Friday, December 17, 2010

Will Oscars and A-list Stars carry a film

Will Oscars and A-list Stars carry a film ?
Consider 'The Hurt Locker" last years  Oscar winner for best picture. 
Blowing past the Avatar juggernaut six wins to three.
According to BoxofficeMojo,  world wide gross on Hurt locker is $48.6M,
Roughly half of the theatrical gross is what the distributor can expect receive (excluding taxes, currency exchange, possible profit participation, etc.), ballpark figure the distributor receives about $24M.
Marketing costs;
 Widest release was 535 screens. With A very conservative $10M marketing budget, including approx. $750k in prints (535 * $1400), with distribution fees of maybe $8M (approx. 35% of $24M), sales agency fees of about $3.6M ( 15% of $24M) you’re left with about $2.4M (which I think is still generous).
The budget was $15M, but with the financing required it was probably closer to $20M and interest continues to accrue.
Given this positive scenario (which again is more than unlikely), the production is still in the red for $17.6M.
Calculate distribution fees and expenses, sales agency commission and guild residuals for the DVD sales and the production is still very much in the red.
If you are counting on A-list Stars to carry your film across the the finish line. You may also be out of luck there.
Case in point;
 Consider the film " What Just Happened"  starring  Robert De Niro. ( a film I really like) 
with a budget of  $27,000,000 
  Yet it only returned a world wide gross of $2,412,123  A  loss of almost $25 M.
 Consider the film "The Open Road;"
 A  2009 release.  Starring  Jeff Bridges,  Justin Timberlake,  Mary Steenburgen, along with a great supporting cast.
This film returned a whopping $19,760 in total  domestic gross receipts.
So  if you can't rely on wining Oscars or A-list stars to carry a film. What can you rely on?
Is it Story?  The Hurt Locker won best picture. One would think that would bode well for story.
The other independent film (I use the term independent loosely) that did well at the Oscars "Crazy Hart"
(Jeff Bridges, best actor and best song) Crazy Harts production budget  was 7M with a worldwide gross of 47M.  I have a feeling this film is in the same boat.
I am very curious to see how the Coen brother remake of "True Grit" will fair when it opens next week.
It has a budget estimated between $45 to $70 M with about $ 55 to $60 M  seeming  correct.
Traditionally  Westerns do not do well internationally.  If this is the case here, Paramount will need to Recoup  the lions share of profits from domestic sales.

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