Saturday, 8 December 2007

Hollywood Babble On & On... #10: New Line's New Beginning?

Well, it looks like The Golden Compass couldn't find an audience, victim to bad word of mouth about it's anti-religious origins, and over misgivings over the quality of the film.

And it looks like the chief of the studio that made the film, New Line Cinema's Robert Shaye is most likely to not get his contract renewed in 2008.

Now this is not just because one over-expensive film bombed, it looks like the final in a long line of nails in the New Line chief's coffin.

First a little history, thanks to Wikipedia.

The company started out in the late 60s by co-founders Robert Shaye and partner Michael Lynne doing roadshow exhibitions of Reefer Madness at college campuses. During the 70s it distributed films by independent filmmakers like John Waters but it really hit its stride in the 1980s.

During the 80s it hit the big time with A Nig
htmare on Elm Street series as well as other low-budget horror, sci-fi and comedy films. It started to grow and grow.

In 1994 New Line was purchased by media mogul Ted Turner, who then sold out to the Time-Warner media empire.

The company kept on growing, but things started to fray around the edges.

Especially when it came to the company'
s most active co-CEO Robert Shaye.

Shaye became the symbol of everything I consider wrong with Hollywood, a loud bullying figure making more enemies than movies.

The most famous incident was when Shaye tried to screw writer/director/producer Peter Jackson out of the DVD profits for The Lord of the Rings trilogy that earned billions for th
e company.

He also sought to somehow prove himself as being more important to the success of the LOTR trilogy by trying to find an
other fantasy-franchise that would bear his mark as an studio honcho, and not the mark of some silly auteur who only made the movie.

Sadly, having already alienated filmmakers, he then alienated the other key element of a successful film: THE AUDIENCE.

The audience wants films and stories that they can connect with on an emotional level.

The problem is what the average person emotionally connects to is totally different from what folks in Beverly Hills and Malibu emotionally connect to.

So New Line ended up making a New Age kid-movie with the unfortunate title of The Last Mimzy (directed by Shaye himself) and then topping it off by making a $200 million dollar epic derived from a book written by a militant atheist with a serious hatred for Catholics, and opening it during the CHRISTMAS SEASON.

As my Grandpa used to say, that is 7 kinds of stupid.

So now New Line's bleeding money, and Shaye's contract is up in 2008 and it looks like it won't be renewed.

But I have a proposal.

Name me as CEO of New Line Cinema.

That's right, me Furious D, CEO and movie mogul.

Do I have experience?


Experience doesn't seem to help those in power in Hollywood either, so it's not really helpful.

Here's what I'll bring to the table.

*I love movies.

*I love making movies.

*I'll work for 1/2 of what Shaye gets and a piece of the profits. I'm not greedy, just smart. I will have to perform to make the mega-bucks.

*I will keep profitable filmmakers working for New Line, instead of driving them off with shady deals and obnoxious meddling, so they can keep making money for us. If I can't trust someone to make a film right, I won't hire them in the first place.

*I will not hold the audience in contempt. I will actively seek projects that the peasantry will pay money to see. They want stories they can connect to that don't insult them.

*I won't abuse my expense account.

*I won't let my ego be the driving force behind major decisions.

*I will keep movie budgets within reason. What's the point of a blockbuster film if your great-grandchildren have to wait for it to make a profit. I will insist on creativity over money to solve production problems.

So, pass the word around, especially to the board of Time-Warner/New Line. There's an affordable alternative out there. And it's me.


  1. This film didn't just fail, it outdid the expectations of all those who said it would lose money with a 20mil opening day earnings.

    Compass only made 8.6 mil on its opening day.

    This is not FAIL, it is EPIC FAIL.

    Shaye's gone, I hope the next EXEC tries to patch things up with Jackson and hope to get that Hobbit film off the ground

  2. Forlourned22/1/08 6:39 pm

    Hear, Hear! Furious D for the Prez!!!

    Smack some sense into those hollyweird bobble heads and make those movies Shine!