|發表於: Mon Oct 30, 2006 2:24 am 文章主題: "決勝時刻" 發行商遭遇困難
|"決勝時刻" 發行商Bauer Martinez遭遇財政困難
- Bauer Martinez用400萬美元買下"決勝時刻" 在美國和其他部分國家發行權, 但他們現在只支付了200萬美元.
- Bauer Martinez跟 米高梅 有代理發行合約. 原本 跟據合約, Bauer Martinez要支付所有宣傳/發行費用.... 但 Bauer Martinez 沒有錢支付宣傳/發行費用, 影片上映日期亦不段推遲
最後, 米高梅 要支付所有宣傳/發行費用!
|October 26, 2006
A New Film Director’s Agonizing Lessons
By SHARON WAXMAN
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 25 — When “Harsh Times,” a scorching character study of a violent veteran returning from war in the Persian Gulf, made its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, the movie raised a stir not only for the unflinching portrait of postwar psychosis by its star, Christian Bale, but also for the buyer who scooped it up.
Philippe Martinez, a newcomer to Hollywood, won the film by outbidding seasoned art-house studios and by gaining the trust of the movie’s writer and first-time director, David Ayer, who had financed the film by mortgaging his own house.
“I thought, ‘We can be neophytes together and reinvent the system,’ ” Mr. Ayer said in an interview last week at his Silver Lake office, where a folded and framed American flag hung behind his desk.
But the system, he has since learned, is not so easily reinvented. Now, “I want the warm, loving embrace of the studios,” he said. “Studios are the way they are for a very good reason.”
More than a year after Toronto, “Harsh Times” is just making its way toward a Nov. 10 release, with scant public awareness, a nest of tense financiers and a handful of abandoned release dates in its wake.
Mr. Martinez, the chairman of Bauer Martinez Entertainment, says he still loves the film and has supported it by approving a $15 million marketing campaign and relatively wide, 800-theater release. “Harsh Times” is set to be distributed by a reconfigured MGM, which releases movies made by Bauer Martinez and other companies.
“If I didn’t care about the film, I’d never have put $15 million into the marketing,” said Mr. Martinez, an expansive, cigar-smoking Frenchman, in an interview at his home in the Hollywood Hills. Mr. Ayer, he said, “should kiss me every morning for what I do for his movie.”
Yet Mr. Martinez is not actually putting up the $15 million; the money comes from MGM, which had originally expected Bauer Martinez to pay for marketing and delayed its publicity and advertising campaign when the deal stalled over this and other business issues. (MGM can count losses on “Harsh Times” against its other Bauer Martinez films, “Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj” and a Michelle Pfeiffer movie called “I Could Never Be Your Woman.”)
“I was thinking of pulling out of the deal,” said MGM’s chief operating officer, Rick Sands. “The deal contemplated that they would put up the marketing expenditures, and they wound up not doing so.”
But Mr. Sands, too, swears he’s a fan of the film, the story of an ex-soldier teetering between his festering rage and a job with the Los Angeles Police Department. “We are true believers,” he said. “I think David is the next Quentin Tarantino.”
None of which helps Mr. Ayer much at the moment. Market research shows that few moviegoers have even heard of the film. It has not been a significant factor in early award buzz, and was too late to be included in many fall magazine movie previews, a part of the unpaid publicity that builds word-of-mouth.
MGM has had trailers in theaters for the past several weeks and will begin a campaign of television advertisements in urban youth markets this week. “It’s a laser-targeted, urban Latino movie,” Mr. Sands said. (Many of the supporting characters are Latino.)
The complications over “Harsh Times” — which at first light had some festivalgoers talking Oscar for Mr. Bale — are symptomatic of the perilous road that Hollywood newcomers and independent producers face. Almost everyone involved was new to some aspect of the business: Mr. Ayer was a first-time, self-financing director, Mr. Martinez a brand-new distributor who promptly handed over actual distribution to the newly pared-down MGM.
That was certainly not the outcome that Mr. Ayer, who is represented by the powerful Creative Artists Agency, expected when he made a handshake deal with Mr. Martinez in Toronto. Mr. Ayer first wrote the script in the 1990’s, when he was struggling emotionally and financially five years after his release from the Navy and wanted to capture that experience in a story.
Unable to interest a studio in such a dark topic, Mr. Ayer took out a $2 million mortgage on his home to pay for the $2.4 million production, shot in “run and gun” style over 24 days in Mexico and downtown Los Angeles.
Among the bidders for distribution rights after Toronto, only Mr. Martinez committed to a substantial release and $4 million purchase price.
Backed by London investors, Mr. Martinez opened his company in Los Angeles last year and announced his intention to build the biggest independent studio in the industry. The entrepreneur had served jail time for fraud in France after a failed film venture in the 1990’s and was looking to make a clean start.
But he has found himself strapped for cash as the three movies that have been completed for months have yet to sell a single ticket.
So far he has paid Mr. Ayer only half of what he owes on the film. Mr. Martinez said that he asked the filmmaker to reduce the price by $1 million to compensate for shouldering such a large marketing budget.
“We’ve asked for a discount because we made a commitment to a marketing budget seven times higher than our contractual obligation,” said Mr. Martinez. Mr. Ayer declined, and Mr. Martinez said he would pay him by the release date.
Executives close to the film said Mr. Martinez was also angered to learn that his $4 million bid in Toronto was millions more than the next highest offer at the time.
Meanwhile Mr. Ayer and his producers fret over the film, trying to understand why a more orderly release has proved elusive. The film was first scheduled to hit theaters in April, then June, then September.
“It’s definitely the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life,” Mr. Ayer said.