The Movie Business

Added on 21 September 2010

Things are taking shape here at Long Midnight Films, with all sorts of ideas being kicked around. The interested reader might be thinking that we'd be working towards producing the first Barney Thomson movie, before turning the seven novels into a Harry Potter-esque Hollywood mega-series, starring Alan Rickman, with the likes of Judi Dench, Stephen Fry and Maggie Smith pitching in along the way.

However, as previously reported, regular Hollywood first assistant director Richard Cowan, has owned the film rights on The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson for some time now, and has recently renewed the option for another year. So, the Barney Thomson series is not currently available.

Now, as stated on this page yesterday, 19 out of 20 films released in British cinemas lose money for the producers. You're thinking, hang on a second chief, you read all the time about films that cost a couple of hundred thousand to make, then take five million at the box office. Well, let's not even touch on the various extra costs that go on making and distributing a film, other than the base cost of production. Instead, we'll look at the money that comes from a movie showing in the cinema.

First though, we'll talk about publishing for a second. One of the great bugbears of book selling is that the wholesaler - Waterstone's, Amazon, etc - take around a whopping 60% of the price of the book. They pass the remaining 40% onto the distributor, who take their cut - let's say 33% of that amount - before passing the rest to the publisher. For simplicity, if a book sells in Waterstone's for £10, it means that the publisher gets £2.80. Out of that, the publisher has had to pay for publicity, marketing, cover design, printing, not to mention paying the wages of the people who work at the publishers, and at the end of it all, possibly even giving a few pence to the author.

For movies in the UK, it's even worse. The exhibitor - Odeon, Showcase etc - takes 75% of the ticket price. Thereafter, the distributor will take his third of that money, so that by the end the producer doesn't see too much. Then he has to start paying off his investors, and by the time the movie has run in the cinema for a weeks, if it gets that far, the chances are he won't have been able to clear the debt run up while making the film.

The money, if it comes, will come be from the subsidiary rights, TV, DVD etc. These at least will be more lucrative, should the film have appeared in cinemas. Nevertheless, we here at Long Midnight Films are looking at cutting out the financially apocalyptic cinema stage, and will be aiming to produce straight-to-DVD titles. So, while most of the prospective titles remain in the very early stages of script development, these are the movies that are currently being worked up here in Hong Kong at Long Midnight Films Production HQ.

Death Ride To Cannibal Cave

Nazi Zombie Hunters Go Jesus

14 Years In Camp Slaughter

The Zombie Vampire of Three Rock Canyon

The Kampsie Killer of Kumbernauld

These are bold and exciting times at Long Midnight Films.