Read an interesting article from The Hollywood Reporter about Blumhouse Productions and their business model, which is behind the Paranormal Activity, Insidious, and other successful horror/thriller franchises.
To break it down to its simplest terms Blumhouse spends less than
$5 $5,000,000.00 to make the film, and if they think the finished product can pull in a decent return at the box office they'll spend the $20-$30 million needed for a wide release. The rest, are, at least on paper, set to be released on Video On Demand, or home video.
Now there have been some complaints about how the productions are stripped down, no-frills affairs, and how the money is tight, and gets even tighter if your film doesn't get a release, because you're on a profit-share deal.
That's where things get a little strange.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, there are many films, some even made by big name filmmakers with big name actors that don't even get the straight-to-video release.
What do you think Dorothy?
My thoughts exactly.
It raises questions.
1. How bad do they think these films are that they don't even qualify for straight-to-video release, or even sale to cable television? You could release 90 minutes of the director farting on screen and still be better than at least half of the original movies on channels like SyFy.
2. A lot of these lost productions feature some pretty big names both behind and in front of the camera. They're attracted to the potential of some pretty hefty rewards for four-to-five weeks work at very little up-front. Will they keep coming if the business model becomes less of a business to them, and more of a crap-shoot over whether or not they will ever be paid? Better to go with the big studios where they can at least get some hefty up-front cash.
3. Does Blumhouse plan to ever release these films, even to VOD or cable television? If so, why the long waits, is the company hoping to "fix" them in editing, or via re-shoots?
4. If not, then: How does Blumhouse expect to pay for the unreleased pictures over the long term? Sure, the films are cheap, and the ones that do hit it big have wide profit margins, but is that enough to cover the costs for films that never see the light of day, or generate any revenue.
Anyway, only time will provide any answers to these questions.