Thursday, 9 July 2009

Hollywood Babble On & On #323: Independent Daze...


Lionsgate's management has made a deal with 19.8% shareholder Mark Rachesky to go on the company's board and apparently side with them against corporate activist/raider Carl Icahn.

The twist in the tail is that Rachesky is an old friend and former apprentice to Icahn. So you can look at this in two ways. Is there a breech in the relationship between Rachesky and his mentor? Or is he going to be a Trojan Horse, and help open the gates to Icahn and finalize his planned takeover of the company?

These two men have a lot of history, so it's a matter of time if we see if they're really rivals, or allies in the takeover of Lionsgate.

I hope that whoever takes over Lionsgate, that it's the company that survives. It has the potential to provide a new business model for Hollywood if the management has the right philosophy.

So let's keep our eyes peeled on this one.


Nikki Finke reports some good news and bad news for the battered and beleagured Weinstein Company.


THE GOOD NEWS: It looks like Harvey and Bob were able to shake enough change out of the couch cushions, and clip enough enough coupons to put the $30 million minimum needed to handle the domestic release of Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds.

Of course this is a mixed blessing for the company. To raise this money they had to hoard all their available cash, and not release a lot of their upcoming production slate, including some rather expensive productions. Which is really not much of a change in their usual business model of burying productions made by anyone whose name doesn't rhyme with Benton Farentino.

However, this is still a terrible risk for the Weinstein Company, because their whole future is pretty much riding on this one film. As I've said before, the roots of the film are in the dark, nihilistic, and anarchistic European war-action-exploitation films of the 1960s and 70s. American audiences may not care for a dark, nihilistic and anarchistic view of the war that made grampa a hero, and could be turned off by the whole thing.

The film may do connect better with European audiences, who remember WW2 differently than Americans, but those distribution rights, and the revenues they come with, are with Universal. That means if Americans don't make Basterds a domestic hit, the Weinstein Co. is going to be screwed royally.

And now...

THE BAD NEWS: A rumour that the Encore/Starz media company was going to invest in TWC was referred to by a company insider as "complete and utter bullshit."


But seriously, why would anyone invest in TWC in any way that didn't involve the ouster of the men whose name graces the stationary.

I mean these are the people who:

A. Bought loads of independent films, only to sit on them, sometimes for eons, and refuse to release them for obscure accountancy reasons, ensuring that any momentum, and potential for profits, from the festival attention these films got is lost completely.

B. Started a feud with NBC-Universal over Project Runway, resulting in millions lost to litigation over bad faith contract negotiations, and a major mega-conglomerate contemplating the aesthetics of their heads on pikes.

C. Put all their eggs in the basket of getting another Oscar under their belt, destroying relationships, alienating Academy voters, and putting no thought into releasing something that might, you know, make a lot of money.

D. Produced and released a lot of really shitty films that lost boatloads of money.

E. Pissed off just about everyone that ever did business with them.

I can understand the position of Encore/Starz completely.

No comments:

Post a Comment