Tetragrammaton with Rick Rubin - Jason Blum

Episode Date: January 17, 2024

Jason Blum is an award-winning film and television producer known for his work in the horror and thriller genres. In 2000, he founded Blumhouse Productions, a production company specializing in low-bu...dget horror and thriller movies, such as the highly successful Paranormal Activity franchise, which grossed over $890 million worldwide. He has also produced other popular films such as Insidious, The Purge, Get Out, BlacKkKlansman, and Whiplash.  ------ Thank you to the sponsors that fuel our podcast and our team: Squarespace https://squarespace.com/tetra ------ LMNT Electrolytes https://drinklmnt.com/tetra ------ House of Macadamias https://www.houseofmacadamias.com/tetra

Discussion (0)
Starting point is 00:00:00 Tetragrammata. Tetragrammata. Thank you for having me do this. I'm a huge admirer of yours. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. I was very honored by getting your call. I'm a fan from a distance. And it's interesting because I'm not a fan of harmony.
Starting point is 00:00:37 But no, but I'm interested in outsiders doing something interesting. It's like you fit my, what's interesting to me in the world is what you do. Oh, and that's cool. Yeah, it's not necessarily about the actual content. It's more a way of looking at the world. I'm very flattered by that. And I feel the same about you.
Starting point is 00:01:00 And it's a little different. I mean, I'm a fan of all the incredible music that you've put together. And I love the 60 minutes, by the way. I just saw that it was excellent. It was actually my dream is 60 minutes. I pitch them constantly. They're so tired of hearing, I can't get on. I'm just trying so hard.
Starting point is 00:01:18 There'll be a time. No, there'll be a time. You'll do something really bad. Really terrible. And that'll spark it. I feel like 60 minutes, that might actually really impress my parents. You know, they don't like horror movies either, but that would really, that would really solve a lot of inner problems.
Starting point is 00:01:37 Let's talk about that. How do your parents feel about movies? Oh, my parents definitely don't like horror movies, but I think they're both very proud of what I've built and what I've achieved, but they don't see very many of our movies. I took my dad, we premiered the normal heart in New York, which is a movie I made for HBO with Ryan Murphy,
Starting point is 00:02:01 and he went to the premiere of that. I thought that was really gonna solve that problem, but he didn't really like the normal hard either, although I'm sure he has like, he'd like they liked Whiplash, they both like Whiplash. Black Plansmen, they like Black Plansmen, they like Blumhouse Classics. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha How did you find yourself in this niche? Was it intentional or just revealed to self as you were working? It was definitely a hundred percent both.
Starting point is 00:02:30 I loved independent movies in the 90s. That's what I kind of grew up with is independent movies. And I left to become an independent producer, probably a little, I probably should have stayed in the system a little bit longer than I did. Anyway, I left to start producing movies on my own in 2000 and I made a handful of independent movies, which were fun to make, but nobody saw them. And I was very frustrated by the fact that no one was seeing our little independent movies.
Starting point is 00:02:58 And I really, really, really wanted to make a studio movie mostly for the distribution, not necessarily for what studio movies are like to have 500 people work on the distribution of my movie. And so the first one, really the only one I ever made a traditional studio movie was the Tooth Fairy with Dwayne the Rock Johnson, which I made for Fox. And I was, I guess at my early to mid-30s and it was disappointing. It was nothing kind of, I hoped it would be, that the production of it was very, you know, decision by committee. The more money you spend for me, the less interesting the process is. And I've never, ever not had that experience
Starting point is 00:03:38 on movies, but that was a good example of it. But the tooth fairy was released almost exactly the same time as paranormal activity was released. The distribution of the tooth fairy, I was blown away. I was like, this is everything I hope for and dream for. I wanna make movies that go through this system. I want the studio system. I don't wanna beg this person to draw the poster and to call the movie theater that doesn't want the movie
Starting point is 00:04:05 and beg people to go see the movie. Like, I want ads on the basketball game for my movies, you know? So the two-throwy happened right after the two-throwy, right before, right at the same time, paranormal activity came out. And the amazing thing with paranormal activity was I got to have my cake and eat it too, because it was a totally independent movie made for no money distributed by a studio. Yeah. How did it get distributed by the studio? How did the tell me the story? The story of paranormal? Yeah. Wow, I haven't told the story in a long time. Do you want the longer you want me to try long? You want the wrong one? I want to share everything.
Starting point is 00:04:39 I like detail. You like detail? Yeah. Well, I'll give you detail. Well, like I said, I left an executive job in 2000 and I produced a bunch of independent movies and I, it's another story, but I got what I thought I always wanted, which was a first look at a studio. I had a golf cart, I had fancy offices. The dream had come true. In fact, I learned, in fact, and we don't have offices on a lot anymore either. It's the last thing that I wanted, but I had to get it to learn that I didn't want it.
Starting point is 00:05:14 Yes. And I was working a paramount. And Gail, Berman, and Bragg Breh, who's no longer with us, had kind of made my deal. And then the administration there inherited my deal. And they were like, why are you paying this guy so much money? And this guy's never produced a movie before
Starting point is 00:05:29 that anyone's ever seen. And this is stupid. So I couldn't get anything done at Paramount. I was lucky enough to have be paired. They were spending, but they were spending a lot over it. They were trying to, it was just a mess. And it was very frustrating. Anyway, there was a younger producer named Steven Schneider
Starting point is 00:05:48 who they put me with who was a horror expert. I was not a horror expert. I have certainly become one, but I was not like Quentin or Eli Roth. They're like growing up with horror. I grew up with Halloween and being very weird and having a lot in common with fans of horror. But I wasn't like a horror nut movie. What movies that you watch as a kid?
Starting point is 00:06:08 Like what were your favorite movies? I love Hitchcock movies, but I also, I just love, I love, I love the Academy movies. I love the Art House movies. The bigger Art House movies. I love Spielberg movies, you know. I love the bigger commercial movies. So anyway, I'm sitting at Paramount, very frustrated. This guy's Steven Schneider, who's a horror expert
Starting point is 00:06:25 in the kind of an academic he had written books about horror. And he's introducing me to horror, and I'm interested in it kind of. And we get a DVD of Paranormal Activity as a directing sample, and we got it from CAA, but CAA, finished film. Finish film. I had nothing to CAA. Finish film. Finish film. Wow.
Starting point is 00:06:46 I had nothing to do with the finish film. Great. Yeah, even my favorite way to produce a movie is when the movie is already finished. How great is that? That's the best ever. No fancy, nothing. It's right there. It's right there.
Starting point is 00:06:56 It's right there. It's right there. So I got this, you don't know any of this, right? No, no, no, no. No, I don't know what it's. Okay, okay, okay. So I got the movie finished and the person at CAA wasn't representing the movie because You don't know any of the story. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no like, here's the movie, this movie is out coming out already, but do you want to make this guy's next movie?
Starting point is 00:07:29 And I saw the movie and I was like, this movie is like really good and really commercial. What are you doing with it? They were negotiating a deal with IFC to sell it for like a hundred grand or a hundred fifty grand for a direct to video, but at the time a direct to DVD movie before streaming. And I, 10 years before that, had the wherewithal to pass on the Blair Witch project. And that was a big mistake. And it was ingrained. It was this, it was this really, I really learned from like you do.
Starting point is 00:08:01 You learn from your mistakes. And I was like, if that ever happens to me again, you know, if some, if the God's ever happened this, I'm not gonna fuck this up a second time. And it did 10 years later, I got like what I thought, and the first thing I thought when I saw the movie is, Blair Witch. Everyone thinks it's nothing.
Starting point is 00:08:18 It's made for nothing, and it's a joke, and it could be something amazing. Could be. I didn't know for a fact. You never know. You never know. You never know. But you have a hunch.
Starting point is 00:08:29 Yeah, yeah, yeah, you felt it. I felt the hunch. You felt it enough to want to pursue it, which is exactly. Exactly. Exactly. So I felt it enough to say, I want to meet the director, writer, director, guys. If Orren Pelley, he was a video game designer. And that's kind of why he was able to make the movie work, because he did a lot of stuff from video game designer and that's how kind of why he was able to make the movie work is he did a lot of stuff from video game.
Starting point is 00:08:46 Do you think about it? It has a lot of kind of the NA of a video game. Anyway, I meet Orin at my old-held house in the hills in West Hollywood on a Sunday and I said to him, I told him the Blair Witch story and I said, you know, I've seen your movie and I don't want it to happen again. And I think it could be a big theatrical hit. And I'm willing to only get paid. I remember I said, if you make, he had 150 grand,
Starting point is 00:09:16 I think, or 150 grand, I said, I don't want to get paid unless you make over $400,000. But if you make over 400 grand, I get X-Piece forever. And I'm gonna try and he said, well, everyone's seen it, everyone's passed on it. It's just, the ship is sailed. It's said, you never know. And you got nothing loose.
Starting point is 00:09:34 I got nothing to lose. Yeah, you have, well, here was one, you always have to be lucky too, right? So one thing I was so lucky is, he wasn't a kid. Had he been 22, he would have said, I made the move for 15 grand, I got $150,000. I'm taking my money, but luckily, he was also in his mid 30s, he was making six figures already. So it wasn't going to change his life forever. So he had the liberty to say, okay, I'll cancel this deal and give this weird pl guy a shot. I was very lucky about that.
Starting point is 00:10:05 Yeah. So we did an agreement and I said, when I was an executive, I did acquisitions. So really, I bought and sold finished films. So this was a muscle that I was used to use, very used to using. And I'd been out on my own for about four or five years as a producer, no longer an acquisitions executive.
