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throcorfe

Yup, Marx wasn’t right about everything (IMO) but he was right about that. The owner of the means of production will always exploit the labourer, and only state intervention can stop that. The market will never correct itself, and is not neutral: without regulation it always serves to divert capital away from the working class.


SourceHouston

The states regulation regarding what these projects can and can not write off is actually the issue at hand. This is a known issue, people need to be smarter when negotiating compensation


Front-Difficult

I don't think it's reasonable to suggest Anthony McCarten, one of the top screenwriters alive today who regularly puts out Oscar gold, isn't a smart negotiator. It sounds like McCarten understood how GK defines net proceeds, but GK is instead using Fox's definition - which he has never seen nor consented to. It's a dodgy bait and switch - he wouldn't have agreed to the deal if he knew they could change the way net proceeds is calculated.


throcorfe

Sorry, I probably wasn’t clear. I wasn’t specifically referring to screenwriting or to the US, I was saying the problems mentioned by OP are ultimately symptomatic of the core weaknesses of capitalism (which btw is not me saying there are no strengths to capitalism).


SourceHouston

My point was the weaknesses of capitalism are induced by the state.


WingcommanderIV

Not true. If all you rate the health of the economy on is the stock market than sure. But if you consider the suffering of the individual, and the worsening state of the poor as important factors in the economy, then what you're saying is completely untrue -- and the factors that conservatives measure the health of the economy by are flawed and insincere.


SourceHouston

Yes the health of individual and worsening of the poor is brought on by government. I don’t care about the stock market at all, wealth inequality is driven by government decisions, particularly that of the FED


WingcommanderIV

No. Wealth Inequality is amplified by conservative choices in government ... and from the government giving power to the employer over the employee. Wealth Inequality is created from Trickle Down theory and every corrupt attempt to try to make it a reality.


SourceHouston

God you’re dumb, the role of government has only increased the divide between rich and poor. Ever since 1971 when we went off a hard money system the elites have gained more power at the expense of the working class Wealth inequality is created by the destruction of the dollar. It gives more purchasing power to those who own assets (rich) and devalues the savings of those who have their net worth in cash (the poor) This is all because of the role of government in money


WingcommanderIV

The poor doesn't have "savings" and "Net worth" And definitely no cash. Do you not understand what being poor means??? But good job personally attacking me to devalue my position and thus not have to face reality yourself. If you just recast everyone in the world who says something that challenges your flawed views then they are dumb and you know everything. Well unfortunately you are wrong, and it is you who are dumb. What you describe happening in 1971 is actually due to lowering the tax rate to the rich [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History\_of\_taxation\_in\_the\_United\_States](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_taxation_in_the_United_States) But feel free to ignore everything I say because I'm "Dumb" and ignore reality too because that's "dumb" and keep living in your deluded bubble where you can connect the suffering of the poor to whatever you want and imagine their just sitting on their big piles of cash and using that to keep them warm. Building homeless tents out of their big piles of cash savings.


Little_Setting

Add freelance graphics, modelling and animation, architectural renders and similar here too


DavidNoBrainFreeze

Somebody said that Fox kept claiming that Star Wars was losing money so they did not have to pay George Lucas. Also DC screwed Alan Moore in the Watchman deal.


2ND_Dinner

Forrest Gump is another very famous example.


DavidNoBrainFreeze

How so?


2-15-18-5-4-15-13

The author of Forrest Gump had a deal where he’d get 3% of the film profits. Pretty good deal, huh? Well the people in charge of the money did some creative accounting and all of a sudden Forrest Gump has a net loss. The author got the initial money for story rights and none of the profit percentage he was owed because there was apparently no profit. [Wikipedia has a page on Hollywood Accounting](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_accounting)


DavidNoBrainFreeze

Interesting. That is disgusting. Just pay the man. Why is it so hard to give someone 3% of the profits? They deserve it and most likely will write for you again


EffectiveWar

For what its worth, whoever can, negotiates for a percentage of gross or revenue these days and not profit.


