My company Pretentious Pictures is based in London, and some of the things I’ll mention will be shot in the UK. In all cases the scripts are ready.
The strategy is to make Hollywood
films without Hollywood; mainstream and expensive-looking movies with
low budgets (this can be done), one or more stars, and an amusing plot, for what has traditionally been thought of as the Hollywood audience, but is no longer being served. I’ll say more about this below.
IN THE US:
1) Thriller Kiss of Death, on which we have a business plan, budget five hundred thousand dollars. If it's more advantageous to the investor we'll shoot it in London.
2) Older-woman-younger-man romantic comedy Chocolate and Champagne, also with
business plan, one million five hundred thousand. The late Frank Capra Jr and I had been going to shoot
this at Screen Gems Studios in North Carolina, where he was president,
and grab the exteriors in Beverly Hills. When Frank died he left a big
hole, not least in this project.
3) Funeral-home comedy Mortal Coil. Paul Mazursky will take a role. We have extensive budget material on it based on Vancouver prices, but that was in the ten-million-dollar days. These are new times, and the figure can come down by two thirds.
LESS THAN A MILLION IN THE UK:
2) Comedy Will You Please Fuck Off?, part of the "Toby" slate, based on the books, this one set in London.
2) Woman-centered comedy Linda: A Highly Successful Call Girl.
THREE MILLION IN THE UK:
1) Woman-centered thriller Masquerade was ready to go—lead attached, sales company aboard, co-pro papers signed, 60% of the budget covered—when our equity portion failed. It doesn’t have to be a co-pro, but those pieces are there to pick up.
2) Woman-centered romantic thriller Stolen Pleasures.
Action adventure Shipment from India, set entirely there. Budget prepared by Bangalore line producer. We're
planning 30.7% from Australia, 54.3% from the US/UK and 15% from India,
which I'd like to have an loi on before going to a Western company.
But Indian investors are wary of Western projects, and prefer films for
the Indian market, which this is not. Australian
producer Steve Stubbs of Pacific Island Films accounts for the Oz
portion as Screen Australia direct investment, cash-flowed 40% Producer
Offset, domestic pre-sales and gap financing. Here too we were at ten million, and are scaling down by two thirds.
Hitchcock-style thriller City of Masks. Venetian line producer Nicola Rosada has done a preliminary budget of €5,400,000.
1) Thriller Greek Island Murder, based on the novel, possible TV series.
2) Comedy They Call Me Mr Love, part of the "Toby" series (see above Will You Please Fuck Off?).
SELF: Bio. IMDb. A 7-minute comedy that will make you laugh out loud.
ANALYSIS AND MARKETING STRATEGY:
fifty years the wisdom has been that the chief market for movies is
young people from fifteen to twenty-four years old; kids who need to get
out of the house, and for whom the cinema is the center of their social
life. And in the beginning, when the baby-boomers were teenagers, this
made sense. We have been the demographic bulge, the antelope moving
through the python.
Now the demographics have changed, and a
large portion of the audience is no longer being served. But this hasn’t
been noticed—or rather it has been noticed, but production has not
adjusted to it. Movies continue to be made for teenagers because,
although they don’t always succeed overwhelmingly in America (the chief
market, by the way, for British films), the producers are sure of making
their money back in the foreign market. Fair enough: there are a lot
of kids out there.
However they’re no longer in the majority.
The largest audience now is composed of women. And close behind it,
adults—not just boomers but people over twenty who want something a
little more mature. And we’re not just talking about the West: there’s a
global audience that’s not being reached.
The style of the
typical Hollywood film has become, the popular lament quite rightly
goes, that of the video game. Even James Bond has become a cartoon. Recently in Athens there was a screening of Charade, with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn: people lined up for blocks to see a movie made half a century ago; several didn’t get in.
are we talking about art films. The way those succeed at festivals like
Sundance and Toronto you’d think that was the solution. But most of
them are not for the broader public.
What we’re planning are
Hollywood films that aren’t made in Hollywood; mainstream and
expensive-looking movies with a low budget (we can do this), one or more
stars, and an amusing plot, for what had traditionally been thought of as the Hollywood audience—women and adults—(and teenagers; we have young characters many of them)—and once again, whether Hollywood likes it or not, is the Hollywood audience.
“You want to make money. Make a good product. Simple as that.” I don’t know who said this but I like it.
films are seldom budgeted under a hundred million dollars. It is
possible, workable and desirable to budget at one one-hundredth of that,
because, a) stars and name actors can, at this point in entertainment
history, be hired and accommodated for salaries not exceeding $250,000
(the allowance for talent is ordinarily twenty-five percent of the
budget, a good rule of thumb); and b) because with the remainder of the
money we can deliver (I would argue that anyone can deliver) production values appropriate to the prestige of the people on the screen.
Well, I think that more or less says it.