Starting point is 00:10:22 I was very careful with the relationships that I had. I went all around the world with a group of people who did this very weird job. They bought movies for film companies. We all knew each other. There were 20 of us. I'm sure it's still the same today. Maybe there are a few more.
Starting point is 00:10:35 But it's the same idea. It's a weird job in our ecosystem. And anyway, it had been years since I'd seen these people. And I called them individually up. And I said, guys, I think I have the next pair of witches at Paranormal Activity. Oh, we already saw it. Dada-dada.
Starting point is 00:10:51 You know that. I said, guys, we also have Blair Witch too. I have the DVD of Blair Witch before VHS. A Blair Witch. Before I saw it, I watched it on VHS. We also, we all passed. Like, I wasn't, I couldn't just spend $20,000 or $30,000 on a test run. If it would happen today, it would have a send of test screening. And I couldn't, I couldn't just spend $20,000 or $30,000 on a test run.
Starting point is 00:11:05 If it would happen today, it would have sent a test screening. And I couldn't, so I was actually just saying, why don't you guys just test it? Like spend $20,000, $30,000, test it. I couldn't get anyone to do that. So I thought of festival. So I applied to Sundance, they turned it down. So then we applied to slam dance.
Starting point is 00:11:21 And they accepted the movie, which is never as good because everyone knows when you're in slam dance, you've been turned down by Sundance, but you know, it was some platform, right? Then I had An Thompson and John Horn. An Thompson for Variety or Hollywood Reporter. And John Horn wrote an amazing L.A. time space. He loved the movie and she loved the movie and they got the movie. Nice.
Starting point is 00:11:43 And I got a big piece of press, two big pieces of press, like really substantial. And I called all the acquisition people again. I said, I know you guys have the DVD, I know you guys are the VHI, I know DVD, I know you guys have seen it, come to the screening, look, John, look what John Horn wrote, look what, and it was a Sunday pictures, like big, look what Ann Thompson wrote. Come to this screening and they also they would come and then they didn't really, they sent there like, you know, the junior most junior most junior person and slam dance ends. And I'll remember this for the rest of my life. I'm sure because it's been 20 years already. And I'm sitting at the end of, I'm sitting at lunch with
Starting point is 00:12:20 Orin and I'm kind of like, well, I mean, I guess, you're gonna take this, I have seeded, you know, I got no, I got no choice except, there's one last Hail Mary, which I don't think I'd even really told him before because I was so sure I wasn't gonna do this. Paramount was treating me like shit, but I was guilty because they were paying me so much money. And this was at the time when Paramount owned Dreamworks. So I thought, if I can't get anything done with Paramount, I'm going to try and get something
Starting point is 00:12:46 done with Dreamworks because I'm the kind of person and I'm sure you're the same. When I get money from a big company, I want everyone to make money. That's how you become successful. So when someone invested, it was $5 million over three years, I'm like, I was so dead set on probably in a unhealthy way, making that money back for them. And I'm like, if they're not gonna take my calls, I'm gonna make DreamWorks make this buddy. So there was an executive at DreamWorks too.
Starting point is 00:13:14 One name Ashley Brooks and another name Adam Goodman, and they saw a paranormal activity right around this time, right before the festival, whatever they said, look, eh, the movie's kind of weird, but we'll remake the movie. And I said, well, eh, the movie's kind of weird, but we'll remake the movie. And I said, well, I had two thoughts here. This was the one of the smartest things I've probably done in my career.
Starting point is 00:13:33 I said to them, I need at least 250 for Orrin, because I need to make more sense. I knew the idea of a remake would drive him insane. But I said, give me 250, so he gets more money. And I wrote this in the contract. I said, before you remake it, you need to test screen the film. And I framed it to them to say,
Starting point is 00:13:54 you guys are the geniuses. I don't know what I'm doing. Test screen paranormal activity only so we can decide what to keep and what to throw out when we remake the film, right? Only decide what we keep in the film and I haven't told the story. It's so long. It's really actually fun to tell. And I said, have you're writer there? You're writer?
Starting point is 00:14:14 And so that we decide. And now I'm back to Orin at the end of slam dance. I said, look, this is the only thing I have. But I said, Orin, I now I had the insight of having watched the movie a bunch of times with crowds. Now I'm much more confident that the movie's gonna work. I said, Orin, if we get a decision maker in a room with a random audience, there's no way they're gonna remake the movie.
Starting point is 00:14:37 It's the dumbest idea in the world. You don't remake the Found footage movie with movie stars. Like, it's so dumb. I said, but we're gonna have to pretend that we wanna remake it. We're gonna sign this deal. Worst case scenario, the movie, you're gonna get 250 grand.
Starting point is 00:14:53 The movie's gonna come out anyway, tiny anyway. So what do you care? But I said, I promise, and I was just lucky also, that he took the leap of faith with me on again. And I said, I promise you, if we get into this movie theater, they're gonna put the movie on 3,000 screens. I said, I promise. And he agreed. And we signed that deal with Dreamworks. And right around this time, Spielberg saw the movie. So he felt you were
Starting point is 00:15:16 in the, what, what it was was you were telling him what you really felt. And he, he felt, yeah, he believed in the movie too. You were saying, I believe in the movie., he believed in the movie too. You were saying, I believe in the movie. And he believed in the movie too. He believed in the movie. He's like, we have to play this game because these people don't understand. But let's show them.
Starting point is 00:15:34 But let's show them. Let's show them. And Owen and I had a lot of disagreements over the years, but I really, I'm obviously fond of it. This movie started, my whole company started my career. Everything, I owe everything that I have to this movie and to Orrin. So we have a test in Burbank.
Starting point is 00:15:50 It's like two or three months later. It's like in the spring, because Sundance is in January. It's March, April, like this time of year. 300 people, Adam Goodman, Stacy Snyder, Ashley, some writer directors to work on this sequel, right? And we sit down and it's the first blind recruit. I've seen the movie with an audience,
Starting point is 00:16:07 but never a blind recruit, so it's just blind people like, or a movie room would say. Two 50 300, two 99, I think, two 99. So crowded theater. Every seafull, great. Yeah, every seafull, every seafull. And we screen the movie, I'm sitting next to Orrin, and people go fucking berserk.
Starting point is 00:16:23 I get, It's amazing. And the movie ends and we walk down to talk to the executives. The word remake is never uttered. It's never uttered again, but it's never uttered. And Stacey Snyder, and again to this day, I remember, is pitching what the TV spots for the wide release are going to be for the movie. Amazing.
Starting point is 00:16:46 It's amazing. Amazing. Spielberg sees it the next day because he hears that DreamWorks owns this movie that tested so great. He's very enthusiastic. And then this is only in the movie business. And we're good to go. Like, it's a wide release.
Starting point is 00:17:01 We're going through Paramount because DreamWorks owns Paramount, but DreamWorks is doing all the marketing, and I'm like, I'm gonna make Paramount their money again, plus I'm gonna make money, and this is amazing. Win, win, everybody wins. Everybody wins. And the audience gets to see a great movie. And the audience gets to see a great movie. Best.
Starting point is 00:17:16 Everybody wins. And you want to keep going? Yes. Okay. Yes. And August of this same year, DreamWorks and Paramount break up. And DreamWorks goes to Disney and Paramount does Paramount and they have a divorce and they give up projects like children.
Starting point is 00:17:33 And clearly, the great Paramount activity is not going to go to Disney. So Paramount activity goes to Paramount and it started over from zero. So Paramount got the movie. They were not at the test screening. They don't care about any of that stuff. They think the movie is a piece of garbage like anything else. But the only savior is that shortly thereafter,
Starting point is 00:17:58 Adam Goodman, who was at DreamWorks, got hired at Paramount. And so Adam Goodman fought internally at Paramount, and I fought externally for 18 months, but I will tell you the ultimate deal that we, Paramount, if you remember, it wasn't a wide release. They released it in 20 markets, and then it took off, and then they spent money.
Starting point is 00:18:17 So what Paramount agreed to do is give us a million dollars of which we put up 500 grand. They came back to us, we negotiated, so he said, we're not doing this deal. We're not gonna release your movie unless you, but they have basically like blackmailed us. And totally didn't believe in the movie. And then it got released, you know,
Starting point is 00:18:34 on a, for a million dollars on 20 screens. There was a woman named Amy Powell who really did a lot of the marketing for the movie. And she was great and Adam believed in it. Nobody else did. And then the movie took off and the rest is history. But, but the second half of the marketing for the movie. And she was great. Adam believed in it. Nobody else did. And then the movie took off. And the rest is history. But the second half of the story was as bleak as the first.
Starting point is 00:18:50 Orin just to give you a detail. I knew you were living in Hartbricky. It was living in my guest house for like six weeks after the dream works thing. But we did it. We did it. Amazing. It's a fair and normal story. Amazing.
Starting point is 00:19:03 Yeah. Amazing. That's the paranormal story. Amazing. Yeah, that would definitely make you not want an office on the lot. The amazing thing is they did, we did paranormal one, then we'd done six paranormal two, and they still give me a lot. I still have such tortured feelings about Paramount, though no one is there anymore who is there at the time. But anyway, to go back to your first question, just to answer briefly, because there's a very specific answer to it,
Starting point is 00:19:30 what the Paramount activity in Tooth Fairy did was, and the reason that I love horror movies, it's not what one would think, is it showed me that horror is the only genre that you can make the movies totally independently and release the movies by a traditional studio. And you can't really do that with any other genre. Is that true?
