By David Poland email@example.com
The Biggest Little Story In A While…
April 10 – Clearly the fringe operators are falling by the wayside, but the stalwarts like Village Roadshow, Spyglass, Legendary and Relativity are still very much in the game. Asked about one report that all was lost, the head of a production-financing entity said simply, “It’s true, but it’s not true. We’re raising money from a new banking source. We’re still players.”
Village Roadshow this year helped finance Clint Eastwood’s $40 million movie “Gran Torino,” which will do $260 million worldwide.
That’s the sort of result that keeps the money flowing. Or that finds new money.
April 16 – Village Roadshow Pictures, Warner Bros.’ longtime feature co-financing partner, was unable to deliver its share of funding on four titles last year, leaving the studio to cover the entire cost, Time Warner disclosed Wednesday.
Village Roadshow also may not be able to finance the 2009 films to which it has committed. The four pics from last year were “Get Smart,” “Gran Torino,” “Nights in Rodanthe” and “Yes Man.”
Hey… you… look at the agents putting all their suits in one closet… don’t pay any attention to THE MONEY THAT KEEPS THE BUSINESS GOING FALLING AWAY…
Hollywood’s studios have built a funding bubble around DVD bubble… not unlike Wall Street following the internet bubble with the real estate bubble. And the situation is just as bad… except that the infrastructure of a film studio is actually so much smaller than, say, the auto industry, that it can cruise along without acknowledging the RED ALERT for a couple of years.
If you want to know why the summer looks so much different than the last few summers, it is that responsible studio top execs put on the brakes over a year ago.
And what remains the biggest bullshit story in this industry right now? That the box office doing okay answers the questions that this industry has to face and face sharply.
What’s the second dumbest story? That the AMPTP behavior towards the unions/guilds was acceptable in the face of an economic downturn… when, in fact, the costs of non-star union talent is one of the smallest, already cut back budget lines on any movie or TV show…. and the stars are not an issue with these contracts since they essentially create their own rules via negotiation.
Anyway… Village Roadshow quietly not paying their bills is not a small story. (Financial Times did more than quote the earnings release and spoke to an unnamed source at Village Roadshow, who says that the company will eventually pony up what they owe.) And one of the least reported stories in town right now is the cash crunch being experienced at a few of the studios in particular. WB is fortunate that Harry Potter is here again. But those Friday night numbers are going to be sweatier this summer than any time in memory.