|THE LATEST VERY SPECIAL ISSUE OF THE ANKLER FEATURES TRUE TALES FROM THE STREETS OF HOLLYWOOD IN THE TIME OF THE APP. BELOW IS A BRIEF PREVIEW OF ONE OF THESE STORIES:
Who doesn’t love a good bonfire? And a bonfire of cash! Well, that’s not just entertainment, that’s an accomplishment.
Which seems to be the working frame of reference for the entire world when talking about Netflix. Look at the mountains of cash they are willing to set on fire – now thatis a company! (Especially if somewhere in those mountains of cash are bags full of FYC advertising dollars).
They made a hundred movies to no discernible effect or public response…Well, let’s watch them make 200! 200 bigger movies! We’ll let directors spend more money than they ever dreamed of!
As Mike Fleming put it yesterday, Netflix “is doing too many risky things on the feature front to be defined derogatorily at this point.”
We couldn’t agree more. If they are willing to throw that kind of money away, who are we to say that the ashes from that bonfire won’t sail up to the sky, form a genie and turn us all into marzipan? With all their data, they wouldn’t be doing this stuff if they didn’t have a pretty good idea that that is going to happen, right?
We will try to be fair when looking at the biggest entertainment output machine Hollywood has ever seen; we certainly do not in the least want to define it derogatorily. Perish the thought. But there are a few deals on the table this week that give us a chance to peer longingly at the magical economics that allows Netflix to play the fairy godmother of greenlights to a suffering industry. And what’s more, offer little hints as to how those pieces might come together for the larger glory of the App that Would Be King.
Let’s start with our first Tale from the Streets of Hollywood circa High Netflix Era. Now, here’s a little backstory on a deal reported today.
For her follow-up to Netflix’s Mudbound, director Dee Rees got her eye on the 1996 Joan Didion novel, The Last Thing He Wanted about a reporter who stumbles into becoming an arms dealer for the US government in Central America. Cassian Elwes takes the wheel, gets Anne Hathaway to star, and, as things are done these days, lines up $28 million in funding from The Fyzz, a UK-based film financing set up by a couple of veteran British producers with money ties.
Ankler Friends who have read the script call it interesting but a very hard sell commercially. I’ve heard it described as a movie you’d maybe make for $10 million. But Elwes got 28, so more power to him.
Unfortunately, the company had tied up a lot of their money into Joe Carnahan’s Boss Level, starring Mel Gibson – an Emmett/Furla whiz-bang, which was just acquired by Byron Allen for release middle of next year.
(This graph in the Deadline announcement of the acquisition gives a little taste of the flavor of the Byzantine labyrinths of financing once you go swimming in the Emmett/Furla and adj waters: “The company acquired Boss Level from The Fyzz Facility and Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films. The film was financed by Emmett/Furla/Oasis and is produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian with Randall Emmett and George Furla; therefore, it is a co-production among Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films, Di Bonaventura Pictures, Carnahan and Grillo’s War Party, and Scott Free.”)
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