Starting point is 00:19:51 Absolutely. No. It's got to be cheap. So horror is very cheap. Horror is not star dependent. The closest cousin to horror is comedy for sure, but comedy you can't do cheap comedies that are wide releases. You can make cheap comedies on TV streaming. But indie stars.
Starting point is 00:20:09 You need big stars. And with big stars, big money. Really the way I still look at my movie is it's like we're this Trojan horse of indie movies. We're like taking these subversives. That's what I love about it. Me too. That's what I love about it.
Starting point is 00:20:22 And we take subversive, indie, crazy, screwed up stories. Yes. And you get big public companies to spend 40 or 50 million dollars releasing that. And that is the true joy. And it's still after 25 years. It's still, as you could see by this mile on my face, it's still I get such a kick out of it. Like people say like, Oh, we want the next get out. It's like over-minded body would you have done get out? No one would ever make it out. No one would barely release get out. You know?
Starting point is 00:20:51 And the only reason we're able to is not because I'm a genius, but because I'm a pretty psycho about costs. And I'm psycho about costs not to make a lot of money. I could make a lot of money doing a lot of things. I'm psycho about costs because that allows us to take risks and make crazy movies. Crazy movies. Yeah, it's really fun.
Starting point is 00:21:09 Really fun. This is interesting. Hearing the story about paranormal activity, is it possible that the way it got released on the 20 screens first actually was advantageous as opposed to going wide out of the box? It definitely was. It was a great, it was, it worked out good.
Starting point is 00:21:27 It worked out great and it was, it wasn't a deliberate choice. It was a choice based solely because of money. Yes. But it turned out it was great. It made the movie a word of mouth sensation and a built. It was the perfect release for the movie. So that's one of the interesting things
Starting point is 00:21:42 about perceived limitations. Totally. It's like you're doing low budget of the interesting things about perceived limitations. Totally. It's like you're doing low-budget movies. That's a perceived limitation. Yeah. Or you have to innovate. Yeah, you have to innovate. You want 3,000 screens, you get 20,000, but then there's a lot of people who want to
Starting point is 00:21:57 see that movie based on the word amount and they can't see it and that makes it that much more forbidden and desirable. Totally. I mean, I'm sure you're the same, but I'm a huge believer that if you reduce capital more creative, better decisions, it's always, always. Yeah, always. We see so many projects that just have money thrown at them. And all it is, it's like, it's all decoration.
Starting point is 00:22:20 You know, there's no substance underneath. Because the ideas are not expensive. You know, the breakthrough all there's no substance underneath. Because the ideas are not expensive. You know that the breakthrough ideas are not expensive. It's the way of looking at the world by crazy people like us. Yeah, exactly. That finds a way to make this crazy thing that people haven't experienced before. That's what's exciting.
Starting point is 00:22:40 That's what's exciting. And speaking of things that haven't experienced before, I think the reason why it's so rare that streaming movies break out into the culture and have a cultural impact is one money, they're too expensive. But to exactly to your point, like if you use data and research and analytics,
Starting point is 00:23:01 it's good for some things. But if you're using that to choose like art, you're never gonna get art that's weird. You're gonna, all your choices, like, could you imagine, like, you're gonna see it? It's all the same. It's all the same. I'm gonna analyze over the last 10 years
Starting point is 00:23:15 the artists that have sold at Larry's and then I'm gonna generate this to sell. Like, it's so ridiculous. It's ridiculous. Yeah. The whole key to art is the point of view of the artist. And then AI doesn't have a point of view. And then it's new.
Starting point is 00:23:32 Yeah, it has it. It's not based. I mean, it's always, you always see musicians, painters, artists, they're always looking at the history of whatever they're doing. For sure. For borrowing, for sure. But when you get something really reinventing or innovating, it doesn't relate to something else. It's different.
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Starting point is 00:25:05 it easy to create and customize a beautiful website. Visit squarespace.com slash tetra and get started today. Tell me about the world of acquisition. So you lived in that world and it sounds like a fascinating, what are the kind of films that you saw? What's that life like? It was amazing. How many films are there?
Starting point is 00:25:34 Well, I'm 54. So I graduated college in 1991. I sold cable TV, door to door, and then I was a real estate agent in New York. And real estate agent especially was great trading for what we do. And I got a job, my first job was company called Arrow Entertainment. And Arrow Entertainment was run by a guy who had a commercial real estate company down this hallway and a movie company down the other hallway.
Starting point is 00:25:58 And he released independent movies and he, and my roommate in college was Noah Boundback who's a writer director. and he had written this script called kicking and screaming was called fifth year and this guy Dennis Friedland he flirted with making the movie for the summer while I was renting apartments and at the end of the summer he said I'm not gonna make your movie but but I'll give you a job you could stop being you could work full time in the movie business to stop being a real estate agent. So I took him up on it and he gave me the job of acquisitions,
Starting point is 00:26:28 which I had no idea what it was. But at that time, there were about 1,000 or 1,500 movie. This is just domestically, not internationally. 1,000 movies, maybe 1,500 movies, a year that we're getting made. Almost none of them got distribution. You know, it's such a crazy, you know, they were 100 would get distribution of some kind. And it was a very fringe business and you'd go, I'd go to all the film festivals and it was a tiny company. So we were playing in the more. So I would look at all the movies that the big
Starting point is 00:26:59 companies, New Line and Fox Searchlight and Grammar C and whatever the companies were the the past on and we would try and buy a movie for like 25 grand or 50 grand. We'd release it in 10 cities. We'd spend a hundred thousand dollars to open the movie in New York and LA and then Calendar House played a little bit and then you'd try and sell like 3,000 videotapes and then there was a woman named Doris Kasap who just left HBO but I would try and sell the HB the Pay TV rights for like 35 grand and you try and like spend 25 to 50 to buy another 150 years so you're total outlay is like two 300 grand and you try and bring in 500 grand most of the time you would
Starting point is 00:27:40 And you know one every couple of hundred might break out. One every couple hundred, Macroly, and for us, we were doing, you know, 15 or 20 a year. And one or two a year, we had a movie called Bandit Queen with Shaker Kapoor's first movie, we had a movie called My Life and Turn Around. So one or two a year would make like 800 grand or something. It was a very tough business, but then I went to work for Miramax in 1995. There was a woman at Miramax named Amy Earsreel who went to work for Miramax in 1995. There was a woman at Miramax named Amy Erzeriel who did my job for Miramax and Miramax at that time they were like, triple A. That was the dream team. So I went from this kind of very tiny little thing to a much bigger playing field.
Starting point is 00:28:18 How did they find you? Amy was 100% responsible for getting me the job at Miramax. She really, we were friends and she would help me at Arrow, was the name of the company, I think I said. She would say, you should look at these 10 movies, you should look at these 10 movies. And there was a job opening at Miramax and she said, you should interview for it.
Starting point is 00:28:36 And I had a 15 minute interview. I told the story at the interview of how I bought Bandit Queen actually. And after I told that story, I got the job. Great. And I worked there for four, five, 95 to 2000. And it was massively stressful. And I worked unbelievable hours,
Starting point is 00:28:56 but it was an incredible experience. And I learned so much. Paranormal activity never would have happened that I not had that experience. Was there ever a case where your inexperience worked your advantage? I mean, I still think that's true all the time, don't you? I know for me, it's all the time. For me, it's all the time.
Starting point is 00:29:16 Yeah, because you don't know what's impossible. Sure. You don't know what doesn't work. You blindly stumble in, I ask, my wife accuses me of that all the time, but I ask the dumb question. I ask 20, I tell my kids every day, I say daddy makes a thousand mistakes a day. That's our mantra in our house.
Starting point is 00:29:35 And I think that happens all the time and that definitely happened when I was in, the idea that I was 20 years old, I was gonna produce no bound backs, movie the my other 20 year old friends, like his first movie was insane, totally insane. But why not? It's like the other side of it is why not.
Starting point is 00:29:49 And we got it done, you know, with somehow, I mean, I didn't get the credit, I should've gotten it, I lost money and I know what it happened. It happened, it happened. Yeah, yeah, yeah. How would you describe how does the mainstream model of filmmaking work versus what you do? I don't really know, I honestly don't know how the mainstream model of filmmaking work versus what you do? I don't really know.
Starting point is 00:30:07 I honestly don't know how the mainstream works either. So describe both. Yeah, sure. Well, we're totally opposite. And the unusual thing about the company is that usually if you're totally opposite, you wouldn't be in the mainstream movie. You wouldn't be working with the studios.
Starting point is 00:30:22 You'd be working independent distributors, independent. So our approach to making movies is totally, totally opposite to mainstream, but our distribution is the same, which is kind of cool. Mainstream Hollywood, you'll be surprised to hear, is still just absolutely addicted to money, and I mostly fault the representatives for that, for a lawyer, an agent, a manager. No matter you would be shocked, the amount of money we've made for people working in our system on backend, and I'll talk to agents who've represented seven people, or managers, or lawyers, or whatever, eight people who've benefited from that. And they will say to me,
Starting point is 00:31:06 well, the director already did a $10 million movie. So the next movie I want the director to do, we got to, we're looking for a $30 to $50 million movie. Now, it's hard to impress upon you, in my opinion, how backwards that thinking is. Like the idea that- It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter what it calls us. It doesn't matter what it calls us. You should do the script that you is. Like the idea that doesn't matter. It doesn't matter what it costs.
Starting point is 00:31:26 You should do the script that you love. Of course. And unless you're one of 20 people, your voice will be less heard directly correlates to how much you spend. So you have a director who's got a great Sundance movie and then they're thrown into a Marvel movie. They're not really direct.
