For $20,000, the Hollywood script doctor will see you
Hollywood may be on track to have the biggest summer in box-office history, but not without several big flops.
Meanwhile, "Elysium," starring Matt Damon and from the director of "District 9," was the king this weekend, selling a satisfying $30.5 million of tickets domestically.
The hit-and-miss equation has changed the game of producing films.
"Getting a film financed—people used to tell me that's a miracle in itself," he said. "I now understand why. Studios have dismantled all the apparatus they've had for creating and financing specialty films, which has left a gaping hole in the market for all those films we love to see but have a tough time raising money," he said, adding that it applies even to movies such as "Lincoln."
"Even Steven Spielberg is complaining, and when Spielberg is complaining, that's bad for everybody," Paternot said.
Studios have become more cautious about green-lighting projects, and that is where Worldwide Motion Picture Group comes in. The company, whose clients range from production companies, to financiers, to writers charges up to $20,000 to use previous box-office data to gauge a film's potential—often just based on the screenplay. Recent projects include "District 9" and "Oz."
"You don't want everything to be cookie cutter, but there's something to be learned from audience response when you're looking at research screenings or testing marketing materials," said Worldwide CEO Vincent Bruzzese. "There's a fine line between art and commerce, but I don't think that the goals are mutually exclusive."
A decline in DVD sales is ultimately to blame for studios being more hungry for blockbusters than midrange films, he said.
While $20,000 may seem like a big chunk of change for someone to tell you how good, or perhaps bad your script is, when thinking about $190 million loss from a film like, "Lone Ranger," the upfront R&D cost hardly seems unreasonable.