It seems arthouse nerds found their new Harvey Weinstein in the young hotshot Megan Ellison. The newbie financier made huge waves this year throwing her weight (and cash) behind a number of high profile projects including John Hillcoat‘s “The Wettest County,” Kathryn Bigelow‘s “Kill Bin Laden,” Paul Thomas Anderson‘s “Inherent Vice” and his project formerly known as “The Master” in addition to landing Wong Kar-Wai’s forthcoming “The Grand Master.” Not too bad. And while we wish she could sit around financing our dream indie projects all day long, the truth of the matter is, those films take a long time to earn back their investment and generally don’t do big box office. So while it’s still somewhat surprising, it’s not too much of a shocker that Ellison is now looking to back a major franchise.
Deadline reports a major battle has erupted between Ellison and Lionsgate who are both dealing for the rights to the film. The distributor ponied up $29.5 million — with a guaranteed payment of half up front — but Ellison has apparently put in a higher bid, however, she doesn’t have a distributor behind her (though finding a partner wouldn’t be that difficult). The film has Justin Lin attached to direct, and while it’s looking more likely that Arnie will show his emotions in “Cry Macho,” first let’s be honest, everyone wants this guy to come back, snarl some one liners and blow some fucking shit up.
So why is the pricetag on this movie so high? As you might recall, back in early 2010 hedge fund company Pacificor picked up the rights to the franchise for $29.5 million dollars (the exact amount Lionsgate is offering). However, in a complicated deal, former rights holders Halcyon are entitled to payments for any deal made above that figure. This is why everyone hates Hollywood accounting. But as potentially costly as this is — $30 million or more just to get the rights plus, let’s assume, $150 million to make the movie — of any of the potential next Arnie movies, this is only guaranteed to pretty much make mad bank.
A deal on all this is expected to close shortly at Cannes, so who will win: the little producer that could or the big distributing giant? Log in to Skynet to find out more….