Starting point is 00:31:46 I mean, they're kinda directing the Marvel movie, but Marvel's directing that movie. And the foundation of the studio system, not the studio's fault, not the studio's fault. It's all the representatives, men and all the people's fault, telling their artists, you're ready for a more expensive movie. And that's for a very simple reason, which is that when you're working at one of those companies, unfortunately, even if they're not public, they're based on annual bonuses.
Starting point is 00:32:13 So if you say to an agent over five years, you're going to make $10 million, or we'll pay you $3.5 million this year, the agent will always choose three and a half instead of 10, because he doesn't, he or she doesn't even know if they're gonna be at the agency, that client might have laughed, a million things gonna happen. So everyone's playing a short game. So everyone is playing a short term, pay me up front game. Not everyone, but if you ask kind of fundamentally the difference
Starting point is 00:32:40 between our business and their, our business is a long term, worked for a little bit of money upfront. If it works, you'll make way more than you'll make three times what you would have made up front. And then you get all the... I would be a more personal honest, it'll be your move. It'll be your movie, and you'll get a more,
Starting point is 00:32:59 and the experience is so much better. And it applies to us too. If I'm talking to, normally, my partner on all these to us too. If I'm talking to normally my partner on all these movies is universal. If I'm talking to universal, and they paid me a $4 million fee before the movie's released, and you of all people will appreciate this.
Starting point is 00:33:16 It feels like not ethical to then tell them how I want the creatively the movie. I think it should be this actor. I think it should be this.. I think it should be this. They bought it. They bought it. By the way, I'm getting paid already and they're a hundred million in the whole.
Starting point is 00:33:31 So the conversation is so fraught and it's not equal and it's not fun. And it's like, it feels yucky to me. Whereas instead of paying a hundred, you're paying $15 million for the movie or $10 million for the movie. I haven't gotten anything unless the movie works. That creative conversation about what we're doing together is so much more fruitful.
Starting point is 00:33:51 I have so much more ground to stand on, you know, because it's like I got skin in the game too. And that is fundamentally on the movie business side. That's the big difference between what we do and what studios do. And the sad thing about just the entertainment business in a whole is that model is being I shouldn't even say it's being challenged. In television, it's been decimated. There's no such thing as ownership left in TV.
Starting point is 00:34:14 In movies, there really is. But in TV, the idea of owning an equity and show, it's been decimated by streaming. And I don't know if you saw, I wrote an op-ed about it in the times a year ago. But I think that's a really bad thing for our business as a whole. How did your relationship with Universal start? This is a good story too. I did paranormal activity, I did two paranormal activities. Paramount kicked me off the lot because they were going through. You could tell I have such a chip on my shoulder about Paramount. I just read the book by the way. I love the book. They kicked
Starting point is 00:34:42 you off the lot. They kicked me off the lot. They did me a huge favor. The huge favor. I helped build my business. It was terrific. There's a manager who's still in the business name Ellen Goldsmith Bane, who has a company called Gotham, who I haven't seen in many years, but she was kind enough to let me camp out in offices in her office there on sunset. I took a little, you know, the three people left it by company.
Starting point is 00:35:01 You know what I went there. And the reason the Paramount kicked me off a lot was the reason that I couldn't really get my next thing going is because they had so little success at Paramount that everyone in the company wanted the success of their own paranormal activities so badly that they wanted to erase the producers and the filmmakers, they just wanted us to go away
Starting point is 00:35:21 so that they could own every bit of it. Wow. Which is amazing. Yeah. And anyway, Donald Langley and Brian Lord Reddell lunch like a year after her something like that. And Donna said, you know, I really want to get, there's this horror tradition and Paramount, like I really want to get that going again. And Brian said, have you met Jason Blum?
Starting point is 00:35:39 And that was how my, and she said no, I have no idea who that is. And I went in, I picture my thing. Uh. Has Brian been your agent the whole time? He's been my agent. I met Brian in 1993. Wow. I was producing, again, during my real estate agent days. I also produced theater.
Starting point is 00:35:54 I had a company called the Malaparte Theater Company. And Ethan Hawk was my partner in it. So Brian represented Ethan in the early 90s. And he would come to the shows. And I was the producer of these theater shows. And I was like running around making sure Brian had a good seat, and that's how he met. And he's always been my mentor and helper,
Starting point is 00:36:16 and he's been absolutely instrumental in structuring and growing Blumhouse, like in an incredible way. He's been an incredible partner to us So we do the deal with Universal and often sometimes people talk about like why don't studios just cop your model They can't they're just not built to make low-budget me. It doesn't they just can't and They can do every so once every four years that happens But they can't do it five times a year like we do because you can't it's two different businesses like you said
Starting point is 00:36:43 We're just in different businesses. Anyway, I like the future my whole thing. The first movie we made was The Purge. It was a two and a half million dollar movie and there was so funny all the budget, the conversations and Jimmy Horowitz who was a senior business person at Universal, the senior business person at Universal and he's your business person at Universal, and he's been there forever. And he was very instrumental in like, putting together a deal that I could do with Universal, so I could do my thing.
Starting point is 00:37:11 And I give him a lot of credit. Him and Don, a lot of credit. They really did a thing where it's like, here's $3 million, come back with a finished movie. Because anything other than that, it just doesn't work. It would undermine the whole thing, the red tape of the system.
Starting point is 00:37:23 Yeah, it would not work, it would not work. And I remember we made the movie, we test-screened the movie, that wonderful distribution executive, Nikki Rocco, who was a great kind of famous, she was there, they all came to this screening. They just couldn't understand like a two and a half minute, how we gonna release it, and it was, luckily,
Starting point is 00:37:41 it was a big success for everybody, and that kicked off the business at Universal. Tell me about the test screenings in general. Is it good? Is it bad? What? Tell me about them. Tell me about everything about them. I love a test screening. When a director says I had a friends and family screening, I stop listening as soon as they say friends and family.
Starting point is 00:38:01 It's your friends and family. I don't have take, I take, I like very, very early on. It's good say, friends and family. It's your friends and family. I don't have take, I take, I like very, very early on. It's good to show friends and family. But then when you're ready, I love a test screening because you get just movie goers, you know, and the best test readings are out of town. We try and do a lot of ours out of town, not most, but we try and do a lot of them in Oklahoma or Arizona,
Starting point is 00:38:22 or even in Northern California, because this area is so over-tested. Anywhere within 50 miles of MLA is having a test screening almost every day. So it's just over-screened in the audience is kind of cynical. You get like the film students who are in, you know, they take the end of the first act to slow, you're like, oh my god, I can't believe this is a test screening. And I think the scores and the comments are helpful, but not that I think is take it or leave it.
Starting point is 00:38:47 Some of our most successful movies have had bad scores and we've had some great scoring movies that have not done well at all. So the scores mean less to you. The scores are not that important to me. The score just the feeling in the room? The feeling in the, you can feel. You can feel like this paranormal.
Starting point is 00:39:05 We didn't test screen until that last, but you can feel when you've got a movie and you got the audience, you could totally feel it. And you can feel when the audience is with the movie and you can feel when they're not. And you can feel when the end works and when it doesn't. Many, many of our movies don't have a release date until they're finished.
Starting point is 00:39:23 And we go, we test screen our movies a lot. And each time it's out of revisions. We're crewed revision after reshoots. We'll shoot additional material. Get out, we famously reshot the end of the movie. We had a different plot wise. Like what happened at the end was totally different in the image of our movie.
Starting point is 00:39:39 That was based on the test screening. The audience did the ending. The end was sad. And the audience loved the movie so much. Ultimately, it was up to Jordan. Of course, it was up to me. Of course. But we were there with Jordan, and the movie ended.
Starting point is 00:39:52 Usually, I'm a little more diplomatic about it, but with that movie, you could feel it. It was so good. I was like, Jordan, the movie just, the curtain went down. I think, Jordan, we gotta change the end. We gotta have a happy ending. Like, Daniel Caluia in the original version wasn't a hero. You know, I think he went up in jail and it was just like that too dark.
Starting point is 00:40:11 It's too dark and he's so good and you're love that character so much. I said, you're cheating the audience, you got to, you got to. By the way, a lot of our movies, I don't always believe you should have a happy ending, but that movie you had to. So Jordan had a brilliant idea of a scene that he reshot for the end of the movie. So cool. But I love Test Green.
Starting point is 00:40:30 He's a lot of directors don't, but I love them. We make movies. We, not all movies are made for a broad audience, but for me, the magic like we kind of talked about earlier is how do I take a subversive story and make it accessible to a super broad audience? And that, you can't do that without test screenings
Starting point is 00:40:49 in my opinion. I believe that I don't look down on the audience. I think the audience is much more interested in something challenging, maybe even hard to understand. Give me to. If it's compelling, that's what they want. They don't want the same old. They don't want what they want. They don't want the same old. No.
Starting point is 00:41:07 They don't want the same old. They don't want the same old. I don't. But that's what they get. That's what they get. That's what they don't want it. Yeah. I don't either.
Starting point is 00:41:15 None of us do. None of us do. I think it's so funny. You talk about the different way. If you just think, here's a different way to think about what we're talking about, views of the exact way you just said, if you just think about how a big expensive movie is greenlit, there's only one way to responsibly do it.
Starting point is 00:41:36 And if I was running a studio, which I never will, and I don't have any desire to do that, but I wouldn't change this particular process, because it's the only responsible way to do it. The movie costs $150 million and it's whatever. It's an action movie with these two people. You can't get that company to give you the money unless five very bright people, the head of marketing, the head of international, the head of distribution, the head of home entertainment or digital, whatever it's called, come in and say, this movie should play like these four other movies from the past five years.
