There used to be a middle class of 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, then they are
going to spend 100-million in just advertising. The cost is now so they are not
going to make a movie where there’s risk.
Alan goes on to talk about how originality is now replaced with proven, branded ideas and
talks about how his manager are struggling because the movie industry has shifted:
It’s brutal. I’m not alone. I have an agent and manager. My manager says the
same thing – that his clients are struggling because the movie industry has
fundamentally shifted. It used to be that the industry needed original ideas. Now
the industry is afraid of original ideas and needs everything to be ‘branded.’ What’s
it based on? It’s based on a comic strip, a novel, and many other things. They’re
basing movies on ‘View-Master,’ ‘Battleship’. . .based on the success of
‘Transformers’ – suddenly all these toy companies like Hasboro, Mattel want a
movie around it.
The studios will cherry-pick the best films on the festival circuit but are hesitant to finance
the mid-budget films and this is producing extreme filmmaking according to Alan:
You see 160-million dollar movies like ‘Inception.’ Chris Nolan is the brand – ‘Dark
Knight,’ ‘Batman Begins.’ You’ll have a 160-million movie being made – or you
have a ‘Paranormal Activity.’ You have a movie that somebody made on their own
for $15,000 dollars or a studio made for 160-million. You have all these people
struggling to find the financing. International financing has dried up so finding
money is the hardest thing for an independent.
Alan currently has three movies optioned right now but whether they can move to the
screen is a different story. He wrote the movie “Tekken” (2010), originally a videogame,
and the movie did not get released because of high distribution costs to take it to market.
Alan adds, “now they can’t get distribution because it costs 25-million to do print and ads
to just get a movie on its feet. Nobody wants to put the money out there.” The
videogames movies (e.g. “Street Fighter” and “DOA”) have underperformed. Although the
film was released in Japan and other areas in Europe, Alan doesn’t think it is going to be