Thursday, January 19, 2006

The big business of being Indie

It's Sundance time and of course the question on everyone's mind is how much free shit will Paris Hilton get? Oh yeah, there are some movies too. Mostly though there are movie executives, "all chasing the same holy grail: accessibly entertaining, low-budget, high-quality movies with known stars and indie cred. And besides the usual suspects, there are new alternative releasing partners on the scene -- from Google to Starbucks to Netflix -- adding to the demand." So good luck finding something.

It doesn't help that movie people can get it all so very wrong. Last year, "'March of the Penguins' barely registered on the Sundance radar until Warner Independent Pictures swiftly closed a deal...and re-edited it into an English-language version; it then grossed more than $77 million."

All the while John Crudele is, with strange and unseemly delight, predicting the end of movie theaters. He might want to tap the brake there. Mark Cuban, who's thought this movie thing through, said yesterday on SquawkBox that movie theaters can best survive by specializing -- teen movie houses, arty movie houses, gay cowboy movie houses. And that seems right. If you can keep teens -- who don't care so much for your dialogue and character development -- separate from everybody else, you might be onto something.

But SquawkBox? With no Mark Haines, they're dead to me now.

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