December 01, 2007

Sometimes a "per se" is just a per se

Others, it's a pregnant bull donkey.

The fallout from the neutron bomb that was Lions for Lambs continues:

This summer, UA secured a $500 million film financing fund from Merrill Lynch to finance 15-18 films over five years. MGM put up the equity portion of the fund, likely meaning $50 million to $60 million. That way, MGM owns UA titles. Harry Sloan's MGM owns 65% of UA; Wagner and Cruise own the rest.

Wagner said that "Lions" represents everything that the revitalized UA stands for, and that its importance extends beyond just box office haul. She said the film helped UA secure the Merrill Lynch fund.

"We do recognize that it hasn't performed as well as we would have liked, but we don't regret making it. I think it's very important that a film company be judged by a slate of films, not just one film," Wagner said.

"It was a Robert Redford film that was timely, relevant and engaging. It represented the very essence of the United Artists legacy, and it made perfect sense for it to be our first movie," she continued. "You have to look at us as a start-up company. We had zero assets. The cupboard was bare. Now we have one movie in our library, a movie we are very proud of."

"Lions" is hardly the only film that underperformed this fall, or that will lose money. Other disappointments include New Line's political drama "Rendition," DreamWorks-Paramount's Ben Stiller laffer "The Heartbreak Kid," U's "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" and Fox-Walden's "The Seeker: The Dark is Rising," to name some examples.

UA insists that "Lions" is in no way a reflection of Cruise's star status, and that it wasn't a Tom Cruise movie, per se.

Heaven's Gate, anybody?

The movie's unprecedented $40 million cost (equivalent to about $120 million as of 2006) and poor performance at the box office ($3,484,331 gross in the United States) generated more negative publicity than actual financial damage, causing Transamerica Corporation (United Artists' corporate owner at the time) to become anxious over its own public image and withdraw from film production altogether.
Posted by Steve-O at December 1, 2007 12:30 PM | TrackBack

Hello Robert Redford. Of course you are much smarter than those of us who wallow in the cultural abyss of fly over country but you might consider one piece of advice. Have it tatooed on your forehead so you can read it every morning when you shave.
People go to the movies to be entertained NOT to be lectured to.

Posted by: Tbird at December 1, 2007 02:25 PM

Maybe the next time Bob Redford makes another smug, pretentious, pile of crap for a film (Oh, and he will too. Count on it), he should make sure there are lots of nekid babes of the Fredricks of Hollywood vareity in it. You know, for,,,um,,,,context.

Posted by: stillers at December 2, 2007 03:46 AM

Using film to promote personal beliefs makes me puke. Flee when you see it. These people think they actually make a difference. It's an indication of how bright they really are.

Posted by: Gordy at December 7, 2007 01:07 PM