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“admit nothing”

"admit nothing"


In the wake of the aforementioned Mark Gill column, I’ve thought about Barry Levinson‘s $20 million independent production “What Just Happened” more than once (recently unveiled one-sheet above). How fascinating that the film was supposed to take Sundance ’08 by storm, but then never sold. I don’t recall anyone calling the film a flop, but none of the buyers I spoke with were passionate enough about the movie to take the leap. GreenCine surveyed the early reactions shortly after the film’s Sundance debut.

As iW reported back in Cannes where the film closed the fest: Mark Cuban, Todd Wagner and the WJH team wisely took the film in-house to their Magnolia Pictures arm, with former New Line exec Russell Schwartz on board to guide the release. Note that the one-sheet includes laurels touting the film’s Cannes appearance, but no mention of Sundance…

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Perfect question.

Its independent in the sense that it was financed outside the traditional Hollywood studio system. And then went in search of distribution, which didn’t happen.

In many ways, the “independent film crisis” that Mark Gill is referring to involves many of these bigger budget “independent” productions financed outside of the studios.

That is getting rather muddled in with the real “indies,” which is a whole other evolving matter.


Question: how can a $20 million movie really be considered independent? Did Levinson finance it himself, like Hitchcock with Psycho?

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