Turnaround Chill

A noted filmmaker who read this morning’s link to Patrick Goldstein‘s story that named Paramount’s Brad Weston as the guy who passed on Twilight two years ago when it was being developed by MTV Films has a word of caution. Or lament, rather. Here’s how he put it:

“When Goldstein ran that story, it increased the level of paranoia in the studios and now people aren’t as likely to put projects into turnaround, which is what saves or releases some projects and results in their being made into films at other studios,” he said.

“Without turnaround we’re all going to miss out on a lot of great movies because stalled projects are now more likely to just sit there and collect dust. It’s going to increase this chilling effect.”

“Let’s say I have a property that’s owned by a studio and it’s not working out,” he said. “In this situation a studio exec saying to me ‘fine, I’ll put it into turnaround and let you have it, take it across the street to Warner Bros. and God speed’ is usually an act of benevolence. It saves a project from death.

“Now with this Weston thing, a lot more studio execs and going to say ‘sure, I let you take it elsewhere and then two years from now I’ll read about how I’m the asshole who let a big hit go to some other studio? Fuck it, I’m going to hang onto it. I’d rather have the project die here than have it go elsewhere than have an article turn up down the road that’ll make me look stupid.’

“Fear of failure has always been a greater force in this town than dreams of success,” he coincluded. “This is a town based on fear, and now that fear, that paranoia, has just been increased.”

  • Mark G.

    Nah, it happens all the time… Universal passed on Star Wars, Columbia passed on E.T., 20th Century Fox sold half of Titanic to Paramount at a bargain etc. etc….

  • Zimmergirl

    But hey, Patrick Goldstein got some traffic out of it. So there’s that.

  • buckzollo

    Maybe they will make best efforts to get it right the first time. Come on, they are the STUDIOS after all. Accountability is suddenly a bad thing? Remember the only rule: If someone else wants it, then, we really want it!

  • SJRubinstein

    You know who else passed on “E.T.?” M&M’s. Didn’t think it was worth a million dollars in product placement. Hershey’s had been on the ropes for a bit, but one guy gambled on dropping that million to put Reese’s Pieces in the film – his ass firmly on the line – and it fucking saved the company, even though Reese’s was an acquisition and they hardliners still were pissed that it didn’t have the Hershey name in it. In the neverending Mars vs. Hershey’s war, this still gets under the skin of Mars marketing vets.

  • Don Murphy

    Jeff
    Your “noted filmmaker” has no idea what they are talking about. NONE. Turnaround happens automatically according to contract. If no progress is made in 90 days, it is triggered.

    In addition, if you know how to read, you can see that Twilight didn’t go INTO turnaround. They started over after Paramount didn’t choose to renew the rights, at least as per Goldstein who is not reliable.

    So your source doesn’t have a fucking clue but is still giving interviews. Fucking great.

  • http://www.filmjerk.com Edward Havens

    “Nah, it happens all the time… Universal passed on Star Wars, Columbia passed on E.T., 20th Century Fox sold half of Titanic to Paramount at a bargain etc. etc….”

    Of course, you’re talking about movies from ten to thirty years ago. And even then, Frank Price has taken so much shit over the years for being the asshole who passed on E.T. at Columbia, and that pass hurt him during his dealings with Spielberg when Price landed at Universal a few years later.

  • Studly Semite

    Yeah I 2nd Don Murphy’s response. Who is your source? A 25 year old assistant? Every writing deal I ever made had a turnaround clause. It’s standard. My last project I got the rights back after a certain amount of years and they paid me six figures. Unless you’re lawyer is a total ‘tard, there is always a provision for what-if-it-gets-killed on a literary property.

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    Movie making is a gamble…sometimes it pays off, sometimes you stay awake at night saying why did I do that? and kicking yourself all night long

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