Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Hollywood Babble On & On #603: Random Drippings From My Brain Pan

Welcome to the show folks...

Time for a little post about little things that either bug me, or excite me.


George Lucas has announced that he will re-release all 6 Star Wars movies, in chronological order, starting with Phantom Menace, one a year, and in 3D.

This means two things:

1. George Lucas likes money, and the thought of sucking some more out of his once venerable franchise with deliberately higher ticket prices, is just too much to resist.

2. I will bet dollars to donuts that George is going to tinker with the movies all even more than when he did those "Special Editions" with all the extra CGI and making Greedo shoot first.

I'm not sure 3D is even going to last much longer. Basically it's a novelty that Hollywood and the theater chains love, and not for its entertainment and artistic value. Hollywood loves it because it allows them to squander more of their investor's money on an alleged panacea to the many years of dwindling audiences and returns. Theater chains love it because it allows them to jack up the prices, at first to cover the costs of converting the theaters, keep them high, and then jack them up again at the flimsiest excuse.

I don't have any problem with a guy trying to make a buck. Make as much as much money as you can, but this whole thing kind of reeks of grave robbing to me. Normally I'd say that Lucas should move on and try to do something new, but that would be bad advice because whenever Lucas does something new, and doesn't have someone watching over him, you end up with Howard The Duck and Jar-Jar Binks.

Anyway, let's move onto other things...


The UK's public/commercial hybrid network Channel 4 recently canceled their version of the reality show Big Brother, and are now using the £60-£65 million they normally paid for the rights to the franchise over the normal 3 year run of their contract to produce more comedies and dramas.

Think about that for a second.

They were paying £60+ million to Endemol Entertainment for just the rights to produce their own version of Big Brother for 3 years. Take into consideration the exchange rates and Channel 4 was dumping a minimum of 31,000,000+ US dollars a year before a single episode was even filmed. Include the costs of production, promotion, and other crap and it's a boondoggle of immense proportions.


If you don't know why, then ask yourself this question: Why do networks do reality TV shows like Big Brother?

Networks do reality TV shows like Big Brother because they are supposed to be cheaper than making dramas and comedies which make up for the long term profits that would most likely be squandered paying residuals to the people who actually made the shows. Yet here they are spending enough to make two dramas, or four comedy series every year, for a reality show that's supposed to be super cheap.

Channel 4 was being taken to the cleaners royally be Endemol, and whoever negotiated that contract seriously needs to learn a thing or two about business. Here is what they should have considered in those negotiations.

1. It's harder to sell episodes of a reality show from one country in another country than it is to sell comedies and dramas. That's why producers like Endemol license out the format to the different countries so they can produce their own versions of the show.

2. Reality shows have a short shelf life when it comes to reruns, unlike dramas and comedies that can run indefinitely in some markets. People can re-enjoy a comedy, or a drama, but it's hard for them to re-enjoy a bunch of narcissists back-stabbing each other without the benefit of murder to liven things up.

3. Reality shows are supposed to be great money savers, that make room for short term quarterly profits. They aren't supposed to be money-pits before a single frame of footage is shot.

Did anyone at Channel 4 even try to haggle over that price? I mean, there were lots of reasons for them to haggle, 60,000,000+ reasons over three years for them to haggle. I mean what's the point of cutting drama and comedy production for the instant gratification of short term reality TV profits, when all those profits end up going to pay for the rights to a format you could probably rip off anyway for a lot less.

My advice to Channel 4, find someone who knows how to play a little hardball, or you're just going to get taken for another ride.

1 comment:

  1. While I would love to see the Death Star Trench Run and the battle of Hoth in 3D, like Trek and Terminator this franchise has been whored to it's last drop.

    While there are still some good SW stuff out, like the video games. But those successed have been few and far between.

    SW has been pretty much worn out for me, I loved the original trilogy as a kid. It is just that the VG console world has just so far put out much better SF and fantasy in recent years.

    Some one on a MSG board once said, "SW is like that old French whore, 30 years ago she was a fresh hot piece of ass everyone wanted to tap, now she is just an old, winkled haggard rambling whore with a case of crotch motch. Like that whore Lucas is still willing to tap that blown out shriveled ass one more time just to try to get that old magic back that is long gone.

    SW as with Indy was pretty much Lucas' only real successes. SW was predicted to FAIL as it was just too different. I think it is time like the Boomer generation, for SW and Trek to step aside and retire, and let younger SF franchises to be born and grow.