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David Poland

By David Poland

Miramax Moronics

If the New York Times’ source is right – and keep in mind, we are dealing with a notoriously iffy industry reporter at the NYT chasing down a source to confirm gossip that Nikki Finke was softly floating – than Disney will make yet another move that seems quick and decisive, but not very smart.
Unless Disney is having major cash flow troubles, $700 million or less will not change much of anything for the company. And in the process, they would be selling off a good-sized library that may, indeed, be worth less and less in the future. But it does create revenue now and though I am not a great believer in the long tail creating a big pot o’ cash, you never know.
What possible reason would a stable company have to sell off a library with dozens of classic and near-classic titles for so little money?

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5 Responses to “Miramax Moronics”

  1. EthanG says:

    Wow, what is going on with the mighty Mouse House. Perhaps they’re having the same problems Paramount had late last year? But it doesn’ make sense that they’d be flailing like this after the underperformance of a handful of films theatrically. They had the number 3 DVD of last year in “Up” just make major $$…

  2. anghus says:

    Can i bid 30,000 for Phantoms?

  3. Joe Leydon says:

    Just curious: Any theories regarding the steep drop in library value? I would think that as the cable and on-line outlets increase — have you ever really counted just how many pay-cable movie channels there are these days? — library values would be on the increase. Obviously, I am mistaken. Why? Too much short-term thinking? Or is it demo-driven? That is, are they finding that younger auds don’t care all that much about movies made more than a decade ago?

  4. Eric says:

    Joe, I’m no expert here but I suspect there was a “DVD bubble” for library titles. There was probably a large amount of speculation going on assuming that the DVD party would never end. When the DVD market slows, back catalog revenue starts to dwindle, and I wouldn’t think that expanding PPV options offsets that.

  5. Dr Wally says:

    Remember that about a decade ago Disney sold the rights to The Black Hole after underestimating the movie’s popularity amongst thirtysomething nostalgiasts, then shamefacedly had to buy the rights back at an inflated price when the Anchor Bay DVD sold like gangbusters.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon