Inside Move: ‘Monster’ mash

Media 8 stepped lively for pic

Somewhat lost in the hubbub over Charlize Theron‘s career-catapulting success with “Monster” has been the film’s all-important backing by a relatively modest investor.

Media 8, formerly known as MDP Worldwide, provided the $8 million in production funding and several million more in prints and ads for the Oscar-winning serial-killer drama.

Clark Peterson, a producer assigned by Media 8 to the Newmarket-distribbed pic, tried to secure P&A money elsewhere to no avail. But the funding of production by Media 8 was well in line with the film company’s operating practices.

“If we like a particular project, we will greenlight it without any presales,” explains Richard Kiratsoulis, a Media 8 principal.

Other principals include Stewart Hall, who like Kiratsoulis comes from a non-Hollywood business background, and indie vet Mark Damon. Other current Media 8 productions similarly lensed without presales include Kevin CostnerJoan Allen starrer “The Upside of Anger” and teen drama “Havoc,” both unslotted 2004 titles.

Vidtailer Blockbuster also helped things along on “Monster” — when studio execs around town were passing — by licensing North American homevid and TV rights. Media 8 got a minimum guarantee in that transaction, with the prospect of additional income should the title take off in homevid.

Pic’s on target theatrically to ring up $35 million in domestic box office, and early foreign grosses have been similarly promising. Execs at Media 8 say only that they expect to reap a healthy cut of the domestic B.O. after banking a goodly sum from foreign sales once production wrapped.

“What really is going to make the ultimate determination on profitability is the homevideo,” Kiratsoulis says. “We’re assured profitability, the question is whether it will be big or it will be little. Right now, we anticipate the video sales will be significant, but you never know.”

And while he allows that the company’s big gamble on the little arthouser has already paid off, “It won’t be like pulling three 7s on a slot machine. It may be three cherries.”

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