Mr. Mittens’ adventures in Hollywood, or Vickie Lester reveals how big movies are made

marlon brandoActually my cat decides everything.

That’s how studio films are made.

Tell no one.

Shall we see if I can explain without letting the cat out the bag? And by Cat I mean some shadowy figure resembling a studio head… I’m not talking Indie — no rogue cats who play by their own rules — I’m talking show kitties with corporate overlords. Imagine, if you will, a multitude of scripts that make their way from the hot little MacBook of the author through channels to the paws of Top Cat. While traveling this perilous route the script has been batted around, sometimes harbored, sometimes swiped at. By the time it lands in front of Señor or Señora Gato it has been extensively nibbled at. What does “extensively nibbled at” mean? I’ll give you an example, there are some players in Hollywood whose taste for a project can translate to 20 million dollars in their pockets on the first day of principle photography. Bear in mind this player just nibbled, they are “attached” to the script, they didn’t write it, direct it, budget it, design it, or film it, they just thought it was yummy.

Get a particularly savory script, something that could turn into a “franchise” in front of Top Cat and you can have players mewling for a staggering amount of money. This puts our cat into a bind!

After everyone has had their fill, there’s not a tremendous amount of money left to produce and market the film. We’ll do a hypothetical example. Say the cost of feeding those hungry cats amounts to 60 million dollars. That leaves 140 million dollars to construct the movie, put the film in the can, make the digital capture… Whatever, I mean put the damn thing on the screen. I know, that sounds like a lot of cat food but, for big splashy extravaganzas with tons of visual effects factor in at least another $60 million… Then there are movie star salaries… Advertising campaigns… The money paid to the crew who actually  create a fictional world and film it is overshadowed by a myriad of other costs. You get what I’m saying. Once all is said and done this hypothetical film we’ve been discussing will have to pull in $400 million at the box office to break even.

Now, there aren’t a lot of movies that hit that target. What’s a cat to do?

Well, they consider their relationships, the mandates of the studio, and they either kill that script, or shoot it.

Kill it or shoot it.

Cat and mouse.

That’s all I have to say 😉 .

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  1. Heather in Arles
    April 14, 2015

    Brilliant. Just brilliant.

    • April 14, 2015

      How’s this old saying for moral ambiguity, honest as the cat when the meat’s out of reach… 😉
      I also am fond of this from Tom Hanks, “Hollywood is like high school, with money.”

  2. George Kaplan
    April 15, 2015

    Mr Mittens! I asked him what kind of movies he liked and he just went to his kitty litter… Says it all really!

  3. April 27, 2018

    I love reading the posts I missed the first time around. This knowledge is one of the reasons why your current novel is wonderful. Because you know all these things and lots of people (e.g. like me) have no clue.

    • April 27, 2018

      Good morning! I woke up early to tip-tap-type on the conclusion of the novel before the sun rose. Soon I will have something to show you. xox

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