Sunday, October 30, 2016

STAR POWER Elba gets debut script worldwide Sony distribution

But he was drawn to the novice scriptwriter’s work, helping to shape it, advising on the musical score and producing videos expressing his enthusiasm for the project, to entice investors. His involvement immediately opened doors. He introduced Butler to sales agents, distributors and other key players.

Butler said: “It’s a very difficult world out there for independent drama. Without Idris, [the film] would be nowhere … with Idris, of course that’s how we got Sony to buy worldwide distribution. I owe him everything.”

How a writer’s first film script inspired Idris Elba to become its star

Friday, October 28, 2016

Number-crunching: producers not stars money-makers?

Well well, shake your moneymakers, it appears its a producer who most reliably adds value to a film release, not a star - though actors do dominate the fascinating list by

Also notable is the utter male dominance, with only Angelina Jolie, at #20, breaking up this testosterone hegemony.

A Guardian analysis highlights that just 2 80s stars remain as reliable draws, 'The Tom Tom Club' of Cruise and Hanks, though its Spielberg, 80s box office king, who tops the list, now as producer rather than director, and Samuel L. Jackson who leads the thesps.

Adam Sandler, king of trash and oppobrium magnet, is third. Bordwell and Thompson may declare Film Art, but Sandler's impact is a clear triumph for the film biz.

Cruise and Hanks: from golden boys to wasted talents

Friday, October 21, 2016

Cinematic universe extending franchise hegemony

Twist in the tale: super spin-offs start to replace film remakes and sequels

Monday, October 17, 2016

Yellowface controversy: Lee(ve) it out

Birth of the Dragon: makers of film about Bruce Lee respond to 'yellowface' row

Saturday, October 15, 2016

SOCIAL REALISM profile of godfather Ken Loach

Some featured films in the BFI guide to SR.
With the frequent focus on Working Title, the term social realism is thrown in a lot on this blog. To have any grasp of that, there are two names you should be familiar with: Mike Leigh and Ken Loach. I read an interesting Loach interview in today's Guardian - including a nice dig at that paper's conservatism compared to The Morning Star - which starts with a look at his politics and how these are reflected his latest film, just out, but goes on to look over his entire 50 year film-making career.

Loach and Leigh are both iconoclastic, exceptional auteurs: both typically refuse to issue a script, preferring to workshop a scenario with their cast (often, mostly in Loach's case, untrained non-professional actors), and Loach even shoots his films in chronological order, breaking rule 1 of film production! This, and their focus on working-class protagonists and their struggles in an unsympathetic political culture, has seen both struggle to win funding in their homeland, with government agencies baulking at the notion of funding unscripted projects and studios/investors seeking star-led projects.

Both, especially Loach, have managed long careers by pre-selling distribution rights (BEFORE production commences) in European markets like France and Germany where both are widely acclaimed - a funding method threatened by EU proposals to force producers to sell EU-wide rights only, and barring territory by territory deals (great news for the studios with the clout and presence to achieve this, but a sure death-knell for Indies if its implemented in the name of neo-liberal, free market orthodoxy).

A sample quote:

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

WT Billion Dollar Baby Brit Record

Catherine Shoard reports the landmark figure for the British production co

Well hello, hooray! For their competition its welcome to my nightmare, but school's out for the unrivalled masters of the British cinema market...the first British billion dollar babies of the UK (though Rep. of Ireland figures are often combined) cinema audience.

If you're bewildered by the intertextual puns in the above, it may be that you're not old enough to remember Alice Cooper in his prime (the artist in the video below) - Working Title don't go back nearly 50 years in the biz like Cooper, but they do go back 31 years at the time of writing (2016), so their bold social realist (with a comic edge) debut feature My Beautiful Laundrette (they're associated with 1984's The Man Who Shot Christmas too).
THEORY TIP: Stuart Hall argued that semiotics, and much early media theory, had one major flaw: assuming that meaning was completely tied to the producers of a text and their intentions (what they attempted to encode). He argued that meaning is also generated by the audience, and that the meaning they take will be influenced by their age, gender, nationality, cultural tastes, education level etc. Adult readers may pick up on my Alice Cooper intertextual puns, but younger readers may not - though they may generate their own independent meaning too.
If you followed my meaning, thats a preferred reading (the textual author would prefer that); if you follow some but not a substantial part, a contested or negotiated reading; if you reject or interpret in a very different way, thats an oppositional reading.

Today's juggernaut company, with its latest ultra-commercial hit Bridget Jones's Baby yet another franchise release featuring major US stars to boost its international appeal, is barely recognisable from the radical young company that produced a gay, inter-racial romance tale at the height of 1980s Thatcherite homophobia and race riots in Britain, following it up with an edgy wartime drama making a star of its young (unknown, just like the MBL leads) female lead and her catchphrase, up yer bum!