributed at sword point, and usually by order of whoever had the most swords at their command. This has created an idea that exists in people's heads that if someone has something than that someone must have taken it from someone else.

What people don't seem to know is that wealth is no longer taken, it is created. Someone figures out a way to deliver a good or a service to customers in a way that balances quality and price for maximum profitability.

John D. Rockefeller eventually dominated the oil industry by figuring out how to extract, refine, distribute, and market oil to customers cheaper and with a better quality than his competition. He made it possible for people to read at night, and even helped save the whales because nobody needed massive quantities whale oil anymore. (Ladies still needed whale bone corsets until the 1920s)

Carnegie figured out how to reduce the cost of steel by 90%. That made trans-continental railways and high rise buildings possible, thus reducing the costs of shipping and housing.

They didn't go to people's houses wave a sword and say: "Gimme all you got in the name of the king!" They found a way to give people things they could use at a competitive, yet profitable price.

Same thing with Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and thousands of other entrepreneurs and the companies they've founded.

Even contractors who make weapons for the various militaries of the world don't really make their money off the weapons. When it comes to military contracts the company aims to make a small profit from getting the military to pay for the expensive research and development process.

Once that's done they immediately set out looking for civilian uses and markets for variations of their discoveries. The game console that you use to blast aliens probably started life as the hardware running a guided missile. The stuff that helped save your life in the emergency room, probably started out as a military contract, and so on and so forth.

Then there's the whole concept of hogging some sort of technology and keeping it only for the 1%.

Well, that's a great way to go bankrupt.

Take for example two companies: Rolls Royce and Ford.

Rolls Royce made customizable high-end hand-made cars for the super-rich.

Ford made cars for as many people as possible.

Rolls Royce has skirted bankruptcy for most of its history, even during the best of times, and was even nationalized by the British government because of its shaky finances. Ford on the other hand grew immensely huge, with branches worldwide, has managed to weather almost every storm, and was the only car company in the USA to refuse a government bailout.

Do you see what this long-winded rant is getting at?

If everyone in Hollywood truly understood economics, they wouldn't be using half of the premises they use.

2. LAZINESS: To understand economics requires effort, not only to learn, but also to explain to those in Hollywood who still don't understand. That's a hell of a lot of work, especially the explaining part.

It's just easier to stick with the tried and true tropes of "Everything's wrong because of corporations" because it doesn't need to be explained to anyone who works in...

3. HOLLYWOOD: It's believed that Garson Kanin once said "The trouble with Hollywood as an art is that it's a business, and the trouble with Hollywood as a business is that it's an art."

I would like to add to that wisdom that it's a business that's not so much run as a business, but as a feudal kingdom.

In Hollywood too many people end up in positions of power and authority based more on their social connections than their ability. Once in a position of power they then act as if everything is a zero-sum-game and that if any money is to be made it should be made only by them because they're in their position by a form of divine right. Their lack of competence, and occasional abundance of corruption is usually covered by the fact that the companies they run are just small cogs in much larger machines, and their product, movies and TV shows, are a much desired product worldwide.

Spend enough time in such an environment, and you might end up honestly believing that every business operates like that.

_____________

Now I've recently seen some states that puts the whole "corporate villain" trope down is that the "faceless mega-corporation" is on the way out. During the 20th century most corporations employed a large percentage of the population, and had an average lifespan between creation and dissolution or takeover of about 75 years. Nowadays only a small percentage of the population work for so-called mega-corporations and the average corporate life-span is down to 15 years.

What we are seeing is the rise of the individual politically connected mega-investor who runs various investment groups and hedge funds instead of a corporation, and profits by buying and selling corporations, either as a whole, or in pieces.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Hollywood Babble On & On #1133: Conjuring Up A Lawsuit


Here's a little tale of terror that's guaranteed to curl your hair, or, if your hair is already curly, straighten it.


Once upon a time, a horror film called The Conjuring was made for about $20 million, and about another $20 million was spent on prints and advertising.

The Conjuring got good notices and excellent word of mouth and raked in $138 million domestically, and another $180 million at the international box office.

Now this should be where I say: "And they all made sequels happily ever after" but I can't.

Because according to the producers all the profits DISAPPEARED!

The film's producer's Evergreen Media claim in their lawsuit that not only has their contracted profit participation not been paid, they're also fighting over who has control over the rights to any and all sequels and that the dispute scotched a proposed Conjuring TV series deal with Lionsgate.

Now I don't know the details of the contracts, or the personal relationships between the major players in this case, but all I can say is:

WHY?

Why does every business  partnership involving a major studio seem to end in litigation?

Why do major studios look at potentially lucrative franchises and the first thing they think of is how can they ruin relationships with the people who made that franchise possible?

Why do I always have to assume that it's always the studio's fault?

Why can't Hollywood studios accept the first rule of real capitalism?

You don't know what that rule is?

Oh, well I'll drop some explaining on your lap.

The first rule of capitalism is that in any business relationship all sides get what they want.

Here's an example: you want to buy a cup of coffee at your local chain store. You want the coffee more than you want the money in your pocket, and the clerk wants your money more than they want that triple chocolate latte double-double vente fortissimo congealing on their counter.

You get your coffee, they get your money.