DavidNoBrainFreeze

Ok. No wonder David is having a hard time finding writers 😼


DavidNoBrainFreeze

Not really understanding that sentence


annies-pretty-young

It's on a Netflix episode of "the movies that made us"


LinkovitchChmofsky

Id always interpreted Grooms displeasure with the Forrest Gump movie being more about the drastic change in tone and overall story, rather than his monetary compensation.


2ND_Dinner

Well, it could have been both. He got royally hosed. edit: > Winston Groom's price for the screenplay rights to his novel Forrest Gump included a 3% share of the profits; It grossed 670,000,000 on a budget of 55 million. They said it lost them money.


ArchitectofExperienc

They tried to say that Mad Max Fury Road didn't turn a profit, and denied George Miller his gross points based on that


DavidNoBrainFreeze

Ugh. No wonder writers are salty


Caitian_Captain

Surprised this shit doesn't cause WGA strikes.


HotspurJr

Well, it's part of why we have residuals. The thing about residuals is that they're based on revenue, not profit, so it protects writers (at least somewhat) from this kind of nonsense. And the reason why a strike is likely, IMHO, in 2023 is because studios owning their own streaming platforms makes it easier for them to engage in this sort of shenanigans about revenue. How do you define how much revenue Dune brought in to Warners via HBOMax?


EffectiveWar

I'm confused, profit and gross are different things no?


ArchitectofExperienc

definitely wrote that wrong, I think in that situation his points were taken from the gross earnings of that specific movie, which they said "made no money", but someone please correct me if I'm wrong


EffectiveWar

Ah I had a quick google and it looks like Miller via his company was entitled to a bonus based on a requirement that it be under a certain budget. WB disputes their calculation of the budget and refused to pay. Different but still typical of the hollywood bigwigs.


buckythe3rd

Would the Disney acquisition factor in at all?


leskanekuni

Net points are worthless. The writer and/or his reps should have known this.


questionernow

Lol @ thinking his reps didn't know this.


[deleted]

Even so, it's ridiculous in this case. Over 900 million dollars profit with a 55 million dollar budget. Even factoring in advertising costs I don't see how that holds up to a forensic accounting.


MaxHOJones

Wow I thought it made less than half that. Seeing the worldwide gross is close to a billion is pretty surprising, though I guess it makes sense. Either way no way that film isn't making a profit on its own.


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psycho_alpaca

For real do people think screenwriters can just demand percentage of gross in their contract and the studio will just go "Ah, damn it, he asked for gross points! Guess he got us there!"


OLightning

The screenwriter always loses when it comes to final payout. The fat cats win again.


questionernow

Right? Unless you're producing or Aaron Sorkin.


Front-Difficult

McCarten is definitely in the handful of writers with power. His last 4 scripts have all been nodded for best screenplay, and 3/4 have been nodded for best picture. He's exactly what the kind of unique writer that does things others can't do, giving him the opportunity to bargain for money knowing they can't get someone else who can do the same thing. He writes original powerful scripts that big actors want to star in and will take pay-cuts to star in because it gives them oscar chances (all 4 of those scripts were nodded for best lead - 3 of them won best leading actor), that can be filmed on small (relative) budgets, and have large global box office appeal. They're flagship intellectual films studios can show off with, whilst still making buckets of money.


thalassicus

What are you talking about? Some films just lose money! Take that indie hit, Return of the Jedi for example: According to Lucasfilm, Return of the Jedi, despite having earned $475 million at the box office against a budget of $32.5 million, "has never gone into profit".


MulderD

They 100% do.


RightioThen

That was my first thought. Isn't it basically like getting an office job and your contract stating that if the employer so chooses they can pay you in monopoly money?


ThunderCowz

Relevant Freakazoid https://youtu.be/bHL91HQzhuc


DavidNoBrainFreeze

Net points?


