Getting A Film Made That Isn't A Raunchy Comedy Or Loaded With CG Effex Isn't Easy

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Peter Kline, Mar 19, 2002.

  1. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 1999
    Messages:
    2,393
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    From ShowBiz Data

    ALTMAN'S ACCLAIMED FILM ALMOST DIED AT BIRTH, SAYS FT

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Robert Altman came within three days of seeing the production of Gosford Park collapse, his agent has disclosed in today's edition of the London Financial Times. Ken Kamins of ICM told the newspaper that last year Altman ined up a group of top British actors to be featured in the film and that the British Film Council had agreed to contribute $2 million to $3 million to the budget on condition that a U.S. distributor come on board. Kamins said that, given Altman's poor track record at the box office in recent years, "we couldn't get a deal." According to the agent, Altman pushed ahead anyway. "He couldn't face the actors and say that the movie was in financial trouble. So he and his producing partner, Bob Balaban, personally put up $1 million to pay the crew and create the illusion that the movie was going." At that point, Kamins said, he received a call from an ICM colleague saying, "'You need to find the money within the next 72 hours or we have to start pulling [actors] out.' So I called USA Films and basically begged Scott Greenstein not to let the movie die. ... That's how close it came to not getting made."
     
  2. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    9,306
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    ...which doesn't really support the title of the thread. And, heck, I'll bet getting a movie made that is a raunchy comedy or loaded with CGI isn't easy, either.

    Basically, Altman had a track record of unprofitable (even at their low-ish budget) films which made it hard to find funding. It's not really a conspiracy against non-LCD films.
     
  3. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 1999
    Messages:
    2,393
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I figured it was the only way to get people to see that intelligent, ensemble films are hard to get made regardless of who the director is. Hollywood no longer takes chances. The most interesting films are now made elsewhere.
     
  4. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2000
    Messages:
    7,477
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  5. Mark Pfeiffer

    Mark Pfeiffer Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 1999
    Messages:
    1,339
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Watching the "new" E.T. tonight, I was struck by how different this film is from what gets made now.

    -It practically moves at a crawl compared to most new releases, especially kids' films.

    -The kids act like kids, not smart aleck brats or little adults.

    -The special effects serve the story, not vice versa.

    -The "penis breath" insult aside, the language and content are very tame but not "soft".

    Granted, it's unfair to hold this film as an example for comparison, but it does demonstrate how much of popular cinema has been dumbed down to the lowest common denominators.
     
  6. Allen Hirsch

    Allen Hirsch Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1999
    Messages:
    532
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Speaking of Altman's unbankability, I was surprised to see in a recent article that Gosford Park was his first film in a long time to do >$20M in box office.

    Even more shocking to me, Nashville only did $10M when it first released. I guess some movies only gain reputation and critical acclaim long after their dismal box office showing fades away.
     
  7. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 1998
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    5,110
     
  8. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 1998
    Messages:
    3,500
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  9. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 1998
    Messages:
    3,500
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Allow me to add these films to the list that Michael already started:
    Together
    The Man Who Wasn't There
    Ghost World
    The Pledge
    Lantana
    The Deep End
    Divided We Fall
    You Can Count On Me
    ~Edwin
     
  10. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 1999
    Messages:
    2,393
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Scott, the 2 films you mention were made overseas by foreign directors and only partly financed by "Hollywood". Jason, based on what seems to be playing at the local multiplexes week after week I'd say 3 out of every 6 films are "teen" sex comedies of dubious distinction. Edwin, you are right that there are lots of films in the "Gosford Park" category. But they are hardly ever shown except in large cities such as NY, LA, SF, CHI etc. It is still easier to get financing for those films that pander to the lowest common denominator.... noisy patrons, with screaming babies in tow, cell phones ringing, teen agers (and adults) with feet on the top of seats, constant talking... I could go on and on. Just my opinion.
     
  11. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 1998
    Messages:
    7,585
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    And I also disagree that LCD films are pushing out the "risky" films too.

    As I said in the Oscar thread, this year was built around risky films almost.

    Moulin Rouge

    The Man Who Wasn't There

    Waking Life

    Muholland Drive

    Memento

    Ghost World

    Royal Tenenbaums - Like Rushmore was such a BO hit that Anderson instantly commands more funding or something

    Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2 musicals in one year w/ MR)

    A.I. - Speilberg yes, but the script was still dark and risky, and the visuals matched that. The BO may show LCD rejection, but the film still got made.

    Vanilla Sky - at least a moderately faithful remake of a twisted foreign film, not your normal LCD flick

    FOTR - in the sense that no one thought such a project could earn it's budget back and everyone thought New Line was screwing themselves to take the chance of funding 3 films at once. Plus the story it's based on is hardly an LCD one, and the resulting film was well-received by critics.

