It has been suggested there are deliberately terrible and obfuscated accounting practices.
This is in no way news, but it has come back into the cycle as screenwriter Ed Solomon has decided to stir the pot.
Which has started a chorus of fellow industry artists who have also been burned by this news.
Solomon is a pretty successful guy.
Besides writing 1997’s Men In Black for Sony he wrote all three Bill & Ted films, Now You See Me, and the now-classic, version of Charlie’s Angels, released in 2000.
So it’s fair to say he’s got a decent amount of experience dealing with this kind of nonsense.
Break It Down For Me, Daddy!
“Film studios like Sony often negotiate “back end” deals with creatives that offer a cut of a film’s gross profits: ie when they get into the black. However, due to the complicated way films are financed, distributed, and advertised, some huge films technically never make a penny”
Men in Black was made for $90 million and earned $589 million, spawned three sequels, an animated series nevermind all that sweet, sweet merch.
Why Is This Still In My Inbox?
Well because of Twitter where Solomon shared this up on Boxing Day:
The greatest work of science fiction I’ve ever been involved with – my Men in Black profit statement – arrived for the holidays. Sadly it lost 6x what it lost last period. Impressive for a movie that hasn’t been out in 22 years. Unless it’s been *sneaking* out. Yeah, that’s it. https://t.co/fE3bFMRJvb
— Ed Solomon (@ed_solomon) December 27, 2019
Which is a continuation of a Tweet sent on June 13th of 2019:
In honor of the release of MiB:International (I guess), I just got my new Men in Black profit statement.. which shows it STILL in the red. The fact that they've made a FOURTH ONE confirms, as I've always said, that the big studios are only in it for the art.
— Ed Solomon (@ed_solomon) June 13, 2019
Pretty funny but it’s gotta be masking a lot of frustrations.
Plus, he’s got some pretty legit back up in the form of Jonathan Goldstein, one of the screenwriters of Spider-Man: Homecoming who tweeted on December 27th:
According to my latest “Spider-Man: Homecoming” statement, movie is still losing money despite box office of $880M. 🤔
— Jonathan Goldstein (@JM_Goldstein) December 27, 2019
Then Katherine Fugate, fellow Disney asset, added this:
Army Wives ran for 7 seasons and every profit statement from Disney/ABC shows zero profit and the show deeply in the red. I have concluded thus that Disney/ABC is clearly a non-profit entity creating shows and movies for the good of the people.
— Katherine Fugate (@katherinefugate) December 27, 2019
Also pretty funny.
And yeah, that’s Disney who we all know is evil and maybe Sony is just eager to impress?
I don’t know because that would suggest sweet old Lionsgate and Disney are using the same accountants.
2011’s Source Code was directed by Duncan Jones for Summit/LG in 2011 and made $147 million from a $32 million budget.
It was a pretty solid thriller too!
Jones is still waiting on a piece though. From his Twitter:
Each time I see Source Code playing on tv, and continue to still not receive $50k of deferred payment, i marvel how it made $150m in box office alone, on a $30m budget & still never made a profit.
— Duncan Jones (@ManMadeMoon) December 27, 2019
Sounds to be like a good deal of dirty pool.
And It’s Been Going On and On...
From the trades:
In 2010 it was revealed that 2007’s Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, which grossed $938.2 million worldwide, was still over $167 million from even breaking even.
David “Vader” Prowse never received residuals from Return of the Jedi as Lucasfilm claimed the film never made a profit despite earning $572 million worldwide.
Profit disputes between New Line Cinema and Peter Jackson over The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, not only delayed the production of The Hobbit trilogy, but also led to the actors from the film suing as well.
So what we can safely deduce is Hollywood is a land of a whole lot of money and very low profits.
No, you say?
Well, I agree if you overlook various factors such as insane amounts of greed, poor fiscal planning, insurance frauds, money laundering schemes, desperate productions taking money from the wrong people … also drugs, blackmail via sexual proclivities, more drugs, corruption, and a lot of deep sadness.
Mix these all together and you got a stew baby!
And that stew is what feeds the movie magic-making machine doll-face
Just remember that next time you see a studio boasting about profits.
And if you don’t know, now you know, viewer.