MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Questions for Kevin Tsujihara

I’m kinda sick of ragging on Brooks Barnes.

The clear answer to any questions about his skill/insight covering this beat is that the New York Times doesn’t give a flying flip about whether their coverage of the film and TV industry is any good, so long as they keep selling ads and getting cross-promotional opportunities from the studios.

So I wasn’t looking forward to reading his Kevin Tsujihara piece over the weekend, but it was really quite shocking. And I have been further surprised by how many people noticed how much it read like a long press release, not the result of 90 minutes with one of the 2 or 3 most powerful people in Hollywood.

Instead of ripping Brooks apart… again (like shooting fish in a barrel, after a while the gunman begins to feel like a troll)… I thought I would just offer a few useful questions that a paper as powerful as the New York Times might have bothered to ask when they are given truly unique access.

For instance… if WB is so bullish on theatrical, what do they see as the best ongoing model for funding films? Will there ever be another Harry Potter-type series, in which the studio takes the total risk on a franchise play to the tune of a $300 million investment or more in the launch film (production and P&A)? Does the studio intend on solo funding the next round of Potter-related films now being touted?

How does Tsujihara see the balance of revenues looking now, in the 5 years, and in 10 years? What percentage from domestic theatrical? What percentage from international theatrical? How much purchased post-theatrical? How much post-theatrical revenue coming from aggregators like Netflix, HBO, Amazon, etc?

Time-Warner/WB owns Flixster, which they have used – in part – as their frontman on streaming. How many years are we away from an in-house streaming website being able to make a significant amount of revenue, perhaps more than be made by selling to aggregators? How is the Warner Archive experiment working?

Disney has made a deal with Netflix that hasn’t launched yet which crosses the TV and film lines. As one of the industry’s most prolific TV producers, does Tsujihara anticipate that streaming deals will be made through the networks distributing the shows on broadcast/cable or will WB start to retain those rights for their own uses moving forward? Is there any kind of rough timeline about when the value of holding onto those rights might equal or surpass the opportunity costs of not allowing the b’cast/cable network distributors to have them as part of the initial distribution deals?

WB is bullish on theatrical, but what is the mix of large and small that Tsujihara finds attractive? Are there too many films in the marketplace? Does he see niche increasing and 4-quadrant decreasing?

Anyway… this is just a starter list… and not even a particularly aggressive one.

There are few things more aggravating than wasted journalistic opportunities. But more and more, even with 90 minutes to do an interview, journalists are accepting themselves as extensions of press offices, more proud of the get than of the work done in the room with the subject. Damned shame.

One Response to “Questions for Kevin Tsujihara”

  1. EtGuild2 says:

    I’m probably not qualified to comment on this topic, but I’d say a lot of of the outlook has to do with WB’s incredible run of success in theatrical over the last 2 years. Even with POTTER and Nolan’s BATMAN gone, they think they have a model that works. And so far, they are right. Sony seems to be, to me, the most like WB in release strategy. Yet the pattern, in the last two years, could not be more dissimilar in revenue. Has WB caught onto something that gives them confidence? Any talk of small-budgeted films is probably a smokescreen–remember Paramount starting a micro-budget division after “Paranormal Activity?”—that lasted long.

    This is why you’re valuable as a blogger…I have no idea about Tsujihara and his potential vision. WB is kind of the elephant in the room, from a media “creation-to-distribution” standpoint right now. Who knows.

The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

“BATTLE OF THE SEXES: Politics and queerness as spectacle/spectacle as politics and queerness. Pretty delightful, lovely, erotic. A-

“Not since EASY A and CABARET have I seen Emma Stone give a real sense of her range. Here, she has pathos and interiority and desire. I love the cinematography and the ways in which the images of the tennis icons are refracted and manipulated via various surfaces/mediators. Also, wild how a haircut is one of the most erotic scenes in cinema this year. Spine tinglingly tactile that feels refreshing. Proof that *cough* you don’t need to be ~graphic/explicit~ to be erotic *cough*. Also, it made me want to get into tennis. Watching it, at least.

“There are interesting touches and intimations as to the cinematic nature of sports, & unpacking the formal approach of broadcasting sports.Also, I was here for Sarah Silverman smoking. And also, hi Mickey Sumner!! It’s a really interesting film about the ways in which public spectacle is never apolitical, and how spectacle is prone to assignation.

“There’s this one other scene from BATTLE OF THE SEXES that I love, and it’s the one in the bar. You see Billie looking after Marilyn as she dances. Through a crowd. There’s a paradoxical closeness and distance between them. In the purple light, and the kitschy decor, everything is distorted. But Billie catches a glance and you can feel the nervous swell inside.”
~ Kyle Turner

“Our business is complicated because intimacy is part and parcel of our profession; as actors we are paid to do very intimate things in public. That’s why someone can have the audacity to invite you to their home or hotel and you show up. Precisely because of this we must stay vigilant and ensure that the professional intimacy is not abused. I hope we are in a pivotal moment where a sisterhood — and brotherhood of allies — is being formed in our industry. I hope we can form a community where a woman can speak up about abuse and not suffer another abuse by not being believed and instead being ridiculed. That’s why we don’t speak up — for fear of suffering twice, and for fear of being labeled and characterized by our moment of powerlessness. Though we may have endured powerlessness at the hands of Harvey Weinstein, by speaking up, speaking out and speaking together, we regain that power. And we hopefully ensure that this kind of rampant predatory behavior as an accepted feature of our industry dies here and now. Now that we are speaking, let us never shut up about this kind of thing. I speak up to make certain that this is not the kind of misconduct that deserves a second chance. I speak up to contribute to the end of the conspiracy of silence.”
Lupita Nyong’o