Friday, 4 September 2009

Hollywood Babble On & On #364: Miscellaneous Movie-Money Musings

Welcome to the show folks...


The flailing and failing Weinstein Co. is still in hot water despite the success of Inglorious Basterds and have started laying off workers all over the organization. Basterds had been touted as the film that could save TWC, and despite it exceeding expectations, really couldn't unless it became a Dark Knight level mega-smash, and even then it would still be iffy. First, there's a dollar one gross revenue deal with Tarantino and Brad Pitt, reportedly taking away 25% of the gross, then Universal has to get their share, and after that there are TWC's expenses, including paying off a $75 million bridge loan from the Ziff Bros. investment house.

Top that off with the stinking fish known as Rob Zombie's
Halloween 2, and you have a company that really can't go anywhere but down.

Which brings me to the next part of this story...

TWC has inked a deal to release a British film called The King's Speech. The film tells the true story of Britain's King George VI, a shy, introvert with a fear of public speaking and a severe stammer, who, thanks to his Nazi-sympathizing American divorcee loving brother, was stuck with becoming King on the eve of WW2. The centre of the film comes from the relationship between King George and his speech therapist, who helped him overcome the stammer, and his fears of speaking in public to become a beacon of hope in the dark days of a brutal war.

It's a great story, there's the drama inherent in war, the personal struggle, the love story between George and his wife, the sacrifice, the stress, it's got the ingredients to make a damn good piece of Oscar bait.

Which raises the question....

Why did the filmmakers go into business with TWC?

Even without their money troubles TWC is notorious for sitting on films long past their sell by date. Their upcoming release of the movie adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's
The Road had all the sizzle from the book fizzle, and is having a hard time generating the interest it would have if they had struck while the proverbial iron was hot.

The business model of sitting on films that are made by filmmakers whose name doesn't rhyme with Fenton Farantino, or win Harvey another Oscar for himself, is what put TWC in the straits that it's in now. I'm sure their reputation has reached across the pond, so why did they make a deal with TWC?

They'd have better luck selling it to Masterpiece Theater, it would have a better chance of anyone seeing it that way.


Lionsgate executive David Spitz has renewed his contract.
Congratulations, it's nice to read a story about someone in Hollywood keeping their job.


Spitz and Lionsgate missed a golden opportunity during the contract negotiations for a little comedy. What they should have done was stage a fake argument during the negotiations and have Spitz storm out, then plant the headline:


You have to take these opportunities when they present themselves. They'll make the world just a little bit brighter.

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