    I think all of those films are unusual in many ways, and certainly risk takers. Some might be star vehicles (like V.Sky) and FOTR/AI both have lots of CGI to please the crowds, but all are outside the normal H'Wood film types.

    Put it this way, could Altman have gotten money to make ANY of those films either?? The key here is Altman's BO record.
     
  12. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2001
    Messages:
    8,189
    Likes Received:
    411
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    Real Name:
    Chuck Mayer
    It is good to know that the HTF members seek out good, "people" movies. But living in East BFE (or with little access to the internet), many people may not have that opportunity. The only thing they get to see are studio products because the studio has the desire to get 500 TV ads and get the product everywhere. And that is what The Time Machine and The Scorpion King are: product. So I sympathize with those that say that Hollywood will get worse before it gets better.
    A Beautiful Mind does stellar box office for a "people" movie. What does Hollywood take away...put Russell in a movie, he sells. LOTR and HP do EXTREMELY well...Hollywood will make more "magic" themed movies. They don't understand that even the LCD's appreciate a WELL-DONE film with a reasonable script. That's why LOTR and HP had their success. That's why ABM is having it's success.
    When The Matrix was a huge hit, what was the lesson the studios learned...pay Keanu $15M a movie. Studios like quick fix data, even if it's wrong. How many people know ANYONE who saw The Matrix for Keanu?? Yet, his agent told the studios it's success was due to him, and they would have to pay. And they bought it. How many people would see The Matrix Reloaded if Keanu wasn't in it?
    I don't bemoan the loss of diversity in cinema...it is still there. But I don't trust the studios to keep it alive. AI would not have been made if it weren't for Spielberg, same for VSky and Cruise. MR and LOTR, I give you those, and I also thank God for Bob Shaye.
    I realized late in the summer how bad this would be? When the studios were calling movies no one liked, critics and attendees alike, hits due to OPENING WEEKEND grosses. A hit gets remade, one way or another. 2002 is the year of the sequel, even if you DON'T count AOTC and TTT and HP (which were pre-ordained). And Terminator 3 - every sign points to a complete fiasco for next year, but it'll be a hit!!!
    Take care,
    Doom and Gloom Chuck [​IMG]
     
  13. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 1998
    Messages:
    3,500
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  14. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 1998
    Messages:
    7,585
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    So the point is supposed to be that these films DO GET FINANCED. Even if Altman had troubles doing so.

    Distribution may be trickier but that doesn't mean they won't continue to get made.

    Indy is the 13th largest city so it's not "small town" but it's not hip like SF or Seattle, or even Phoenix for example.

    But we still get all of these films. Not at the mega-plexes but at one of our 2 arthouse theaters. So they do make the rounds through at least the top 20-30 markets usually.

    I saw or had the chance to see at the theater every film mentioned in this thread so far, although usually a month after LA had it.
     
  15. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2000
    Messages:
    9,180
    Likes Received:
    353
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Real Name:
    John
    Unfortunately, this seems to be the world we live in. Still, I think things along these lines have actually improved. DVD may have a lot to do with that since it gives some of the smaller films more of a chance after theatrical release. My solution has been to generally not see films at the theater since the local ones generally don't show the ones I want to see and I really don't want to drive to Denver. A good sign was that Gosford Park has gotten a pretty extensive run here.

    Look at this very forum. The Gosford Park thread, which has been open for over two months has 18 responses, while the Resident Evil thread, which has been open for less than two weeks, currently has 125. Not to mention that a thread on "which will get the biggest box office?" a thought provoking subject if I've ever seen one, has over 1,400 responses and over 30,000 hits.
     
  16. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 1998
    Messages:
    3,500
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    For every "raunchy comedy or CGI effex loaded film", there is probably the same amount of "people movie" that is made or close to it.

    While I don't have any statistic to back that up I am making that statement based on the number and type of films I have seen in the past two years.

    The people movies are out there and its too bad that their release are limited to certain areas in the U.S.

    ~Edwin
     
  17. Jay E

    Jay E Cinematographer

    Joined:
    May 30, 2000
    Messages:
    2,483
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The problem however is that the major studios are not putting these types of films out, which means limited marketing and theaterical venues. Some deserving films aren't even picked up for distribution which means they are in a limbo world with no way of being seen.

    I can't blame the major studios however, because when they occasionly put out something mature, intelligent or risky, it usually doesn't do well. I've learned to never over-estimate the intelligence of the movie going public. People seem to be flocking to remakes, sequels, dumb comedies and hollow special effect films. Why should the studios make any changes?
     
  18. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 1998
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    5,110
     

Share This Page