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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

question of the day: What would you do if you ran a movie studio?

I’ve got a piece up over at Film.com running down the top five things I’d do if I ran a movie studio. Number 1:

For every $100 million-plus movie my studio produces, I take another $50 mill; I’d divide it evenly among 10 young, hungry filmmakers based on their scripts, their previous experience, and their passion; then I’d let them go to town, with no interference from me, from my accountants, from my marketing experts or advertising execs. None of these films may be focus-grouped or test-screened in any official way, yet will be guaranteed minimum and equal levels of support (prerelease advertising, scope of theatrical play, eventual DVD release).

It’s not only an investment in the future, it’s a way to jump-start the generation of creative, low-budget hits such as Little Miss Sunshine, Juno, and Paranormal Activity. It should also be expected to produce modestly performing films that nevertheless easily turn a profit because of their low budgets.

I may have mentioned something similar before. It’s certainly one of my big pet peeves with the studios: that they don’t cultivate budding talent, which could be done cheaply and with, potentially, quite impressive payoffs; and they don’t seem to see the value in films with small budgets, which is simply absurd. It seems to me that it’s much smarter to bet $100 million on 20 movies than on only a single movie.

But I’m funny that way.

What would you do if you ran a movie studio?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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