Valerian numbers and a second movie

Valerian-and-the-City-of-a-Thousand-Planets.jpg

Background

Valerian was released in August 2017 and I thought we could go through the numbers a bit and see how it went in hindsight and how a potential second movie might happen in the future. I wrote about Valerian when I wrote about pre-sales, that might be of interest to you as well.

First of all, even though Valerian has a quite bad rating on RT and OK rating on IMDB it is not a bad movie. Quite the opposite if you ask me. The movie is a high quality sci-fi movie with some bad acting and some holes in the plot but it is high quality. So with that out of the way, the movie was a financial flop with not much upside for the investors and producers. However, it was not all bad and might be a big upside later on; I will get back to why that is soon.

Budget

With a budget of around 180 million USD they put themselves in a tough situation without a well known IP. However, if the plan was all along to make a second and a third movie, this might have been a perfect investment instead. The thing is, you don't invest in something unless there is (or will be) a market for it. The movie Valerian is based on a magazine and that is usually a good start, look at DC Comics or Marvel... That's what Valerian could be in the future. That is, if they use their IP in the right way and that is the upside.

They have invested a lot in producing and marketing the first movie and it's assets, now would be a bad time to close the books and go on to do other things. Instead they should (and I think they are) use the momentum to sell a second movie but with a much smaller budget, maybe half the budget or even a forth. With the right strategy and distribution, this could easily be a valuable strategy for the IP.

Update: Collider writes about a potential second movie in this article.

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Elsa Keslassy has written two interesting articles in Variety about the financials around Europa Corp. and Valerian. Well worth your time if you came this far. You can follow Elsa Keslassy on Twitter for more updates.

EuropaCorp Deputy CEO Ousted Amid ‘Valerian’ Crash

Luc Besson, EuropaCorp Face Day of Reckoning With Shareholders Over Flop of ‘Valerian’

Thank you for visiting.


the streaming industry in 2017

I wrote about the changes in the film industry in late 2014, it's almost three years ago. I wasn't completely out in the woods. You can read what I wrote about the streaming industry and emerging markets at that time.

Now, in 2017, the industry is shaping little by little to tackle the new era of film and entertainment as a whole. The industry itself and the people involved are starting to understand the new open environment where tech-companies are investing in content and trying to keeping their customers or users in some cases. Some new players like Facebook, Apple and Tencent joins "the war" in the coming months and it looks like everyone wants to be the new TV channel, cable network or content provider. This is understandable since having your customers close or locked in is usually not a bad thing for a company of this size. However, I believe the market and naturally, the consumers will decide in what direction this will take us.

streaming services

The last years has shown us that quality content is still prevailing in the real world and consumers seem to follow companies who take them serious. This could be why Facebook announced they will invest one billion into original content in 2018. Facebook needs to work hard to keep up with Netflix but it is a start and could be a test run to see if this can keep consumers on their platform. Facebook had a run at Youtube with their own video effort as well so this comes as no surprise.

Tencent unveiled a 43-title production, distribution and investment slate for 2018, this could be a risky strategy, we can all agree that It is aggressive. Maybe it will be successful, it all depends on the quality of the productions they produce and how they will distribute the material. Will they use their own or sell the rights to other major players?

There are a few companies who have made some substantial investments in streaming and original content during the years, Amazon and Hulu, HBO of course and others are competing as well. Hulu's Emmy win marks it's step into becoming a major player in the streaming industry. Hulu was a company I didn't bet on becoming a major player so it was a surprise. The Handmaid's tale is however a great show, you can find the book on Amazon. With the Hulu win, it will be interesting to see how everything changes in the coming years.

Update: Hulu's senior VP of content Craig Erwich actually said the same thing in an article on Variety which just came out.

What I can say with complete certainty, is that any business that wants to succeed in this digital landscape needs to adapt and understand that change is guaranteed to happen. The market can shift quicker than ever before and probably will. Creatives has a new world to explore and that too can easily change but today, creatives are in a very good spot. They didn't need to struck gold, the market did it for them.

Thank you visiting.


Women in Film - first half of 2017

Three years since my first post about women in film and gender equality in film. What is new and is anything changing? We have seen the rise of questions regarding equality in general in film, the Oscars got a wake up call and much seem to be happening. However, many things are the same as yesterday and it raises the question if things are actually changing and if so, how and how fast is it going?

Susan Sheldman - Desperately Seeking Susan

Susan Sheldman - Desperately Seeking Susan

On a positive note

We all know that blockbusters and big budget films are given to men much more often than to women, when men fail they usually get the chance to redeem themselves, many times with an equally prestigious project. A failure for a female director usually means the end of her career, not even a successful film is a ticket for the next one for women working in film. Hopefully, in a couple of years this has changed and finding a director for the next massive franchise is not about gender, where you are from or how you look but rather who is best for the project. From a financial standpoint, this is always best and as we all knows, money talks.

