Friday, December 11, 2009

Cost of Doing Business

We all talk about the tax incentives here in MI and the troubled economy. I have to ask is, how much of the way Hollywood does business is going to change due to the economic climate.

In this tough economy film investors are starting to want something more than a tax write off, they want a monetary return. When times are good movies are treated like a tax shelter to hide money from the IRS not a revenue creating business. Much of this has to do with the nature of the beast. Movies cost money, lots of money and the success rate for feature films is pretty awful. This summer most of the big money summer blockbusters were bank busters. Transformers barely broke even and Halcyon who made Terminator Salvation lost money on that film. The film lost so much money they went bankrupt and to pay off their debts filed for Chapter 11, liquidated and recently auctioned off all the props from the film. This film was supposed to be the start of a trilogy.

This big winners of this summer were the small budgeted films with relative unknowns starring in them. The Hangover a simple R rated comedy about a weekend in vegas gone wrong beat out a PG13 +100mil Land of the Lost. A convoluted Will Ferrel vehicle that was a mismarketed and half-assed adaptation of a 70's TV show.

We have the Twilight Franchise burning hot for small Summit Pictures. The first was a success due to the popularity of the source material with females. The relative cost was another factor, the cast for the first film were relative unknowns which meant lower salaries for the cast. In Time this could change Women especially teenagers are fickle, can and will change interests quick. As Kristen Stewart, Ashley Greene, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner (who is from Grand Rapids by the way) become more famous they are going to demand more money upfront which will raise the cost of future installments.

I am seeing one effect of this economy is greenlighting projects, in order to cut risks more films are going for brand recognition and are being based on popular cartoons, toys and board games. Yes there is a Monopoly movie coming out by Ridley Scott. You know they dude who gave us Alien and Blackhawk Down. A Candyland film, another He-Man film is speculated. Any He-Man film would be better than that Golan and Globus fiasco from the 80's. There is talk of a Thundercats movie as well. Here in Michigan the biggest film so far has been the Red Dawn remake, if it becomes a hit is yet to be seen.

I cannot wait until the studios start tapping out the 80's cartoon well and start scraping the bottom with such titles as Silverhawks, Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors and M.A.S.K. Since a Asteroids film was announced maybe we will get a PAC-MAN film with Chace Crawford and Ashley Tisdale. I so want to see a MASK film, it would so fill the void for flying gull wing doors Z28 Camaro films.