Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Today Is a Kick-Ass Day for Indie Film

So, if you've been off-planet or dead in the grave you haven't heard about the movie KICK-ASS based on the comic by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.

But if you ARE in the know then you have heard that the trailer lives up to its name. You've also heard that director-producer Matthew Vaughn (STARDUST) had to GO OUT AND FINANCE THIS OUTSIDE THE STUDIO SYSTEM.
But here's the kicker from our friends at Film School Rejects:

After getting the cold shoulder from just about everyone in Hollywood and having to independently fund his teen-violence flick Kick-Ass, director Matthew Vaughn appears to be getting the last laugh. The once scoffed at property, which is an adaptation of a popular comic by Mark Millar (Wanted), is now being touted as a ‘franchise-level property’ despite the fact that it features a 10-year old girl who cuts bad guys in half. Personally, that would’ve been selling point number one for me if I were a studio exec. — but that’s probably why they don’t give me jobs like that.

According to THR’s Risky Biz, three studios are currently in the running to become the distributor of Kick-Ass: Lionsgate, Paramount and Universal. Paramount financed and distributed Matthew Vaughn’s last film, Stardust in 2007. Universal backed and released Mark Millar’s last adaptation Wanted last year, which went on to make $134 million at the domestic box office. And Lionsgate, well, they will distribute anything that is violent and potentially tasteless (i.e. Saw, Crank). All three studios are a potential fit for the film, with Paramount being the smartest option from a marketing perspective. They would likely have the largest P&A budget, with Universal coming in a close second. Lionsgate wouldn’t be my first choice, as they are a smaller studio with a history of under-marketing good films, but they do have a way with making something out of a film that contains otherwise deplorable content.

In the end, the person who really wins is Matthew Vaughn, who went out and made his film without the backing of a major studio, then went to Comic-Con and rocked the house with footage and kicked the buzz machine in the hind quarters. Now he has studios scrambling to pay him millions of dollars for his little film that could. Good on him, I say. The film is targeting an early 2010 release date, pending a distributor, so we’ll keep an eye on things for you.

This is how it's done in the independent film world all the time and its good to see it working again at the studio level (or at least getting the publicity the business model deserves. Many films you think are studio films aren't). Going outside the system is good if you want to get something done (at least in a timely manner).

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