Thursday, 11 October 2012


I asked for questions, you gave me questions. Now I'm going to fake knowing the answers!
DMK asked... The Disney acquisition of Marvel seemed like an expensive proposition at the time, especially as some of the core licenses (Spider-Man, Fantastic Four) are in other hands. Does the success of The Avengers justify the $4 billion spent, and do you think that the various movie franchises (Iron Man, Thor, etc.) have long-term earning potential?
Right now it looks pretty sweet, but its status as a long term investment all depends on how the Marvel franchises are managed.

Right now there's a "it ain't broke, so let's not fix it" attitude at Disney because the people running Marvel's movie franchises are bringing in the green. Even the rival studios making Marvel movies like Spider-Man and the X-Men franchises have to give Marvel/Disney a piece of their money pie, it's not as big as what they'd be making if they were doing the movies themselves, but they're not bearing any of the risk in paying for those movies either.

This could all collapse tomorrow, but it could also just keep chugging along. It all depends on the decisions being made by the people in charge.
ILDC asked... Does Disney have more control over maybe 10 DreamWorks movies than they ever did with Miramax?
I don't know the details of Disney's distribution deal with Dreamworks, but I don't think they have any real control over Dreamworks films. I believe the deal is that Dreamworks makes the movies, and then either pays Disney a fee or a piece of the potential profits for handling the distribution of their movies via their Touchstone Pictures division.

As for their old deal with Miramax it was all based on budget. If the film's costs were under a certain amount, I think it was $20 million, Disney didn't interfere, but one dollar over, and the studio stepped in to oversee it, but kept things pretty much at arm's length.

But I don't really think Disney is going to tell Spielberg and Company what to do.
Siythe asked...  It seems like a lot of TV shows I see at the moment are quite happy to leave massive plot holes in the script. This runs the gamut from sparkly new toy Revolution (if the electricity is off why not use steam?) to new Emmy darling Homeland (you sneak a medicated mental illness past a CIA medical / background check how exactly?).

How important is the basic common sense and logic of a scripts plot in the grand scheme of tv/movie development and has it become more or less of a factor as the business has evolved?
 The two shows you've cited have two different reasons why audiences have let those plot holes slide.

For Revolution they're expecting some sort of solution to the mystery as to why they're not using steam power. However, since this show is from many of the same people involved in Lost, there probably won't be any real solution, and you'll be called dumb for asking for one.

As for Homeland letting a character with obvious psychiatric problems get into a position vital to national security is actually not that far-fetched if you know of some of the boondoggles the intelligence community gets into in the real world. Leaks, political games, more leaks, botched operations run by unqualified people, and some slight blunders like failing to notice the collapse of the Eastern Bloc until the moment the locals started taking hammers to the Berlin Wall.
ILDC asked... Did DreamWorks Animation only buy baby boomer manager Classic Media to make TV shows based on movies they haven't even released yet?
Probably not.

Classic Media, for the readers who haven't already heard the story, is a holding company for intellectual property. It holds the rights to literally hundreds of characters and franchises. This includes the Harvey Comics characters like Richie Rich, and Caspar the Upbeat Dead Child, to old action-adventure TV shows like The Lone Ranger and Sergeant Preston of the Yukon, to cartoons from Rocky & Bullwinkle to He-Man.

Obvious Dreamworks Animation and its boss Jeffrey Katzenberg plans to use those characters and franchises to make money for them, either selling the reruns, licensing merchandise, making new productions based on them, or probably all of the above.

I personally cannot wait for the return of Sgt. Preston of the Yukon. ON KING!
Blast Hardcheese asked... Hey D, With respect to your recent post on Barry Diller, I'm wondering why he doesn't put his money where his mouth is. Or, for that matter, why someone with deep pockets hasn't tried to start up a new studio a la Lionsgate, but with a more adult focus (not THAT kind of adult, sheesh!). You know, putting out things like Hope Springs and such.
Because Barry Diller is 70 years old, worth about $1.8 billion, and doesn't want to die broke.

