Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
21 August 2017
Soderbergh, Logan Lucky and the changing movie
If you’re a film director of a certain reputation, take heart in the business decisions made by Steven Soderbergh and his newest release, Logan Lucky.
The elite director (sex, lies and videotape; Ocean’s Eleven; Traffic, and many others) funds his newest release completely beforehand from various investors around the world. By the time the movie opened over the weekend, the film’s paid for.
The movie itself opens to rapturous reviews but disappointing box office. But no matter. In this era of content confusion, Soderbergh lays out the plan for the forgotten kind of movie: The middle class.
In the pre-blockbuster days, the middle-budget movie drove Hollywood’s success. All of the Hitchcocks fit that description. Even the early films of the Film Brats (Spielberg, Lucas, Coppola, DePalma, Scorsese) were of that ilk and made those directors famous. They weren’t blockbusters or a low-budget indie.
“But Soderbergh figures, in this era, he can bypass all that and use his name to collect all the funding and distribution he needs. Who needs the studios?”
Soderbergh reads the current landscape correctly
Today, confusion reigns. TV, in fact, generally fills in that niche and it’s thriving. Movies are now either superhero blockbusters, sequels that fail or the occasional indie that squeaks through.
But Soderbergh figures, in this era, he can bypass all that and use his name to collect all the funding and distribution he needs. Who needs the studios? It’s not always easy. Only filmmakers with a certain reputation can pull it off. Scorsese esstentially funded last year’s Silence this way. (And his next film will be on Netflix.)
Old times are fading. Ratings for network television are dropping like stones in a tub. Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and (soon) Apple pour billions of dollars into development. While the rest of the TV landscape suffers. (Many of them could use the services of a branding company.)
Even movies suffer at the box office. The theater experience is insufferable in many cases. And, unless the movie’s a Dunkirk or something that needs to be seen on a big screen, most of us just wait until it ends up on a streaming service.
Soderbergh’s move won’t solve everything. But in this changing environment, anything is possible.
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