Starting point is 00:42:11 If you have nothing to point back to, to compare it to, it can't get made. It can't even get past a green light. So then it's always going to be the same as it. So it's all, now when you make a movie for seven or ten or whatever, our price point is we get to say the opposite. We get to go in and say, I can't think of a single thing this is like. Let's make it. Exactly.
Starting point is 00:42:33 Which is the best. It's the most fun. We're totally different. Totally different. Now, if you make a movie for seven versus a big company making a movie for seven, how would the seven be spent differently? It's more that a big company just can't. They can't make a movie for seven.
Starting point is 00:42:52 They can't make it for seven. It's just too hard to do. There are too many people involved, too many decisions, because that's what I mean. The apparatus is set up to make it for 80 or 100. Yeah. So you can't have that apparatus. You have to be free.
Starting point is 00:43:07 You can't hold up decisions. You've got to, you, the whole approach has to be different when you make low-budget movies. So it's not that they, there is really no, like Warner Brothers, I don't know if they ever made a movie for $7 million. Only when they do a similar version to what, I don't know what Magic Mike was, but like, they give the director or the producer the money they say come back with the movie but they can't be an active producer on low-budget movies like that any studio. L-M-N-T. Element electrolytes.
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Starting point is 00:45:00 And stay salty with Element Electrolyte. L-M-N-T. How many people are at Blum House? We have like 85 people. That's a lot. It's a lot, but... And tell me what do they do? 35 are in TV, 35 are in movies, and 20 do both.
Starting point is 00:45:24 And are many of them producers? Like what would be the job titles range? The job titles was, so there's a creative group for both, which would be like, produce creative executives for TV and so they're about 10 creative executives, maybe five for each group, a little bit more for TV. But then we have, you know, because we're running the movies, we're acting like a financier, even though
Starting point is 00:45:45 sometimes it's our money, but it's usually not our money. So we have to have business affairs. We have to have lawyers. We have to have a CFO. We have accounting. We have marketing communications. So whether it's your money or not, you run the whole thing. And if we go over budget, we're on the hook because you can't ask for someone to give you the money and then say, whoops. So if you got it, if you're going to be a grown-up, you got to be a grown-up, you got to take a good with the bat. So when we're running the production, if there's a COVID shutdown, we got to fight insurance
Starting point is 00:46:14 or pay for it. How do you decide, do you decide when a project comes in, it's more right for a movie, it's more right for TV, or is that already always assumed beforehand? It's not assumed if it's like a book or an article or a remake, sometimes that could be a series too. And how often does that, do those things happen? Those examples you just gave.
Starting point is 00:46:35 Like a book, I'm seeing a book. We option 10 or 15 books or maybe 10 books or articles a year, not that much. And how many of those end up getting me? 80%. I mean, we make a lot. We have very little development that we don't. We have more in TV. Because our TV company focus like more traditional company.
Starting point is 00:46:57 The TV company, they're really what I, in my head, I think about the TV company is using the brand of the movie company to push forward stories that we like in television, but there's no equivalent because there's no back end in TV. You can't make low budget TV. I mean, I'll tell you something crazy. When we budget all the platforms, if anyone's listening, they'll humble and mumble, but everyone does this. When we budget a movie, we make it as low as we possibly can, because we get profit. When you budget the TV show, anyone who budgets the TV show, you do the opposite. When they say, what's the budget of the show?
Starting point is 00:47:29 You say, make it as expensive, it's a impossibly big. Because your paid is a percentage of how much it cost, which makes no sense for anyone. For anyone, for us, for the fee, it's a sense. But there's no version of sharing and television, so there's no incentive to make low-budget television. So we can't take our model of how we make movies and apply it to TV.
Starting point is 00:47:52 We can only take the brand, Blumhouse, and apply that to the things that we're making in TV. This is a little bit. We've talked about this a little bit. But where would you say the money is wasted in major movies? The way normal movies are made? Sure. The biggest waste movies are made. Sure. The biggest waste of the money is, like we were talking about before, is the upfront payments to producers, to directors, to writers.
Starting point is 00:48:11 They shouldn't be, we all should have equity in what we're doing, I think. Not everything, but most things. And there's a big incentive for it to perform. Of course. There's no incentive. There's no incentive. You're not alive. No, it's perform. Of course. There's no incentive. There's no one. It's just you're not alive. No, you're it's a very specific incentive The director and a traditional movie the directors been paid the directors at a test screening the directors thinking about one thing
Starting point is 00:48:34 Whether they admitted or not critics and Critics and audiences are not in sync the studios thinking about one thing too audiences The director's been paid, the director's made their thing, the director's next gig, does it depend on the box office, of course, they can't make it really, but it depends just as much if not more on the critical reviews. If the movie's 100%, or 98% and run tomatoes, even if it doesn't do that well, that director's every actor wants to work with that director. And so you set up, before the movies touched the world, two different agendas between the director
Starting point is 00:49:11 and the studio and the finance here, which is funny because it just, every conversation, it's just, everyone's talking around that, but everyone that's what's going on. And every creative, when there's a disagreement between the director and the studio, that's what it's about, Jay.
Starting point is 00:49:25 Do the critics matter as much today as they did in the past? They don't matter. I don't think they matter that much to the audience, although they still matter. Like if your movie has really been panned, that information gets out quickly, but it does really matter to the other artists. Like if you, if you've a director
Starting point is 00:49:44 and everyone hasn't liked your movie, it's going to get hard to get actors to trust you and they still matter, I think. I'm surprised in your paranormal story that that first critical reaction was such an important piece of it. It was, I would have never guessed that. Even that though, wasn't enough. I thought that was going to be like, I'll get the press. That wasn't enough.
Starting point is 00:50:02 And then when the movie came out, I think it got pretty good reviews. But reviews are more important than we all like to give people credit for. I always say the critics don't matter when a movie gets bad reviews and when the movies get good reviews, they say the critics are very important. Yeah, it seems to me word-a-mouth is the key to everything. Word-a-mouth is so important, it's the most important. Yeah. And especially because word-a-mouth now takes five seconds.
Starting point is 00:50:31 What do you think is about the horror genre? Why do we like horror movies? I don't, but why do I think? I think I get it, I get it. I think the biggest reason, there's been a million answers to that question they've all been said a million times, but this has been said before. But to me, what resonates the most is that the idea of seeing people or seeing threatening situations
Starting point is 00:50:51 that are totally within your control, get up. So you get to experience the scary situation from the safety of your theater scene. Exactly. You can turn it off, you can walk into the bathroom. And I think that is really, really profound for people. I think it really does on some level make people feel the world is safer as a result of it.
Starting point is 00:51:10 Yeah. Their lives are safer. And the normal stuff, getting a adrenaline, going on a roller coaster, jumping out of a plane. I mean, there's that too. But I think that's really secondary to the, the world is so threatening and so out of my control. Here's where I could see and experience threats up close
Starting point is 00:51:27 and control everything. That's really appealing to a big group of people, not everybody, but it's a big group. 40% of the population are so interesting. It's interesting. And how would you describe the different subgenres within horror? There's, well, I'm gonna ask your in a different way, which is there's supernatural
Starting point is 00:51:47 and realistic and gory and not gory and science fiction horror and family drama, but there's really, finally, two kinds of horror. And when you see more indie horror and when people don't understand horror, we did a movie called The Bay. Barry Levinson lives in the Chesapeake Bay and he was rightly concerned about the pollution in the Chesapeake Bay and his agent, John Burnham, at the time said, you know, you should do a horror movie about it. He said, good idea. And he wrote this movie called The Bay.
Starting point is 00:52:20 It was a great idea. It was good idea. Except for the second part. So John tells him right, or you write something over with the Bay. That's a great idea. It was good idea. It's a great idea. Except for the second part. Okay. So John tells him right away, right? So we made it. We made it the Bay. And I use this because Barry was an example of this.
Starting point is 00:52:33 And you see this a lot. If you're kind of stepping into horror without understanding it. And it's for whatever reason, I articulate this and it doesn't land. Horror is just gross. So in other words, horror is just seeing someone with a cut or their foot hanging off
Starting point is 00:52:51 or like their ear being cut off. It's just gross. And that to me, in the case of the Bay, it was like these parasites like eating people, that is not horror. That's like showing gross stuff. Horror is you're watching and you're scared. You're not grossed out.
Starting point is 00:53:10 You're not like, ugh, you're scared. Now, we have done plenty of movies where there is very violent stuff in them, but a lot of our movies, you don't, you, like invisible man, for instance, you don't see, there's very little violence. A lot of our movies are PG-13, Megan just came out as PG-13. And Megan's a less good example because Megan, there's a lot of humor, which also is an
Starting point is 00:53:33 important component to horror, but which I could talk about in a second. But what real horror does in my mind is scare the Jesus out of you. And the way that you do that, you know, if you're talking to someone who doesn't really get horror, they either say, they're just like, this isn't just going to be amazing. Like we chopped ten heads off in the first thing, right? It's like, no, that's just gross. And the other thing they'll, they'll talk about is like, if they're talking about a scare, and they're like, tell me the jump scares. Like, what are the scares? Whenever you're on my side of the desk, and someone says, what are the scares?
Starting point is 00:54:07 You know that person isn't really a horror fan, because the scares in horror movies are all the same. It's like a bird flies into the window, a door closes on its own, a light goes on. Like, the scares aren't what's original, what makes horror movies work is the story in between the scares, the drama in between the scares.
