Forbes on Hollywood

| 1 Comment

Seth Lubove, chief of the Forbes L.A. bureau, visits the set of the forthcoming Howard Hughes biopic, The Aviator, and profiles the film's bankroller as a symbol of how movies get made today.

Graham King personifies the new economics of Hollywood (or the next generation of suckers, depending on how you look at it). The average cost of a movie has reached $90 million ($59 million for production, $31 million for marketing). The eight big studios--where most projects still originate--now look to outside partners for three-quarters of the 220 or so films they release each year, up from half their output in 1980. Never mind that they keep the surest bets and most promising projects for themselves. Warner found outside investors for 20 of its 26 movies last year. MGMnow brings in partners for all movies that cost more than $25 million, saving sequels (mainly the James Bond series) for itself.

Scrappy independents like King have stepped into this risky void, and these days they are betting ever larger sums on budget-busting epics that once were the sole province of Big Hollywood. "Graham is one of those guys who's willing to roll the dice with high-profile pictures that ordinarily may not be green-lit by a studio," says Gary Barber, cofounder of Spyglass Entertainment, which helped bankroll such hits as The Sixth Sense, Bruce Almighty and Seabiscuit....

King isn't so much an auteur as a peddler, building his company, Initial Entertainment Group, by shrewdly bidding a few million bucks for foreign rights and clearing a small profit months later by chopping up distribution rights and reselling them for individual markets up front before the films are finished.

More by Kevin Roderick:
Standing up to Harvey Weinstein
The Media
LA Times gets a top editor with nothing but questions
LA Observed Notes: Harvey Weinstein stripped bare
LA Observed Notes: Photos of the homeless, photos that found homes
Recent Magazines stories on LA Observed:
Mary Melton exits as Los Angeles Magazine sold
Media notes: Nikki Finke going to Harvard, local Ellies and more
Janice Min leaving THR, Matthew Belloni upped
Read the LA Times response to Los Angeles Magazine's piece
LA Magazine says editor Davan Maharaj is what's wrong with the LA Times*
Brian Lowry to CNN and more media notes
How TMZ and Harvey Levin get the dirt
LA's breast fixation and more greatest hits from Los Angeles Mag
Previous story: If you see a motorcade...

Next story: Also in AJR...


LA Observed on Twitter