A big tip of my jaunty tam o'shanter to intrepid reporter Nikki Finke for THIS STORY about how Capitol Film's financial troubles have now spread to its subsidiary, indie distributor Thinkfilm in the form of a multi-million dollar lawsuit.
I should have predicted the lawsuit, because it's following a pattern that I call the Seven Stages of Good Grief That Shouldn't Have Happened To Any Company:
STAGE 1: FRUSTRATION- Rumors start to leak out about how it becomes tougher and tougher to do business with a certain company.
STAGE 2: AGGRAVATION- Those leaks turn into a flood of reports saying that it's impossible to do real business with said company.
STAGE 3: UNIONIZATION- Now things start getting official as rumors turn into reports and then into official complaints and grievances with the unions. The unions then start demanding that bills get paid forthwith.
STAGE 4: LITIGATION- Now the lawyers get involved as other creditors, who in the past were more patient because they thought the company was healthy, see the negative reports and the union trouble, and act to get back what they can while they still can.
STAGE 5: INVESTIGATION- Now the government's in the picture as industry regulators and the dreaded tax man smell corporate blood in the water and start poking their noses into the troubled business. This never ends well for anyone outside the government.
STAGE 6: DEVASTATION- I'm talking bankruptcy, job losses, obese tax bills, potential indictments, and other disasters that reduce the company in question to a mere shell owned by the IRS and a handful of corporate litigators.
STAGE 7: SALVATION- The head of the now defunct company goes to rehab for nothing in particular other than it's still covered by the company's insurance, finds Jesus, and makes a comeback as manager of a leper colony in Venezuela.
Now I'm not saying that these stages are inevitable. They can be avoided with a little integrity and common sense, but come on, this is Hollywood we're talking about here...