Because of the success of movies like Transformers, “suddenly all these toy companies like
Haboro and Matttel want to build a movie around it,” notes Alan.
Middle-class Movie Budgets Also Suffering
There is an erosion of middle-class moviemaking that mirrors the erosion of the middle
class at this point in time because the studio system is financially risk adverse. Alan notes,
“there used to be middle-class movies that got made usually a character driven mid-
budget thriller the heyday of Michael Douglas films. You don’t see that anymore because
those films don’t make money. The cost to open a movie is so high now. The low end is
25-million for prints and ads. People are spending 100% of the budget just in terms of
advertising. If the budget is 100-million, they are going to spend 100-million in just
advertising. The cost is so high they are not going to make a movie where there’s risk.”
Extreme Filmmaking
We discuss the high and low extreme filmmaking projects that are getting made. Alan
mentions, “You get $160-million-dollar movies like ’Inception’ Chris Nolan is the brand
‘Dark Knight,’ ‘Batman Begins.’ You’ll have a $160-million-dollar movie being made or
you have ‘Paranormal Activity’ You have a movie that somebody made on $15,000
dollars or a studio made for $160-million. International financing has dried up so finding
money is the hardest thing for an independent.”
Paranormal Activity (2007) was a film made for $15,000 and the U.S. rights were sold to
Paramount/Dreamworks for $350,000. This film went on be the most profitable in film
history to gross almost $193,355,800 (worldwide in 21 January 2010). Then you have a
more expensive film such as Inception (2010) budget at $160,000,000 and then making
over $825,532,764 (worldwide in 6 January 2011 as noted in the International Movie
Database (www.imdb.com).
The Recycled Story: Explore Public Domain
The advice is to explore public domain for a project that you can adapt. Public domain
projects are those whose intellectual property rights have expired.
I ask if he’s going to explore public domain? Alan replies, “Yeah, I have a couple of ideas.
I was going to find a different way to do the story of Jack and the Beanstalk a present day
version. There are people finding different ways to redo Dracula stories. Dracula is a
branded entity so you tell a story and come at it from a different direction.”
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