Wednesday, 18 July 2012

More Questions/More Answers!

I got some new questions, so I'm going to pretend that I know the answer to them!

Let's get started...

Both these questions come from my recent post about Michael Bay setting up another comparatively low budget project where the stars are waiving their usually massive up front fees in favor of a piece of the box office take or the "back end."
Rainforest Giant asked:

What's the chances that the studios are going to try and screw them on the back end though?

Sure they take less up front but you're always saying the system is set up to screw anyone they can. If they play straight with the money the movie makes and doesn't screw with the talent, I think it can start something but I don't think it will. Any system where David Prouse hasn't received residual check one from Return of the Jedi because it hasn't made a profit isn't going to be honest.
They're going to try, but it won't be easy. The first line of defense will be the contracts the star's agents negotiate for them. There cannot be a single syllable that can possibly be interpreted in more than one way, or the studio will use against them. They will argue over what the definition of "is" is.

A classic star contract is the one Schwarzenegger signed for Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines. It was massive, but there wasn't a possible way to get around the fact that he was owed a percentage of the box office take from the first dollar to come in.  In fact, his cut was so substantial, and when you remember the fact that the distributor only gets about half of the ticket price, Schwarzenegger literally sucked up all the profits from that movie.

Other major stars have since forged similar deals, and I'm assuming that Bay & Company are going to follow the same path.

The second line of defense is that it's harder to claim that a $25 million movie that made over $250 million at the box office lost money than if it cost 4-8 times that amount. Take away their excuses and you take away their power.

Next question...
Nate Winchester said...

How in the world will Hollywood handle Bay, their bad boy, doing a movie on the cheap which would normally net someone a lot of indie cred. The cognitive dissonance should sink California.

Seriously though, do you think this, and the rise of cheaper, web-based fare will become the modern day shot in the arm Hollywood got with the indie boom of the 90s?

Another question: With TV going through such a rena....rene... however you spell it, will movies end up going through a complete paradigm shift? Say where... a series is used to build up a fanbase, then release a movie into theaters that tie-in/deal with that series? (X-files, Firefly, and of course there's all kinds of TV movies like this; early harbingers?)
It's spelled RENAISSANCE. (Spell check is your friend)

First, Bay's first low budget project Pain & Gain is an action movie about bodybuilders on a crime spree, it's not Sophie's Choice, so I doubt he's aiming for indie cred. I do think he's showing Hollywood that he doesn't need big money to make movies while everyone else is wasting other people's cash. It makes him look more competitive and efficient than the rest.

Web based fare could give Hollywood the shot in the arm it needs, but it's unlikely. Most of the people who burst into movies during the indie boom of the 90s were either completely assimilated into Hollywood's collective mind-set, or they were simply cast aside.

Like I said the last time I discussed the indie boom, the studios aren't desperate and on the brink of bankruptcy like they were in the 60-70s. They have multiple revenue streams and big parent companies to cushion them. So they can avoid the sort of reforms they need for years yet.

As for TV shows becoming feature film franchises... I don't really see the big screen becoming a regular outlet for big versions of small screen shows. They're two different mediums, and the TV renaissance is actually widening the gap because it deals with the sort of long term character and story development that movies aren't really capable of handling.

While I could see small screen to big screen moves happening, occasionally, I just don't see it becoming a regular thing.

Any more questions?


  1. Blast Hardcheese18/7/12 7:25 pm

    Hey D,
    I had a question that occurred to me regarding your last post (Depp pricing himself out of the market. Why do stars keep going for more? Sure, they don't want to get screwed out of their 'fair share', but past a certain point what's the problem? Once you're pulling down a definite 10-20 mil per shoot, why keep going for more? Is it an ego thing? Are they scared they're never getting work again?

  2. Turning a TV show into a film franchise is a tricky thing. You need to do this with a show that is HOT with the current movie going demo.

    One of the reasons of many of why Dark Shadows was a flop, because it was based on a TV show that went off the air 30 years ago, and its revival went off the air 15 years ago.

    Here is my question who of the 18-45 demo cares about the Lone Ranger? This film just reeks of Depp feeding his own self indulgence.

    FUN FACT: The Lone Ranger was created in 1933 on WXYZ radio in Detroit.