Starting point is 00:54:27 Sometimes we have a litmus test in our office when we're signing to make something like, if you take out all the set pieces, all the scary stuff, is there like a indie drama that you're on the edge of your seat? The opening of Get Out, you have this white girl and this black guy, and they're dating, you've seen a little bit of their background, and then they're in the car, right?
Starting point is 00:54:45 And then they're talking. And it's like super fraught. Like her parents are kind of racists, but she's kind of not aware of it. It's Jordan's writing, it's brilliant. And you like her and you like him, but you're like on the edge of your seat because race, it's being danced around
Starting point is 00:55:04 and you're like, uh, deer hits the window. Dears hit a window in nine million horror movies. But when that deer hits the window, you jump. You don't jump because the deer hit the window. You jump because you're so involved. Yes, yes, yes. And you're just, you're pulled in and a great director of horror knows how to pull you in
Starting point is 00:55:23 so that when you, they scare you, you jump and they don't need to show you something gross you get you jump at something tiny and uh... the Jordan pitch you that movie how did the movie come to you uh... i've talked about it too much this afternoon uh... i talked about it a lot because it it checks every box you know it's a four and a half million dollar movie it was not a movie that would have been ever made by anyone in a million years. It just, the cast was all paid with back end.
Starting point is 00:55:49 It really checks every box. That's why I brought it up a lot besides the fact that it was one of my favorite movies we ever made. He gave us the script, and a lot of people have read the script and no one wanted to make it. Just like I said, it wasn't like something. A lot of the movies that we do are not,
Starting point is 00:56:02 we have like this new spec horror movie. Like there were two or three big specs that have sold in the last eight weeks that we got and didn't bid on. It'll be interesting to see what happens with them, but I don't like chasing. I really don't like chasing. We sometimes do it.
Starting point is 00:56:18 If we believe in it and everyone else is chasing, then we do it. But I think usually more often than not, if you look at like the big IP sales, especially with relates to horror, and then the results, there's very little correlation. Yeah. I knew you're in the alternative business.
Starting point is 00:56:32 Everybody wants it. It's something's wrong with that. Something's wrong with that. Yeah, yeah. Something's wrong with that. Yeah, yeah. Two middle of the road. Two middle of the road.
Starting point is 00:56:40 Two middle of the road. Where's the line between horror and camp? Because I feel a camp camps another piece of horror. Well comedy is a crucial part of horror. Now not all of our movies have funny stuff in them, but 90% of them do. And some of them are 50%. If you look at the third paranormal activity movie, it's half jokes and half scares. If you look at happy death day activity movie, it's half jokes and half scares. If you look at happy death day, happy death day to you, this movie we, terrific movie, did called Freaky Christopher Landon is incredible at it. The insidious movies, Lee Onell,
Starting point is 00:57:15 is amazing at understanding James Wan, understanding horror's relationship to comedy, which is very specific, which is simply this. That feeling I described at that scene and get out, you can't keep the audience there, you're pulling the reins too tight, you can keep them there for a few minutes, but an audience isn't gonna stay on the edge of their seat, they're not gonna stay there, right?
Starting point is 00:57:36 So one of the ways to relax the audience so that they're even more scared is with comedy. So if you're 20 minutes into a horror movie and you have this really funny scene, which plays into the tone of the movie and is believable, can't just be tacked on there. But if people are doing funny stuff, it relaxes the audience, like,
Starting point is 00:57:57 oh, I know these people is funny. So when the scare comes, it's much more effective. It's also, this is a movie not often associated with horror, but we think about it a lot. And again, it doesn't apply to all of our movies, but most of our 80 to 90% of our horror movies have a lot of fun in them. And I think that really helps is if the movies at times feel fun. If it's just one long dark ride.
Starting point is 00:58:24 Now, there's one filmmaker that we work with who breaks that rule because I generally think one long dark ride is not very interesting. Scott Derrickson, who we did sinister with and we did a black phone with, we're going to do a sequel to black phone. He's one of the very, very few filmmakers who can just, there's like, I don't, I mean, there's a little stuff with the kids, but there's black phone, if you look at it, it's just a serious, dark movie, but it's amazing.
Starting point is 00:58:55 And it was a big hit. And to bring it back to our conversation earlier, the indie movie that was black phone was Scott's, you know, Scott had a really tough childhood, and it wasn't, it's not an autobiographical, by any stretch in terms of actual events, but in terms of his feeling and the feelings of his childhood. Like, Black Phone is really like Scott Derrickson's indie version movie of his own childhood, but it's wrapped up in like the scariest movie ever. And sinister, which we made 10 years ago with him, Ethan Hawke, who, like I said, I produced
Starting point is 00:59:32 theater with him, is a great old friend of mine. We've done many projects, we've done 10 or 12 movies and TV shows together. He really did not like horror ever. And he's like, I'm never going to do a horror movie. I try to talk him in, try to talk him in. And actually, he wanted the sinister and the approach we've done a bunch in that black phone. But I got him into it by sinister. And it was the first horror movie Ethan ever did. And the way I pitched it to him was I said, look,
Starting point is 00:59:57 and he and I share a love of indie movies. And I said, Ethan, this movie is so, stop thinking about the horror scenes in it. Sinister, the plot of Sinister is a husband and wife and the husband is a writer, he's a true crime writer and his career isn't going that well. And he moves his family into a house where this horrible thing took place
Starting point is 01:00:16 so he can write his next book about it, but the house is haunted. But he puts his own ambition in front of the safety of his family. It's great. Great. And Nathan was like, oh, I like that I like it. He met with Scott and Scott.
Starting point is 01:00:30 And that was how we got even into horror. But I went on a tangent there, but Scott can really tell a dark story for beginning to end, and it's so incredibly compelling. But we don't do that very often. Welcome to the House of Macadamias. often. 7. Link to collagen regeneration, enhanced weight management, and better fat metabolism. Macadamia's, art healthy and brain boosting fats. Macadamia's, paleo friendly, chitol and plant-based. Macadamia's, no wheat, no dairy, no gluten, no ghee M.O.'s.
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Starting point is 01:02:03 Do you pick projects based on the script or based on the filmmaker? I pick projects more based on the filmmaker. The filmmaker. So if you like someone's vision, the script is less of an issue. A hundred percent. And I think we're the only. I don't know if no one would admit that or if we're actually the only place that does that, but that's a big difference between how we choose
Starting point is 01:02:30 and how other people choose. Now, my wife would tell you that's because, my reading comprehension is terrible, which is probably true. But if I believe in the director's work, and I meet the director and I hear him talk about what he, what I just read. Yes.
Starting point is 01:02:47 Get out was a great example. Yes. I didn't read that script and be like, this is amazing. In fact, I read this script. I didn't really understand the movie, the script. Yes. And I talked to Jordan about that. And I said, there was a scene, I remember,
Starting point is 01:03:01 in our first meeting, there was a scene where it's all white people at the party, except for a few black people, and they acknowledge each other. The black people acknowledge each other, like, isn't this wild word, this party where there's three of us and a hundred white people. And I remember saying to Jordan, like, is that, do you do that?
Starting point is 01:03:18 Like, does that happen? And Jordan's like, yeah, you do that. Yeah, he's like, when you're at a party and it's all, there's two black people, you do acknowledge that. And's like, when you're departing and it's all, there's two black people. You do acknowledge that. And I remember based on that and based on the way Jordan spoke about the script, thinking screw it, let's do it. And that is the rule, not the exception.
Starting point is 01:03:37 Joel Edgerton, we did this movie. It was originally called Weirdo and then it was called The Gift. And I don't know if the script was good, but the way Joel talked about it was so compelling. And I'm much more bet on the movie side of the company, on the filmmaker, on the filmmakers vision, on the funniest story about this is Whiplash. We have a great, amazing head of production. And that's, I'm doing another unusual thing about the company company is the senior executives have been with us a long time and we really have a shorthand with each other and the person who's run the movies out of the company is a man named Cooper Samuelson
Starting point is 01:04:13 who's my creative partner and much better reader than me. And when he first started, this is a horror movie company. He brings me the script of Whiplash. I'm like, dude, what are you doing? Like, I've read the script. I didn't know. I'm like, oh, you got a drummer. Like, oh, I don't know. I guess.
Starting point is 01:04:34 I have no idea, but it's not a horror movie. So we're not making it. So Cooper was very, very smart guy. And Cooper knew that Jason Reitman was one of my favorite directors 10 or 15 years ago in Everwick, Wplash. And he kind of quietly gave the script to Jason Wrightman and Jason Wright. He got him to read it miraculously. He knew a woman who worked for Jason and Jason said, I'll produce it and Cooper came kind of bowing into my office and said, do you want to partner with Jason Wrightman?
Starting point is 01:04:57 I never met Jason Wrightman. He was just admired him. Yeah. I want to partner with him. Of course. He's amazing. Of course. And so we did Whiplash and that had everything to do talking about people with Jason
Starting point is 01:05:09 Wrightman. You know, the director hadn't done anything. And I don't, like I said, I don't know, what do you think? Do you think I'm alone in that? Do you think people just don't like to admit that? Because you want to sound like, oh, I read this, I always wonder like, do people want to say, I knew when I read the script, so they don't admit it.
Starting point is 01:05:26 When I read the script, I've not read many scripts because I feel like when I read the script, I have no idea what that movie is. It could be anything. It's so hard. It could be anything. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, I've been doing it for years and I still,
Starting point is 01:05:39 it's like a blueprint for something. Some say. Yeah, I would always, even with music videos, back in the days of music videos, I would always do it based on the person's other work. If the person's other work was great, and if they had an idea they felt strongly about. Great, that's what we do.
