Saturday, 19 July 2008

Hollywood Babble On & On #130: Random Thoughts That Don't Involve The Dark Knight Movie

1. A tip of my sassy fedora to the folks at Defamer for this post, that led me to this report from the Hollywood Reporter and this report from Business Week.

For those too lazy to click the links, I'll try my best to sum it all up for you.

The Weinstein Company's having some problems. They buy up indie movies by the pound, and then sit on them in order to claim them as "assets" even though they're
not earning any money, movies they do release cost too much and earn too little, their DVD distributor Genius Products lost about 90% of its stock value, going from $2.50 a share to $0.20 a share, they've had to let some productions go to other distributors or find partners because they're running low on cash, and old Harvey's digging up inaccurate sports metaphors for their situation.

Basically he's compared the company to the Chicago Bulls, and himself to Michael Jordan and how everyone wants them to fail, even though they've "won all these titles."

Harvey, let's take a minute and think about that metaphor for a minute. The Chicago Bulls are a sports team. A sports team wins championship titles to woo fans who buy tickets, merchandize and make money for the team. You run a film company, and the purpose of that company is to make and release movies that make money. Not making money is not "winning the title."

And I, for one, am not wishing for Harvey Weinstein to fail. I would like to see
everybody in the movie business make money, be happy, the world to be all sunshine and unicorns, and Alyson Hannigan to do nude scenes. However, when it comes to TWC, there's no money, no happiness, no sunshine, no unicorns, and Alyson remains clothed.

But what really gets me is the name of the distribution company the Weinsteins formed to handle the rather inelegant dumping of their movies into nominal theatrical runs and DVD discount bins:


I now know that they're not even
trying to make successful movies anymore. They're pretty much condemning these films to failure before anyone can see them.

How do I know?

Let me answer that question, with a question and an answer, then another question and an answer.

What is a third rail?

It's the rail in a subway line that carries a powerful electric current to power the trains.

What is the symbolic meaning of the the third rail?

It refers to anything that
you shouldn't touch because if you do, you will die.

They might as well have named the company
Big Steaming Pile of Movies. Heck, they might even be better off, at least the steaming pile may smell, but it at least doesn't carry the message that its product might kill you.


2. A tip of my Sherlockian Deerstalker to Nikki Finke for this report of a major shake-up at indie powerhouse Lionsgate. Seems the new boss is doing some hiring and firing, and there are some reports that he's also looking to get away from the company's successful history with horror films and move into more mainstream fare. Something that has pissed off horror fans recently, that I've already written about.

Here's some advice for the shaking up of Lionsgate.

A. Don't completely forget the horror genre. It's a bread and butter
money-maker that doesn't usually cost much, and tends to have strong shelf-lives in theatres and video rentals. Sure, it's the red-headed stepchild of the movie business, and making a horror movie won't score you a good seat at the "Save the Polar Bears" fund-raiser screening of "The 11th Hour" held at Leo DiCaprio's media room, but forget about that and think of the bottom line, and consider suggestion "B."

B. Use the horror genre, and probably even comedies as well, to develop new talent. Nurture the careers of future hitmakers, inspire loyalty, so that they'll come to you first, even when there's a deal that may look sweeter at first glance with another studio, especially if you follow suggestion "C" and...

C. Don't screw people. I know that goes against every unwritten rule in the industry, but in these days of skyrocketing costs, rebellious talent, and jittery investors, doing the right thing ethically, will also be the right thing from a business standpoint. Lionsgate could be the company of choice for independent financiers, producers, and filmmakers, and it will give your productions an edge cost-wise.

That's all for now.


  1. Thierry Attard20/7/08 4:59 pm

    "I would like to see everybody in the movie business make money, be happy, the world to be all sunshine and unicorns, and Alyson Hannigan to do nude scenes."

    Excellent... :-)))

  2. "Alyson Hannigan to do nude scenes"

    I think we'd all like to see that. *sighIsInLoveWithAlyson*

  3. Supposedly she has a sex tape out now.