It seems Hollywood Executives are blind in some areas. Lacking the fabled instinct of the legends of old. They may throw $100 to $150 million into one movie losing most of it. Then refuse to fund smaller films which have greater profit potential, because they don’t have to make up $20 to $40 million or more for big star salaries. However, sometimes even major star power won’t get a funding or distribution nod. Example 1: “The Butler” with star power like Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, and many others took FIVE years to make. With an estimated budget of $30 million, (estimated, when they don’t want to disclose actual cost) has grossed over $160 million world wide. Most of that obviously from USA $117 million, because it’s an American story, after all. It’s a great story, a universal story to make $43 million in foreign markets. At least it finally (due to star power) got distribution! “The Butler” is in Oscar contention in multiple categories. The key, a great story well told.
Another example of a great story having trouble getting Distribution and yet being a home run movie is “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon”. It had no American Star Power. Foreign first release, then came to USA only in small independent theaters at first, but because of public demand, people telling friends “you gotta see this movie”. It eventually got major distribution and went on to make $128 million. The budget $15 million (estimated) and went on to claim Best Picture Oscar in 2000 and won several other categories as well. The key, a great story told well.
These are just a couple of examples which turned into great success stories. I am fortunate to know of another such story, because I am Executive Producer of several films. One in particular deserves to be another success story like those above.
“Beyond The Mat” (budget $2 million estimated) is about a high school wrestling team and a controversial cross town rival team. Add to that young lovers breaking up, jealousy, best friends falling out, with State championships, and college scholarships as prizes. Good messages about friendship, sex, drugs, competition, grit, determination, and what it takes to win! Olympic Gold medalist and pro wrestler Curt Angle plays one teams coach. Mark Hapka (Days of Our Lives) playing Beau, is one team captain. John Wynne (rising Asian star) plays Arron, Beau’s best friend and number one team mate until they become rivals. MMA Legend Ken Shamrock is also in the movie.
A couple of years ago, before the film was finished and still in post production, a writer for Film News Briefs Liked the trailer she saw at the AFM film festival. She wanted to know more about the movie. She said she would write about it but only after seeing the full movie. We told her it ‘s work in progress we only have a rough cut.
I understand, she said, I’m in the business my husband is in the business, and I can’t write an article without seeing the entire movie. The simple fact is sometimes you see a trailer and think this might be a great movie. Then you find the best of the movie was the trailer.
When the article came out, She had written that she thought our film “Beyond the Mat” would make more money than “Paranormal Activity” which at that time had just hit $100 million and went on to gross over $180 million. It has also spawned several sequels with total gross over $500 million. “Beyond The Mat” finally finished is much better than what the writer saw and yet, can’t get a domestic distribution deal. Although, the key, a great story told well, is just as real for “Beyond The Mat” as for the other two films mentioned above. To see the trailer go to: www.beyondthematthemovie.com send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, ask to be added to our mailing list for updates. Also check out www.verticallegacy.com/Coolbreeze