PGA_Producer

People outside the Industry don't understand that "profit" is not a fixed concept in show business. In movie contracts, "profit" is defined differently in each and every contract. A savvy dealmaker knows that the *definition* of profit in the contract is all-important, because it controls whether you actually get paid. When someone gets "net points," the real question is net of what? What is the defeinition of net in the contract? In most writer contracts, net includes deducting all other participants a head of the writer, and includes paying for distribution fees, overhead and interest on borrowed money. This manifests as every single expense being charged against your share of the money. The $51 million loss mentione by OP is doubtless the result of participations,interest and overhead payments. Here's an example of perfectly legal creative financial shenanigans commonly done by a studio: They have a pile of money on hand. They take a lot of it, and form a commercial bank. The bank exists solely to finance movies made by the studio that owns them. So the studio borrows the money for the movie from their own bank, and when the movie starts earning money, the studio pays back the money with interest. So they get recoup the interest, when they didn't need to borrow money at all.


Tenpennytimes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHL91HQzhuc


lowriters

I've been researching the shit out of what the best language is in contracts and a single word can make a huge difference. I recently signed a contract that said I would earn x% of gross that the SCRIPT made in profits on streaming, box office, foreign sales, etc. The script doesn't earn money, the film does, so I had them change that word to film. ​ Also, the goal seems to get **first-dollar cash break gross profits**. In other words, you get every first dollar made after you break even (which is defined explicitly as what that means) of the gross profits. Only guys like James Cameron and Nolan can really demand that kind of deal.


PGA_Producer

The gold standard is the **first-dollar gross** deal. This means that the studio does not break even before you get paid. You and the studio share every penny. Spielberg gets this deal, and Tarantino said he got what he called "The Spielberg Deal" on Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. In the early 2000s, some studios decided to stop making those deals, because if the star and director got a big enough bite, it was hard for the studio to make a profit. It was reportedly why Redstone fired Tom Cruise from M:I. He only let Cruise come back when the renegotiated the deal to include a first-dollar cash break for the studio.


Puff1nlol

How can a movie that made 900 mill gross with a 50 mill budget lose money?


iknowyourbutwhatami

The question is for whom. While the net overall economy of the involed parties is not at a loss, the individual parties can easily be. You have the same principle for most big corporations, where IP might be owned by one entity, the studio by another, and distribution by yet another, etc. The same is true for other industries - e.g. manufacturing in China, Sales office in Ireland, Admin in USA. Had "movie studios" (which is a lose broad handwavy definition) been monoliths and done everything in house this wouldn't work. There are *many* reason why you *shouldn't* have this corporation structure however, least of which is liability and "profit trickery". Wikipedia has has examples: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_accounting


KB_Sez

First off, writers are treated like crap in the business but this is your classic Hollywood Accounting. He made a deal with the original producer and had an agreement that they wouldn't screw him over when he made the 'net points' deal with them but when the Hollywood Studios took over they did their usual shady shit and manipulated all the money so there's never a chance of anyone getting any kind of net profit participation. This article sites the Harry Potter series that has never made a profit. Yes, the billions of dollars brought in by the series over the years has never led to a single penny of profit. Of course, it didn't help that one division of Warner Brothers loaned the other division the money to make the movie at an insanely high rate of interest among other classic tricks--- Anyone who takes net points on a Hollywood film is a fool. This is why in the Scarlett Johansson suit you notice that it wasn't points on the profit they promised her but Box Office performance bonuses. They screwed her intentionally getting half their money from streaming fees for the film that aren't included in BO and that way they didn't have to share with her.


CinemaExplained

Can you specify for which Scarlet Jo movie was it?


KB_Sez

She sued Disney Studios over the Black Widow movie


TheJenerator65

*Black Widow*


CinemaExplained

thx I'll also follow up on that story.


SE4NLN415

That's how they play the game lol


ArchitectofExperienc

When I was working as a production assistant I would have to chase down every third check, double check the hours worked, and if anything was wrong and it wasn't an honest mistake by production then I'd have to go through the city/county labor relations and wait at least 6 months to get paid. I've heard horror stories all the way up, and in the end its always producers and executives with a lot of money who just want more. Without a way to independently verify the accounting of a movie, or any sort of independent valuation of content, this will never change


NewPhoneWhoDys

[When you act professional, these people are so used to getting it for nothing, and for mooching, and being able to pass off this bullshit](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mj5IV23g-fE)


CinemaExplained

Watching it felt great.... and painful.