There's an old saying in the movie biz that nothing makes someone a millionaire faster than being a billionaire investing in Hollywood.  It's a high energy, extremely high risk sort of venture that can clean you out overnight if you don't have the deep pockets  and revenue generating divisions of a massive international media conglomerate.

History is littered with independent producers and distributors who tried to take on Hollywood and ended up belly-up. Diller knows this because he helped shape the modern studio/media conglomerate system that exists today most famously through his work at Paramount and Fox.

I think he's content with the businesses he's running now, and being able to lob the occasional shell into the dysfunctional kingdom he helped found.
ILDC asked... MGM's current strategy to keep from being just a logo and a library is to focus on co-production and international television distribution. How long do you think that will last, and could something similar be applied to Summit and a Miramax not completely run by Harvey Weinstein?
It all depends on if MGM can do anything that generates money beyond owning part of the film rights to the James Bond franchise.

They need non-Bond successes, and they need lots of them. Personally, I think the studio made a lot of questionable moves. Like letting Tom Cruise "own" United Artists, getting rid of their theatrical distribution capability, when they could have taken both and restructured them into United Artists Distribution, and used the model UA had in the 1950s and 1960s as the go to distributors for major independent producers.

But they didn't, and now they could end up as just a production subsidiary of Sony.

As for Summit, expect the label to be gradually phased out as they clean off its schedule and only parent company Lionsgate is left.

As for Miramax, I think it'll be bopped around for a while before finally having its library being bought up entirely by one of the mega-majors like Warner Bros. for its growing DVD/VOD empire.
ILDC asked... Shit, has Disney justified any of its huge acquisitions?

They're not complaining.
Rainforest Giant asked... How about Stacey Dash and her political problems? Okay, this is just an excuse to post pics of her because she's still smokin.
Who am I to deny anyone their little bit of cheesecake.
There's a head-shot in her attic that does all the aging for her.
In case you've been living without the internet, actress and suspected immortal/time lord Stacy Dash said she was going to vote for Republican candidate Mitt Romney instead of Democratic candidate President Barack Obama.

A good chunk of the internet promptly shit a brick. Dash was assailed with threats, racist epithets, and calls to commit suicide by people who consider her decision to vote for the party that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. voted for as some sort of shocking betrayal of her "race."

I think the personal/racial attacks were pretty disgusting. So what if she votes different from you, that's her right. You can say "I disagree with you because of..." and state some facts, but the moment the racial slurs and the threats start flying you have to take a serious look at yourself before you dare judge someone else.

Besides, why do people get worked up over how actors vote? 

I discovered during the 2004 election that most of the "A List" celebrities hired a consultant who told them how to vote and what causes to support. Currently the political positions of celebrities are based almost entirely on peer pressure, and the notion that backing a certain party or cause with a "liberal" or "environmentalist" label acts as a form of plenary indulgence for their otherwise extremely indulgent lifestyles.

If you're voting is based solely on the opinions of celebrities, you probably shouldn't vote. You're better off reading articles and books by people who don't agree about the issues, weigh what they say, and go with what you truly deeply believe is the truth.

Thus endeth the lecture.

Any more questions?


  1. I still think DWA will mostly use the Classic Media library to push their own homegrown productions and would-be franchise. Like if CBS wants to air Rudolph this year, they're going to have to give Rise of the Guardians free ad time.

  2. Also, was Dogma over $20 million?

  3. ILDC- As for Dogma, I don't know it's budget, but I'm sure the controversy attracted Disney's "meddle detector." I didn't say the $20 million threshold agreement was perfect, absolute, or perfectly followed since the moment you draw a line Harvey Weinstein's first instinct is to cross it.

  4. Thanks for the fan service. She is indeed a Time Lord. I will refrain from any 'playing doctor' jokes.

    Not only would it be in bad taste but the Mrs Giant would smack me upside my hairy head.

    Rainforest Giant