In a Hollywood, it seems the studios make all the money and the filmmakers receive little outside of recognition when it comes to the big box office totals. However, a few select filmmakers have bucked the trend over the years. One of these filmmakers is Richard Linklater, who just took a huge chance with his latest movie, the critical darling “Boyhood.”
Linklater filmed “Boyhood” over a 12-year period, showcasing a young boy as he grew into a man. Not only was this a risky proposition for the director of “Dazed and Confused,” but it was also risky because Linklater chose not to take a lump payment with a promise of points, something that studios often fudge the numbers on to keep from paying.
Instead, Linklater worked out a deal with IFC so that he is actually a part-owner of the film and also it’s copyright. Instead of just working a deal where he just gets points, Linklater has a say in where and how the movie is released, meaning he chooses who the movie is sold to and for how much. This means that he can control how much money he makes in the end. This isn’t new either. Here are three other cases of filmmakers who took an ownership of their movie and how that worked out for them.
George Lucas, “Star Wars”
When George Lucas made “Star Wars,” he was having trouble convincing studios to buy into the idea. He ended up offering to keep his salary for directing the film to a low $150,000 in exchange for two things – merchandise rights and he retained the rights to any sequel from the movie. As a result, after “Star Wars” was a monster success, Lucas not only owned the franchise outright but he also made money for the uncountable toys and games that resulted over the years. His smart business sense made him a billionaire.
Mel Gibson, “Passion of the Christ”
Mel Gibson was already rich and very successful when he set out to make his religious epic “The Passion of the Christ.” Instead of producing the film through a major studio, Gibson made it as an independent film and put his own money into it. What was seen as a major risk, as Gibson spent about $45 million of his own money to make it, worked out well for the director. When he couldn’t find a good distributor, he distributed it himself with Newmarket Films, promoted it through churches and religious organizations, and the movie ended up making over $600 million worldwide.