Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Hollywood Babble On & On #548: House Of Cards

Welcome to the show folks...

Well, you can knock me down with a feather and call me Jehozaphat, but according to The Wrap, David Bergstein, his chief backer Ron Tutor, and two other unidentified backers are close to a final deal to buy the moribund Miramax from Disney. If this deal works out, the man who is most likely single-handed putting the children of Hollywood's litigator community through university will run the company on behalf of his backers as a "robust distribution company."

Hopefully more robust than the approximately 75 companies Bergstein ran in one form or another, that a creditor's lawyers called "The Enron of the entertainment industry."

I have 2 points and a question about this deal if it
goes through:

1. I hope Disney gets its money up front, in cash.

2. The others looking at buying Miramax will now have to wait for this new partnership to collapse in a wave of litigation, allegation and recrimination like all the others before they can make a move on it, most likely getting it from Bergstein's many angry creditors.

3. How could someone with Bergstein's record get wealthy people to back him for one other deal?

Well, I think it's because in the movie biz, he seems to be the norm.


Take a look at this piece from Deadline: Hollywood about the "net loss" from one of the Harry Potter movies, which made just shy of $1 billion at the box office. This is the self-fulfilling idiocy I've ranted on about since I started this blog. Studios play fast and loose with accounting, screwing people out of fair shares of obviously profitable films. Those who possess the tiniest amount of clout in the industry, know they're going to be screwed over, and demand massive up front fees and fat "
dollar 1" gross deals that make costs skyrocket.

Guess what, it also creates an atmosphere where someone with a record of bankruptcies, lawsuits, and angry guilds can get people to back him, because in Hollywood's business community, he's the norm, not the exception.

This has turned the whole business into a financial house of cards. Right now the people who run Hollywood feel comfy in the fact that they own enough of Washington to protect them. However, if the polls for congress keep falling, and someone in a position of authority on the commerce committee to realize that dragging movie stars and greedy studio bosses to testify about the business could be what they need to get re-elected.

It's a win-win for them. Even the networks owned by the same companies as the studios can't resist coverage of Angelina Jolie testifying how she got hosed from her profit shares from Mr. & Mrs. Smith. It's also a lose-lose for Hollywood.

That's it for tonight's jeremiad.


  1. See Corruption!Waste!Stupidity!Mendacity! Could this be the long-awaited version of GodfatherIV ?No,sorry folks it's just a documentary on 2010 movie studio business practices.Hey Furious D ,here's a question for you,how much are studio execs paid these days? i know it is hard work green-lighting noble films like MacGruber and Jonah Hex,Furry Vengeance etc; a person could really work up a sweat.

  2. It depends on the executive's individual contract, but on average it's at least several million dollars a year in salary, and millions more in bonuses, perks, and other treats.

    I'm not the type to say someone makes too much, especially when they're responsible for making their company lots of money, but a lot of studio chiefs set their own salaries regardless of the financial situation of the company.

  3. So then the fox is in charge of the henhouse?