You both got what you wanted.

Why can't Hollywood grasp that?

They could probably milk about 3 to 4 more Conjuring movies with comparable budgets and similar box office if they manage to maintain a similar level of quality before they hit the inevitable law of diminishing returns.

Why not just do those movie and television projects with a minimum of fuss and muss and litigation, relax, and let them make everyone some money?

It's not rocket science, it's just plain old common sense.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Hollywood Babble On & On #1132: Random Forebodings?

CAN NOAH SAIL?


The box office for Darren Aronofsky's non-Bilblical Biblical epic Noah has been very good for the opening weekend raking in about $44 million domestic and $50 million internationally. Now Hollywood is thinking that it's a victory for the film which sparked some controversy by, according to some reports, removing most of the involvement of God and religion from the Biblical tale, replacing them with CGI monsters, which strikes me as akin to making a Batman movie where all you see is Alfred doing chores.


But that's an argument for Biblical scholars and Hollywood folks to have, what I'm here to talk about is whether or not the movie has legs. Or in the case of Noah: sails.

You see "legs" is old school theatrical talk for a show's ability to pull an audience over time. One way is to gauge word of mouth, like a film's Cinemascore rating, which in the case of Noah is an unhealthy "C."

That means that while audiences are flocking to the opening weekend, they are leaving the theatre unsatisfied at best, and will most likely not recommend the film to other potential ticket buyers.

That doesn't bode well for Noah, which cost about $125 million to make, and at least 2/3s of that amount to promote and release. Add that to the fact that on-average the distributor gets about 50¢ of every domestic dollar, and anywhere between 25-40¢ of each international ticket dollar, depending on the territory, and you have a potential problem.

Noah is going to need to maintain that opening weekend momentum if it's going to turn a profit. The reports of audience dissatisfaction don't bode well for that, and for its future home-video revenues.

SPEAKING OF THERE BEING NO GOD

The Shituation Situation from Jersey Shore is getting another reality show.

That crew are like herpes, you never truly get rid of them as long as TV execs have zero imagination and they have unlimited greed.

THIS DOES NOT BODE WELL EITHER

Colin Farrell is signed up to do the movie The Lobster, about a dystopian future society where if you don't find your true love by a specified time you're turned into an animal. Most likely a lobster.

Why?

It's a dystopia, we don't need reasons!

Is it just me, or does the combo of Colin Farrell, and a romantic-adventure story with a surrealistic premise seems like a rerun of the fiasco surrounding A Winter's Tale?

Friday, 28 March 2014

Hollywood Babble On & On #1131: Got Money? Make Movies?

Just about anyone with an internet connection knows that folks like crowd funding movies, and we all more or less have a sense of how that works.

A filmmaker puts out a call for money, and in exchange for your donations you get prizes, like DVDs of the film in question, autographs, scripts, props, and/or other related-memorabilia, all depending on how much you kick into the kitty.

You're essentially pre-buying stuff related to a movie before it gets made, but you're not expecting to own a piece of the film's profits.

However, that might change.

Junction Investments is a new website set up to connect accredited investors with a way to purchase a piece of independently financed films from major independent financiers.

Now if you don't know what an accredited investor is, well they sort of look like this…
Get my point?

You gotta be rich to play this game.

Anyway, let's take a moment to look at THE PROS AND CONS!

PROS:

1. SPREADING OF RISK: The more people paying into a project, the less risk each individual investor has to face. Pretty simple really.

2. WIDENING OF INVESTOR POOL: The movie business needs more people willing to invest in movies, and, by succeeding at turning a profit, hopefully improve the image of the financial side of the movie business. Which will attract more investors… etc… etc...

CONS:

1. STUDIO BOOKKEEPING: The article says that some packages will be offering shares of the net profits.

Wanna see a picture of some Hollywood net profits?

Well sorry, but net profits haven't been seen in Hollywood since Disney released Splash about 30 years ago, so all I can show is something you're more likely to see.

Now I'm bringing this up because a lot of these projects will be either already set to be distributed by a major studio, or could potentially be released by a major studio. That means they will be subject to the bookkeeping of a major movie company. If studio bookkeeping were on a medieval map, it would be labelled under "Here be where madness doth lye."

Studios are black holes for net profits, and that is a bad pairing with this inevitability of movies...

2. SIMPLE RISK: Every movie is a crap shoot. You could have the biggest stars, the best director, and the greatest screenplay ever written on the most widely appealing subject matter and you could still drop a turkey.

It's just how things happen in the movie biz. Bombs happen, and there's no way to stop them from happening or predict which films will bomb and which will be blockbusters. If there was, filmmakers would only make hits, but there isn't, and that's that.

However, if you couple this simple inevitable risk with studio bookkeeping and you're going to attract...

3. LITIGATION: The bane of independent film. So many companies and investment schemes have been destroyed by rampant litigation. This litigation can be inspired by real outrage over shoddy or shady bookkeeping, or it can spring forth from a possibly innocent misunderstanding over the true nature and risks of their investment.

Usually these cases end up as a "guilty until proven innocent" situation if not always in court, then at least in the eyes of investors.

I wish the people behind Junction Investments luck, and I hope they have the ways and means to avoid the cons that I've discussed here.