Starting point is 01:05:57 That's what we do. That's what we do. Same. That's what we do. That's interesting. Yeah. Yeah. I think it's hard on people's ego to say that,
Starting point is 01:06:05 because I think that ego, there's some pride in like, I read it and I knew. Really? I think so. Maybe that's so wild. I think that's why. I think that's why people want to be like, I recognize a great story, no matter who wrote it.
Starting point is 01:06:20 I think there's, I don't care. It doesn't matter, you don't get any credit for it. You don't get any, and for anything, all of the ego-based stuff, you don't care. It doesn't matter. You don't get any credit for it. You don't get any, and for anything, all of the ego-based stuff you don't get credit for. No. All that matters is you make something good, you make something you love, but other people like it, win.
Starting point is 01:06:34 Great. Everybody wins. Exactly. It doesn't matter how or why. Who did what? It doesn't matter. Not at all, but that's such a, it's such a funny thing. It seems so obvious.
Starting point is 01:06:43 It seems so obvious. it seems so obvious seems so obvious is there ever a Topic too hot to touch in a movie Too controversial now. I don't think if you have an inventive Director there is we did a movie called the hunt which in which goes in my top three kind of biggest regrets and Not in my life in my professional life, which is inevitable if you produce any amount of anything, which is when you make something that you think
Starting point is 01:07:11 is just so great and it doesn't connect. And in this case, this was on the way to connecting and Trump tweeted about it. So we had to stop, it was a huge thing. And tell me the story. I don't know the story at all. And tell me what the film's about. Damon Lindelof and Nick Cruz and Craig Zobel made a movie called The Hunt, which was
Starting point is 01:07:31 about liberals shooting red-state people for sport. And it was a comment on, it wasn't pro- or pro blue clearly it was a comment on the divided in this in America a very hot topic it was when Trump was president and it was the opposite of like a Hollywood liberal play it was it really wasn't that and it wasn't either it wasn't Yellowstone either it was like really trying to like comment on just how insane the dialogue on both extremes had gotten. That's what it was about. Which if you started a pitch to me like that right now, I'd say you can't make a movie like this, but these guys came up with a brilliant, brilliant idea. It was so good.
Starting point is 01:08:18 And then what breaks your heart more is sometimes you come up with a great idea and the execution isn't great, but the execution is perfect. Wow, perfect. And the movie is testing and it tests exactly like we wanted to and the audience is exacting right. And everything is great. And the marketing is perfect. And the movie we're marching towards the release of the movie and we have three on the way a movie is distributed about three months before the theatrical release, the marketing starts to seep into the culture. Again, totally different than streaming, but on a theatrical movie, three months, two months,
Starting point is 01:08:52 and real money starts to get spent eight weeks, six weeks, four weeks, real money, real, real big money in buying TV spots and all the other stuff. And this is going, everything is going to go right. It's going to be a hit movie and my dream kind of hit movie because not just financial success, but it's going to touch culture in a way that you really hope. And in this case, I'll just call her out. My dear friend Kim Masters wrote a story and hadn't read the script.
Starting point is 01:09:21 And the story implied she hadn't didn't know what the story of the movie was. And she did whatever I didn't heard a fan she said she'd know when responded to, I don't know what that'll happen. Anyway, she wrote a story that didn't represent what the movie was and somehow that got picked up and picked up and picked up and Trump tweeted like something very derogatory about the hunt being being a Hollywood liberal thing, which it was not. But then Trump followers said we hate Hollywood and anyone that I was ending to do with the time where the hunt were gonna threaten you. So they threatened me and they threatened Donna who runs the studio and it
Starting point is 01:10:03 was all based on a misunderstanding. The movie was actually made about this particular thing and it wasn't a liberal movie at all. But the decision, it looked like the people in the theme parks, the universal theme parks like there were bomb scares for the theme parks. Wow. And when that happened, it was Universal's decision. And I think it was the right decision because it's only a movie. It's not worth risking people's lives, real lives, and they pulled it off the schedule.
Starting point is 01:10:32 And then when a movie comes off the schedule so close to release, it has a taint on it. So then it was re-released, but when it was re-released, the marketing for the movie, which applies to everything that we just said, the movie was being marketed as a great scary genre movie about people hunting people. Like that's how you have people to see it. But then we had to change it to market it like a satire,
Starting point is 01:10:55 which is what it really was. But no one wants to go see a satire. So the movie bombed and it broke my heart. But you asked me if there's any topic that's too much. Oh yeah, too much. And I think it depends on the artist, but I don't think there's any topic too much. Do you?
Starting point is 01:11:11 No. No, I don't think so. No, not at all. I like the idea of the most interesting things are challenging. And if you can find a way to make something challenging that really gets people to think, that's what we're here for.
Starting point is 01:11:23 Totally, totally. I agree with that. Nothing is black and white. You think, that's what we're here for. Totally, totally, I agree with that. Nothing is black and white, you know, it's all, we're dealing in so many shades of grace, just interesting to see, well, I never thought of it like that. You know, I never thought of it like that. Yeah, yeah, I agree. That's a wild story.
Starting point is 01:11:38 It was an amazing year that year, and the actress, those terrific, her name was Betty Gilpen, and she's a great actress. It was gonna be a big thing. It was going to be a big thing. It was really, I've had a couple of those. I'm sure you've had them too. It gets so frustrating when you're so close.
Starting point is 01:11:52 I love that you're as passionate about it as you are after doing it as long as you have. I am so passionate about it. It's great. It's a good sign. You're doing the right thing. You found the right job. I did definitely find the right job. I'm very grateful for that. Content wise, the difference between TV and movies as it relates to content, is there a difference? Should
Starting point is 01:12:17 there be a difference? What goes where and why? Well, I'll tell you the pandemic and the recent events have totally changed my thinking on this. If you listened to an interview of me from five years ago, I would have said, yeah, it doesn't matter. Once, two hours, once, it's told over a long period of time. It's the same thing. I now have a totally different point of view
Starting point is 01:12:35 because we were all fed TV for so long and the movies were taken away. So of course, your point of view changes. I think content-wise, they are completely different. And I think that a movie is much more dependent on marketing, so especially now, because most streamers market minimally or not at all, so a movie you can't do that. You have to have very substantial marketing.
Starting point is 01:13:01 So a movie you have to have an idea that can be sold in 15 or 30 seconds. Like, I think that you kind of have to have that. And that's good or bad, but it's just a fact. Have there been any big movies post-pandemic? There have been big movies. Topken was a really big movie. There was Spider-Man during the pandemic. Avatar, the second Avatar was huge. It was bigger than it was huge movie, but that's commercially financially. Have there been culturally impactful movies since the pandemic? I would say no.
Starting point is 01:13:31 Now, can there be a lot of people would beg to disagree with me? No, but can there be? I have a theory. I'm very curious to your theory about this. I have a theory that COVID crushed the soul of artists in some way. And we're seeing the result and it's tapering off, but television business, the movie is particularly like, I think not interacting with each other in the world,
Starting point is 01:13:57 surprise, surprise, was really not good for the beautiful artists in the world. And the work, not good for anyone. Not good for anybody. It's terrible for all of us, beautiful artists in the world. And the work. Not good for anyone. Not good for anybody. It's terrible for all of us. But the art that was created, at least in my view, in my world,
Starting point is 01:14:11 really suffered. And I think it's going, I definitely think it's coming back. But I think you can't stare at your phone all day long and then create. That's not, don't, would you say the same? I mean, do you think that happened in music or not? And I'm curious.
Starting point is 01:14:26 I don't know, I'm curious. And I'd love to see, you know, a breakthrough movie where all my friends like, you have to go see this movie, you have to see it in the theater. I would love that to happen. And it has. The last movie that I saw in the theater was Quentin Tarantino's last movie.
Starting point is 01:14:39 And I loved it. It was amazing. I love it. It was amazing. He's one of our great artists. And how classy is it? Yeah. And I barely know him and I have no reason to kiss his ass.
Starting point is 01:14:52 I just think if he sticks to it, I have so much deep profound respect for someone who says, I'm making ten of these and I'm out. Yeah, I have mixed feelings. Why? Because I want more. And so just as a consumer, you're a fan. I'm a fan.
Starting point is 01:15:13 Why are you taking it away? You can still do it. I do too, but I will subvert that just because I think it's so, if he does it, it's so elegant. You know, I've been thinking, I, someone, I was at a dinner for, we have a kind of a mentorship program of, it's called Scream Writers, so young people who want to write Scaring movies. And I was asked a question, like, what have you, haven't you done in movie or TV that,
Starting point is 01:15:39 that you would like to still do, right? I, you used to be an Oscar, but I don't, it's not on a bucket list anymore. It's, I love to do it. I live in, but it's not like, when I was 40, it's all I could think do, right? You used to be an Oscar, but it's not on a bucket list anymore, it's, I'd love to do a living, but it's not like when I was 40, it's all I could think about, right? And I said, a graceful exit. I have not achieved a graceful exit. And I think probably every business,
Starting point is 01:15:57 that's nice. But certainly the movie and TV business, it seems hard for anyone to kind of have a graceful exit. And I just admire Quinn if he does of have a graceful exit. And I just admire Quinn. If he does it, a graceful exit. It's so elegant to me. I can't wait for the next one. Well, he's got one more.
