Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Hollywood Babble On & On... #25: Betting on Failure

Did you hear that?

That sigh of relief echoing from film critics and film lovers the world over.

Let me explain.

Filmmaker, and I use that term loosely, Uwe Boll, the auteur of awful who blighted movie screens with movie versions of video games may never make another big budget film again. (Click here for the details)

Now I'm not the type of person to wish anyone ill and render him unable to earn a living, but Uwe would've been better suited to another position other than filmmaker.

I suggest he try crocodile rancher. People like crocodiles bett
er than his movies.

But back to what's happening.

Okay, for the uninitiated: Uwe Boll made movies (almost always adapted from video games) that were universally savaged by critics and avoided by audiences. His latest magnum anus had the unwieldy title of In The Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, which had a $70 million production budget, and a $3 million worldwide gross.


Now, it's not the first bomb he's had. Alone in the Dark and Bl
oodrayne, his other big budget projects crashed and burned hard, but he's always had a security blanket to catch him.

It was the German tax code.

German tax laws had a massive shelter whose intention was to promote investment in German film-making, instead it create a convoluted system where the investors were better off if the movie failed.

Plus, it promoted going over-budget as a good thing. The more money pissed away on film production, the more the investors and
accountants could credit to their benefit. The more money wasted, the more investors could save on their tax bill.

Uwe Boll was the tax-shelter's golden boy. His films always spent more than was seen on screen and they had all the audience appeal of roadkill.

So Uwe could make movie after movie, infuriating critics (
sometimes leading to fisticuffs) and annoying video game fans the world over, but helping some rich Germans get out of huge tax bills.

Hollywood also took advantage of this. A loophole in the law meant that you didn't have to piss away money on only German films.
So the Germans would finance the movie, sell the film to a studio through a complex deal for a token amount in exchange for a piece of the mythical, never seen net profit.

It promoted profligate budgets, shady book-keeping, huge star
salaries, and a complete disregard for the audience. Pretty much everything that's killing Hollywood.

Now that shelter's gone.

But will Hollywood change its ways?

Probably not.

I've never seen them give up any bad habit without a fight.


  1. Uwe could make movie after movie, infuriating critics (sometimes leading to fisticuffs)

    But didn't it only lead to fisticuffs because Boll arranged a self-promotional boxing match with his critics? Or are you talking about a different incident?

  2. That's what I was referring to. But I didn't want to spend the whole post explaining it.