So, how has the first half of 2017 been? Well, this year we've seen articles like this one Women working in film aren´t much better off then they were in 1998. Deadline gives us a quite negative picture of the industry for women and that bring us down a notch before I even started. I will not go through the numbers in the article but I can say that from the number of women active in film making it doesn't look very good. However, there are many variables to this that we are not taking into account.

No matter how it looks today, things are getting better and will be better even if it takes time. That is not to say that we do not need to work hard and keep working to make people aware. In a way, it is a positive sign even to see articles like the one above from Deadline. People are recognizing that there are inequality in not only the film industry but many other industries and that is positive, I will touch on this later, in another post.

Gal Gadot - Wonder Woman

Gal Gadot - Wonder Woman

The news

So far this year there has been many different articles around the subject, women working with film. While some articles are lists of the best female directors like this one from Vanity Fair and this one from Harpers Bazaar others focus on the sexism that is infecting productions and the studio system.

There are many great examples this year of different ways of making people aware of the issues facing women in film. The movie, Wonder Woman with Gal Gadot has been on news several times for different reasons. Fox News talked about Gal Gadot's (Wonder Woman) earnings compared to Henry Cavill (Superman) and other news has been around Wonder Woman and how it's earnings saved the 2017 summer box office.

Here is a list of other articles that are worth mention and reading:

Fortune about Women public boards

Huffington's article in 2016 by Martha T.S. Laham

Wired posted a positive article about female directors

Scott Mendelson wrote a great article in Forbes about women in film

There were of course other articles written on the subject but many more today are positive and talk about the steps that are being made to move forward rather than the ones that pushes us a step back. I believe we need to show success stories more often than failures in order to mentally push aspiring film makers to be a part of the industry. Much more is happening today than ever before and I'm positive we will see a change in a couple of years.

If you are interested in learning more or support the work, please visit Alliance of Women Directors or if you are interested in the work that are being made in Scandinavia, check out Nordic Women in Film or read the blog of Anna Serner. Another great organization is Center for the study of Women in Television and Film they are an important piece of the puzzle and does a good job trying to navigate the issues we face.

As always, thank you for your time. If you find this interesting, please see the update I wrote in 2016 or the articlesinterviews and panels I was involved with later on.


interview: Tastemaker collective

Daniel Bramme - Interview 2017

Daniel Bramme - Interview 2017

I was asked by Nick Arellano at Tastemaker Collective to talk about the millennial age of content creation and the process around some successful structures. I also gave some tips of how to value your time and projects and what it means working as an executive producer.

Nick is a highly professional writer and I couldn't be more happy to talk to him. Visit the link below to read the article and get to know me a bit better.

Talking with Daniel Bramme about how millennials can navigate the creative process.


Pre Sales - How it works

Let's talk about pre-sales and why they are important for producers today and why some say pre-sales are less common today than before. If you are interested in other parts of film financing, please see my other posts about that below:

When a producer or a production company are in the later stages of a film financing round there are many times a lack of financing options and a way to acquire the last parts of the production budget can be to do a so called pre-sale deal or agreement. This is usually made far in advance but can be made in a later stage as well.

There are essentially two different deals that can be made with a pre-sale agreement. One is to take a bank loan using the pre-sales as collateral or the second and maybe the best option of these two, to receive a direct payment from one or several distributors. The important part to remember is that not everyone should use pre-sales and not everyone has that as an option. For pre-sales to work, there need to be value attached to your project. Value can be many things but for a pre-sale deal, it is entities that will help sell the film, for example attached talent, actors and actresses that has a high marketable value and a great track record.

Since these deals are pre-arranged contracts made before the film is produced. They are based on the strength of the project based on what each part counts as strength. A german distributor might not see the same value as an Indian distributor and so on. There are some universal factors that can be used in discussions with distributors and that can be the quality of the script, movie stars and a great marketing strategy.

Pre-sales can be a wonderful way to finance your film but with everything, if the film is a success, then you have nothing to worry about, however, if the film is below average on the "success-scale" then you could be in a bad spot. With other words; The downside to this type of financing strategy is that it requires the producers to repay the loan before profiting on the film. As with everything regarding financing, it is wise to consult with someone who has done it before or who has knowledge in your particular situation and experience before signing any agreements.

The sci-fi movie, Valerian is a great example of a movie almost completely financed with pre-sales agreements. The movie was made and everyone seems happy but the movie itself seems to be a financial flop according to Box Office Mojo - Valerian.

Valerian

Take a look at what was being said about the movie before it's release:

And after it's release:

It is important to note this had nothing to do with pre-sales, however, depending on the agreements, it could be a disaster for future projects.

As always, thanks for stopping by.

Update: I revisited Valerian to write about the budget and a potential second movie.