Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Hollywood Babble On & On #234: Sonny Crockett's On The Warpath

Actor Don Johnson is suing Rysher Entertainment (and its owner Mark Cuban's 2929 company) over money owed to him from his show Nash Bridges.

I should start by saying that I was never a fan of
Nash Bridges, I thought of it as a forgettable throwback to the late 70s/early 80s cop shows, and at the time it was on, I was already a dedicated fan of Homicide: Life On The Street.

However, the show did run over 6 seasons, and apparently had some success in international syndication, because Johnson is claiming that there is over $300 million in revenues, including $150+ million in syndication earnings, and that he, as the show's co-developer, producer, and star, is owed half.

Now this is a classic example of why it is next to impossible to do any real business in Hollywood. The revenue split should have been simple, if Person A owns an agreed upon X% of the show, then Person A should be paid X% of the profits.

Of course Hollywood doesn't think that's good business. Instead of paying the Person A their X% of the profits, they try to get away with paying nothing.

Because the mindset in Hollywood is that if you can get away without paying people what they're owed, then you must be a genius.

But in the real world, trying to avoid paying people what they're owed, you're not a genius, you're an idiot.

Because in the long run, the only businesses that really profit from this are the lawyers.

Companies and people go under financially all the time, but the lawyers almost always get paid.

And it's hurting Hollywood as a business. When you have to resort to litigation over what should be routine business, the costs of doing everything skyrockets. The talent who make the movies and TV shows a media company needs to survive start demanding more and more money up front, because they're expecting to screwed over the back end. Investors, especially in today's economy, start to move away, looking for real profits instead of money losing tax shelters.

I guess you can break it down like this:

Costs rise.

Profits shrink.

Losses grow.

Investors leave.

Industry collapses.

And what's even sadder, is that when I read about this case, I automatically assumed the company had to be guilty, because such behaviour is the default position of the entire industry.

Which can only hurt it in the long run.

No comments:

Post a Comment