DOING SOMETHING WRONG:
The movie All The Boys Love Mandy Lane made a huge splash at the Toronto International Film Festival. The little teen-whodunnit thriller that was made for $600,000 attracted a lot of attention, especially from horror fans, and many companies scrambled to buy it.
In the end the Weinstein Company won the auction by offering $3.5 million in cash and a commitment to release the film on 800 screens. Now the Radius-TWC is planning a multi-platform release, including a wide theatrical release.
That sounds like an indie-movie fairy tale, except that SEVEN YEARS passed between the purchase of the rights and the film's proposed North American release, which I will believe when I see it. It's a great illustration of so many of the things that are wrong with the independent film business.
You see, in 2006, after the film's initial purchase, legend says it was hit by a double whammy. TWC had a bad reaction at a test screening and the failure of their overpriced overindulgent mega-B-Movie Grindhouse. TWC allegedly pissed their pants at investing in another horror film and then sold the film to a fledgling distributor called Senator Pictures, which immediately went belly up, and the film went on to dwell in limbo, until Radius-TWC untangled the mess to pick it up again.
We have huge promises made, contracts broken, overextended companies overspending trying to compete with the major studios, bankruptcy, litigation, and huge messes being made out of small films.
In short, it embodies almost everything wrong about independent film these days.
DOING SOMETHING RIGHT:
I read this piece about home-entertainment company Shout! Factory and how they're growing in the home entertainment field when the major studios are suffering from declines in DVD sales.
They keys to their success seem to be efficiency (there's only 60 employees), putting out products people want, and carefully targeting the people most likely to buy their products without having to spend millions on ad buys.
So here's a big shout-out to Shout! Factory for doing something right.