Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Twilight Time for Hollywood Stars

The success of the TWILIGHT movie is considered a very very bad omen for the Big Budget stars that have made so much money selling their wares to Hollywood. TWILIGHT is in many ways an enigma. It's a cult favorite amongst women ages 13 to 50. And as a feature film, it has successfully tapped into that demographic and expanded it to create a large audience for the film. Because of the loyalty the fans have to the subject matter and story, the books and films are enjoying cross over marketing and repeat business. I myself walked past the local theater, to watch one packed out audience leave the theater, turn right around and buy more tickets for the late show.

The phenomenon even has a nickname, "The Twilight Zone". However, we've seen this rabid female fanbase churn out their money before in mild ways for "The Bridges of Madison County" and infamously for, "Titanic". This is the story you probably know from the news.

There is another story however buried underneath. With SAG being difficult to sign a deal, Hollywood moguls are actually contemplating behind closed doors a complete bankruptcy of the Union all together. They have been discussing what life would be like without SAG and all the high priced stars and agents that come with the Union.

The Logic right now is that a Big Star generates publicity, which in turn translates into box office dollars. This why actors like Angelina Jolie and Jim Carey make well over 20 million a picture. They're agents know that they tend to delivery a box office bonanza every time. Hence it's worth the investment to the producers.

However, you can bet the Hollywood Moguls hate all the courtship, ego and drama associated with big name actors. Most of all, they hate writing that fat check too. So, for the past 8 years, they have been laying ground work to completely disenfranchise their product from the need to have big stars.

A new story is hard to sell to an audience. That's why having a big star can help. So, if you do not want to rely on a big star, you need to find a very popular old story to sell. Twilight is a perfect example of taking a well established product (er... Story) and using unknown talent at a cheap rate to make a big profit. This is nothing new. The Harry Potter kids know full well, that they are paid a fraction of what a major star would make, but they also understand that the Harry Potter movies have made them. Without those pictures, they're just... kids.

The moguls have begun to explore the idea of taking this model and applying it to their Tent Pole franchises. There is a reason why smaller stars at cheaper quotes are being tapped for big roles in movies like the latest Superman remake. This is going to be the new model for big budget movies and unfortunately, litttle by little, the big Stars will start losing out on the big piece of the pie.

No comments: