Goodbye, Bargains

While Hollywood agencies and studios combed the Sundance Film Festival last week for the next wave of filmmakers who could make compelling movies on the cheap, the real finds don’t stay inexpensive for long. The town is talking about the prospectus for “From Dusk to Dawn,” the recently reported screen collaboration of Sundance Film Fest heroes Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez.

Every studio in Hollywood wants to be in biz with Tarantino, maker of the $8 million “Pulp Fiction,” and Rodriguez, whose $7,000 comedy “El Mariachi” made him a Sundance legend. The budget on “Dusk,” a pic about robbers who battle vampires, is a seemingly reasonable $17 million, but execs are talking about the high salaries. There’s a $2.35 million upfront salary for both Rodriguez, who’ll direct and exec produce, and Tarantino, who’ll exec produce and rewrite his script.

The prices go up if either acts in the film. Also included is first-dollar gross backend participation that starts at 15%, escalates to 35% of gross after $70 million and 40% of gross after $80 million. That money gets split between Rodriguez, Tarantino and producers Meir Teper and Gianni Nunnari, who’ll also get $1.2 million upfront for producing, with Tarantino’s producer Lawrence Bender pocketing $500,000 upfront.

The filmmakers keep soundtrack rights and Rodriguez also gets final cut. Oh, yeah, and there’s $1.5 million set aside for the as-yet-undetermined stars.

It’s dawned on some wary buyers that “Dusk” will have to do “Pulp”-business to turn a profit at these rates. Somebody will doubtless make a deal for the film, but some feel it won’t be at these prices.

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