Sunday, August 3, 2008

Greenlighting Movies Based on Lesser-Known Actors

There is a new model for packaging films appealing to a youth audience. Young males and females are driving the box office.

-Kirk D'Amico, an executive at Myriad Pictures, an independent production firm

In Anne Thompson, "New Role Call for International Pics," Variety, July 25, 2008

Only small number of extremely popular actors can lead executives at the Hollywood majors to make sure a film is made. Companies focusing on the non-US market used to have the same requirement of going with a "bankable" star. But with money being tight and companies not being able to pay top-dollar for actors who can guarantee large crowds, the small production companies that focus on the non-US market have drawn up different lists. They are of actors who are not well known but charge relatively little and seem to foreign distributors to be recognizable enough to audiences in different territories to help sell a picture. Moreover, the type of picture that international distributors have in mind is Juno, last year's independent film that did well with teens and young adults. Among those on the current list are Ben Barnes, Jessica Biel, and Megan Fox. "While their backgrounds and resumes vary, all have perceived appeal to the target demo, the magic Juno sweet spot: 17 to 35."

These actors are being offered lots of movies by second- and third-level film companies, and for the sake of their futures they have to choose judiciously. The indie film companies may in the end not be able to distribute the film in the US or major world territories. "Starring in a fest-circuit movie that doesn't get distribution is a black mark that is hard to erase."

No comments: