As a teenage video-store clerk in the mid-1990s, I would often witness and appreciate the industry of straight-to-DVD, B-movies out to cash in on the foundations already laid by Hollywood blockbusters. Never would this seem more tangible, than in recent years, with the advent of “mockbusters,” films hoping to capitalize on current major releases, with smaller-budgeted and like-minded, product. At Cannes this May, I saw the poster for Transmorphers, a blatant spin on the upcoming release of Transformers. I knew this industry was here to stay, yet I had no idea some of these films were made by one company, Asylum. For Sunday’s New York Times, writer Rolf Potts takes a look at this company, Asylum, and what they have in store for the future. From the Times article:
“Transmorphers” had its own kind of success, earning back its meager production costs in less than three months. Created by a company called the Asylum, “Transmorphers” was only the latest in a string of cheaply made straight-to-DVD “mockbusters.” In 2006, the Asylum released “The Da Vinci Treasure” and “Snakes on a Train” on DVD just as “The Da Vinci Code” and “Snakes on a Plane” were hitting theaters. Those films, Asylum says, turned a profit, too. At a time when digital cameras, computer editing and online video enable D.I.Y. auteurs to compete with B-movie studios, the Asylum has nonetheless become a self-sustaining success story.
The Asylum office occupies both floors of a small brick building in Hollywood, across the street from a cement factory. On the day I visited, the office was doubling as a set for “Alien v. Hunter,” which was being rushed into production to correspond with the Christmas release of 20th Century Fox’s “Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem.”