Friday, 2 July 2010

Hollywood Babble On & On #546: Has Overture Hit Its Coda?

Welcome to the show folks...

Fledgling indie studio Overture Films got a bit of a shake up the other when the people who ran it got into some sort of kerfuffle with the CEO of its parent company Starz, and depending on the source they were either fired, or they quit. Either way it doesn't matter.

What does matter is that the company is in
some serious trouble. It is up for sale, but so far the only interest is from the billionaire Gores Bros, but they seem to be only interested in circling it until the price gets a little tastier for them.

So let's take a look at the Pros and Cons of keeping this company alive:


-It's a distributor that can actually get movies into theaters. That's a rare bird these days, and pretty valuable in and of itself.

-The home video division Anchor Bay has a pretty sizable library, (2,500+ titles) including lots of movies with pretty decent cult followings, who look at the label as a sign that the film they like will get some decent treatment. (I know, owning many Anchor Bay products myself and coveting many more.)

-The sale price. Reports are going around that the whole package is available for between $100-$125 million. That's not bad for a distributor with a nice home video library tossed in.


-Overture's box office record. It's not good. None of their releases made more than $100 million domestically, it's biggest being
Law Abiding Citizen at $75 million, and most underperformed to the point of stinky.

-Cost. To run the company for the first year of operation the way it is now, including releasing the remains of its slate will cost around $250 million.

Now that I look at it, the cons are things that can be overcome. Sure, any buyer would need to have deep pockets, but you shouldn't be allowed into the movie biz unless your green can make the scene.

Okay, the company is worth saving. But after it's bought, then what?

Well here are some suggestions:

1. DUMP THE NAME: Sorry, but Overture Films sounds boring and pretentious. The new company must have a new name that has some excitement to it.

2. MAKE FRIENDS: There are a lot of independent film companies that are getting pretty sick of being screwed by their distributors. Make alliances. The upcoming release of the revived Hammer Film's movie Let Me In is a good start. If the film is a hit, make sure that this relationship stays healthy. Then use that to attract other producers.

3. CONTROL COSTS: A new Overture can't compete on the level of the big studios, and shouldn't. The new company should find its own level, producing and distributing the sort of genre films that tend to have low costs and high returns.

4. REJECT THE STAR SYSTEM: 99% of the so-called A-List aren't worth the expense, the time, and the stress. Let the stories be the selling point, if a big star wants to be in one of your films, then they better do it for a price that's affordable.

5 HIRE THE RIGHT PERSON TO RUN IT: Might I suggest....

You can't blame me for trying.

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