×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Trouble for mid-budget pics?

PGA panel says films in $20 to $60 mil range 'endangered'

The mid-budget movie — largely abandoned by the six major Hollywood studios — is becoming increasingly difficult to bring to life for producers.

That was the consensus from panelists at the “Small World: The Challenges of Global Production” panel at the Producers Guild of America’s “Produced By” conference Saturday at Sony Studios.

Hyde Park topper Ashok Amritraj asserted that films with budgets from $20 million to $60 million are “endangered” while noting his banner has produced titles in that range such as “Ghost Rider” and “Shopgirl.”

“If you’re passionate about a film, there’s always a way to get it made,” he added.

Panelist Walter Parkes noted that margins have become so tight that studios that it’s far less likely that they would take a chance on 1999’s “American Beauty,” which DreamWorks financed for $60 million in the wake of soaring home video revenues while Parkes was production chief.

Popular on Variety

“The business was rolling in dough so we said ‘let’s take a shot,'” he recalled. “If we had that now, we’d have to pre-sell the foreign rights — which doesn’t help a passion project.”

Jon Jashni of Legendary Entertainment said conditions have become so complex that producers need to see each film as unique in terms of financing. “Each project is its own single-purpose company,” he added.

Jashni is a producer on Ed Zwick’s historical drama “The Great Wall,” the first film from the Legendary East banner launched by Thomas Tull and Asian investors, with the goal of producing one or two event films a year. He said the Chinese want such pics involving foreign investment to be exportable or what he termed “China viable” rather than “China centric.”

Graham King stressed to the audience of several hundred that script matters more than any other element — noting that he’s worked multiple times with John Logan (“Hugo”) and William Monahan (“The Departed”).

“If you have a great script, you’ll get your film made,” he added.

More Film

  • 700700 + Ted Turner Dedication. December

    Ted Turner Tributes Established With WarnerMedia Gift to University of Georgia

    WarnerMedia has established a scholarship, internship program and exhibition hall at the University of Georgia to be named after maverick media mogul Ted Turner. The company has gifted $550,000 to the university to create the Ted Turner Scholarship Fund, for students attending the school’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, which is also the [...]

  • Golden Globes nominations predictions

    Golden Globes 2020 Predictions: What Movies and TV Shows Might Nab Nominations?

    Awards season kicks into higher gear on Monday, as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announces nominations for its 2020 Golden Globe Awards, which cover the 2019 calendar year. Noms will give certain films momentum heading into the Oscar race, while it’s the first opportunity for many TV series to earn awards acclaim before competing for [...]

  • Peter Sarsgaard The Batman

    Peter Sarsgaard Joins Robert Pattinson in 'The Batman'

    Peter Sarsgaard is joining Robert Pattinson in Warner Bros.’ “The Batman” in an undisclosed role. “The Batman” director Matt Reeves tweeted the news on Friday, sharing a gif of Sarsgaard accompanied by a bat emoji. Pattinson is starring as Batman/Bruce Wayne. The movie also stars Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, Paul Dano as the Riddler, Colin [...]

  • Worst movies 2019

    The Worst Films of 2019

    Keep in mind that we haven’t seen “Cats.” Or a single one of the half-dozen Nicolas Cage movies released “on demand” (to zero demand?) this past year. Still, in the ongoing quest to find the next masterpiece, film critics inevitably have to sit through a lot more turkeys than your typical moviegoer. Rather than let [...]

  • FAMILIAR FACE -- In Walt Disney

    'Frozen 2' Still Sizzling With $37 Million in Third Weekend; 'Playmobil' Crashing

    “Frozen 2” is gradually warming up the North American box office, with an estimated $37 million its third weekend at 4,348 sites, early estimates showed Friday. Disney’s animated sequel is projected to decline about 57%. Should estimates hold, “Frozen 2” should finish the weekend with nearly $340 million domestically in it first 17 days. With [...]

  • Legendary Logo

    Legendary Invests in Library Pictures to Fund Local-Language Production

    Legendary Pictures has made an investment in Library Pictures International with plans to fund local-language productions. Library Pictures is a content-financing entity organized earlier this year by CAA Media Finance to support industry-leading filmmakers and distributors by investing in local-language production slates. As part of the deal, Legendary becomes part of a team at Library [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content