Starting point is 01:16:13 Yeah. He's got one more. And yeah. So you said you think of movies and TV content-wise as different things. What's different? Why is it different? Well, on a fundamental level, a television streaming
Starting point is 01:16:24 multi-part is much more character-based than a movie is much more plot based. A movie you have to hit 20 points, you have a beginning, middle, and end, and that's what movies are really about is moving the plot forward, much less about getting to know the people, and television is about trying to get the audience to really intimately connect with who someone is, because they have the real estate, they have the time to do that. So that's fundamentally the difference.
Starting point is 01:16:52 Have there been any horror based series on TV? There been a few. Mike Flanagan is probably the shining star. He's someone we've worked with a lot. He's a terrific filmmaker also, the haunting of Hill House, and he's done a couple others. Actually, there's 2B Blue to it. Him and Ryan Murphy does it incredibly well.
Starting point is 01:17:12 But it's much harder. It's virtually impossible to really scare someone on TV. First of all, you're watching in your bedroom, you're on Twitter, you're kind of, or whatever, you're distracted. Distracted. The lights are on. and second of all, it breaks and third of all, you're trying to make
Starting point is 01:17:29 the story longer, so you can't properly scare someone with it, you can freak them out, the watcher, you can disturb them, but you can't really make them jump out of a chair like you can in a movie. Tell me about the state of the independent movie business, current state. Let's see, the current state of the independent movie business, you know, as much as the tendency is to say,
Starting point is 01:17:53 like, oh, it's so much better because of streaming or oh, it's so much worse or oh, it's so much different, it's fundamentally been the same for the 30 years I've been doing this, which is that it's a very, it's a fascinating business, it exists to whole, it's own ecosystem, it's only probably less than 10% of the market, so less than 10% of the movies
Starting point is 01:18:17 that any people see, well less than 10% are actually indie movies, but yet, Sundance, I'm on the board of Sundance, I love Sundance. Has that been the case for the 30 years? Yeah, it's always. Is that gonna see Star Wars? They're not gonna see any, but in New York and LA, that's what everybody talks about, these indie movies,
Starting point is 01:18:35 but they have such a small place in the ecosystem of the overall movie business, but you don't take that in when you're living in LA or living in New York, which I think is interesting. And it's a wild business because the movie business attracts capital from dull different play. Mewsly rich people who want to play in the movie business, and there always been a terrible investment and they still are.
Starting point is 01:18:57 But five times a year, one sells for a lot of money and it keeps it going. You know, and the Sundance this year is not that difference than Sundance 15 years ago. The dollars are higher, but it's kind of the same. You ever surprised by what ends up being commercial? Am I surprised by what ends up being commercial? I think you feel like, oh, this is not commercial. No one's going to like it. And then it really works. I mean, yes, for sure. That's happened. I'm just trying to think of the examples. I mean, it really works. And it really works. Yeah. I mean, yes, for sure, that's happened. I'm just trying to think of the examples. I mean, of course, that happens all the time.
Starting point is 01:19:29 In Citius II, for instance, opened to three times. The first in Citius opened to like 15 and the next in Citius opened to $42 million. I thought the movie was same director. I thought the movie was very good. I didn't, I was shocking that it was that successful. And yeah, the movie business, that's what's so fun about it is.
Starting point is 01:19:49 The movie business continually surprises. Split, M Night, Shyamalan's second movie we did. We did a movie with him called The Visit. And then we made this movie with him called Split. Split's our highest or second highest grossing movie of all time. Movie's terrific, it's amazing. I was at Sundance when it came out. It was, it's Sundance when it came out,
Starting point is 01:20:05 it did, it did $2 million on Thursday night, which on Thursday night everyone is a kind of important night, but it's indicative of nothing. It's just, there's a lot of pressure on it, but it really, it doesn't, and I remember I talked tonight on Friday and he said, look Jason, I have a theory that a movie does $2 million on a Thursday, it's a 20 multiple for the weekend.
Starting point is 01:20:25 And I remember thinking like, you're insane, dude. Your movie's never done. Come Sunday, it did $40 million. Wow. So the answer is yes. Wow. That's amazing. It's fun, not part of the business.
Starting point is 01:20:38 It's fun. How did you end up in business with him? Because he had done big budget mainstream movies before working with you. That's kind of a good story too. We did three movies with him. We did the visit. We did a split and we did glass. And there I told you paranormal activity was finished when we came on it and there were two other movies that we did like that. The visit was the second and this other movie called Unfriended was the third again, but the best way to get made is to
Starting point is 01:21:01 produce a movie. I'll tell you, so I went to Philadelphia well before the visit. Night lives in Pennsylvania outside of Philly. I went to his camp. I pitched him Blum House. I said, you gotta work with us. I pitched everything that I pitched you here today. Low budget creative freedom.
Starting point is 01:21:18 Madden, madden, madden, madden, all the great things. I had a rip sweater. He always makes fun that I had a hole in my sweater. And I went back. I never heard from him again. Two years goes by, calls me. He says, I did it. He said, what do you mean? He said, I did everything you said.
Starting point is 01:21:32 I said, but what about with us? He said, no, I didn't do it with you. I did it by myself. I don't need you. I did it by myself. I put up my own $5 million. Why do I need your $5 million, which was hilarious? I said, great.
Starting point is 01:21:42 I said, good for you. I mean, you know, congrats. He said, well, now no one will buy the movie. I said, well, you should have done it with us. I said, let me see the movie. And the movie, it was then called, Sundowning, was the visit. And the visit was a similar thing as paranormal. I mean, it was similar.
Starting point is 01:21:59 Everyone kind of saw it. Everyone had passed on it. And I watched it, and I loved it, and I said, there's a great movie in here, and he rejigged it a lot, and we did it with Universal, and it was a big success. Now that you've had the success that you've had with Universal over this period of time, are they more open to your... Universalism, they're the exact opposite of my early other studio days.
Starting point is 01:22:26 They're amazing partners. They'll go with... But now, do they look at you? Wildfangled drinks. Do they look at you the way you look at a filmmaker who makes something you like and you trust? Is that the nature of the relationship? 100%. That's the best solution. By the way, most things that I give them, the quiet conversation I have is,
Starting point is 01:22:43 can you please not make this? Like, no, I'm making it. In a funny kind of way. That's great. But they are incredible partners. If I, if I, anything that I really wanna do, you know, they pretty, they pretty much do. And they, our deal is not exclusive with them.
Starting point is 01:22:58 So some things we do with other people. And I almost encourage them. I'm like, guys, if you don't get this, don't worry about it. Like I'll make it, I have it. We have a good arrangement with Sony and we have a couple movies coming out this summer with Sony and it's a very great shorthand.
Starting point is 01:23:12 And I just, to your point, and you will understand this better than anybody, but like it, my company wouldn't work without that. It just wouldn't work. Yeah, it just wouldn't be fun. It wouldn't be fun. You have to start from scratch after doing this so long as not worth it. It's just not so fun. Absolutely. You have to start from scratch after doing this so long.
Starting point is 01:23:25 It's not worth it. It's not so fun. Absolutely. You get to focus on the part that's interesting to you. Yeah. And they get to do the other part that they're good at. That they're great at. Yeah.
Starting point is 01:23:35 Yeah. It's good. Are there more independent producers who work the way you work? I don't know very much about the film business. No. It sounds like the perfect model. It's a perfect model for me. It's not perfect for everyone. Producers who make bigger event movies will do small movies as like a hustle, as like a little side business, which occasionally works, but it's not. It's very different than
Starting point is 01:24:01 if that's the guys who did smile. Very jealous. I wish we made it. We didn't make it. Great producers, fantastic producers, but they mostly make big movies. So they did great with smile and God bless them and it was a huge success. But it's a one-off and it's our business. So that's very different because it's not sexy to make cheap movies. It's not just for reasons I talked about at the beginning of the podcast. Like, oh, there's this crazy golden rule. I'm producing a $150 million movie like somehow.
Starting point is 01:24:30 It makes no sense to me. I know, but that's good for my business because that's what everybody chases. So, that's what the priorities at the studio, at the agencies, we have the DC movie, a Marvel movie, that's what people chase. It's good for us. And then there are indie producers who are definitely making low budget movies, but those movies are really targeted for that independent market that we talked about. So really a company that's solely on our movie business, solely focused on low budget studio movies, there isn't really anyone else doing that. In talking about the Indie movie world, there are these hundreds of pictures made that have no home.
Starting point is 01:25:12 Yes. How do those get made? What's the thinking that allows hundreds of movies to get made with no idea how they're ever going to get out? It's the most amazing part of our business. It gets made because a little bit of, what I was referring to is there's this kind of two things. There's a sex appeal to the movie business
Starting point is 01:25:33 that attracts people with money and that's one thing. But the second thing is you read about the successes, you don't read about the failures, you read what you read about is the 10 movies that Sundance that sold for 10 figures. You know, Sund programs, 150 movies. There are 150 new movies at Sundance. They've chosen from like 5,000.
Starting point is 01:25:54 Wow. It's crazy how many movies they got. We're coming from. They just get made, they get cobbled together and everyone has a dream. It's like buying a lot of ticket. Why do all these people buy a lot of tickets when no one wins?
Starting point is 01:26:06 It's a similar, you know, and people. I guess now also technologically, you can make a movie with your phone. You can make a movie with your laptop. Very inexpensively. But it's kind of says this amazing thing about like who we are, right, that this, just, and it's all over the world. Movies come from Africa, Germany, and Russia,
Starting point is 01:26:25 and just so many, and we're just, we just, people go out and they just do it. You know, I think it's amazing. It's the best. Yeah, it's great. It's great. All right, good. Well, thank you so much for doing this.
Starting point is 01:26:35 Thank you. you

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