NewPhoneWhoDys

It is! I was hoping you'd at least feel understood.


KingCartwright

In the article they post the lawsuit. I read the intro and it's kind of funny they felt the need to mention Eddie Murphy and calling net proceeds "Monkey Points". Also, kind of shocked at some of the casual language used; I don't normally read lawsuits and just assumed they're all boiler plate legal jargon.


johnnycomet

They invoked Eddie Murphy as a reference to the Buchwald v. Paramount case in which Art Buchwald alleged that Paramount had plagiarized his 1982 script treatment for a planned Murphy vehicle, and used it as the basis of Coming to America. This happened a couple of years after Paramount had let the option on Buchwald's treatment lapse. The California Superior Court ruled in Buchwald's favour but Paramount claimed during the damages phase that Coming to America had been a net money-loser. The court examined Paramount's formula for calculating profit and deemed it "unconscionable" - giving Buchwald the opportunity to force the books open. That's when Paramount decided to settle. So the reference to the Murphy here is very pointed. There's a great book on this written by Pierce O'Donnell (one of Buchwald's attorneys) called Fatal Subtraction.


RightioThen

Without wanting to sound unsympathetic to the guy, isn’t this quite common? I’m a bit baffled as to why screenwriters would sign onto this sort of deal knowing well that they’ll get screwed over.


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RightioThen

I’m not assuming they are morons, and I fully support the law suit. I’m just expressing my bafflement as to how he, an established writer, could end up in that position. But your explanation about the buy-out makes sense.


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slobcat1337

That’s because everyone on Reddit knows best, even more so than established professionals.


RightioThen

Reread my original post where I say how I am baffled by the decision. That means I clearly didn't understand the nuances. That's very different from me saying "har har what a moron, he should have taken the good contract."


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RightioThen

Okay, well shame on me for being ignorant then


lowriters

It's essentially a sunken cost concept where the opportunity to have your name on a successful film will lead to greater financial opportunities. Which it usually does with movies like BR. For smaller films, unless you kill with the critics and/or get nominated for some big awards you're best bet is to really fight tooth and nail for the best deal possible. With a recent contract I signed, I'm guaranteed a minimum of $25k with an increase in that amount based on certain budgets. I am probably not going to get more than $25k regardless if the film is budgeted at $5M or $25M because at the end of the day I have no real leverage. But hey, where I'm at in my "career" $25k will be the single biggest check I'll ever receive if all falls into place. So just have to take what I can get and do the best job I can do to advance my career off of that.


RightioThen

Thanks for your perspective and also congrats on the pay day!


CinemaExplained

Congratulations on the deal!


zdepthcharge

Have you seen what a scrambling, hungry, vapid, desperate crowd screenwriters are? Have you seen what a hit-driven, scrambling, hungry, vapid, greedy industry this is? Are you awake?


RightioThen

I take your point, but I would have thought the guy who wrote the theory of everything and the darkest hour wouldn’t be so desperate.


psycho_alpaca

He doesn't have to be desperate. This is just a standard screenwriting contract. Writers don't get in on the gross except in very rare exceptions. It's not like he took a 'bad deal'. This is THE deal when you're a writer. There's no other. Now, the matter of the movie showing a loss when it clearly profited is another story... but then again, Hollywood Accounting is not something an individual writer has control over.


RightioThen

Obviously I know barely anything about this, but it just seems like such a strange situation for writers to be "compensated" like this. I was under the impression working screenwriters were unionized. Surely in such an environment writers have the agency to actually be paid what they're owed? I mean, I know the answer is no, but if it was yes, they'd get paid what they're owed. Still, it seems very odd to me. But as I said, I don't know anything.


2ND_Dinner

Same reason people lend money to friends who promise to pay you back. These are people talking to other people… they get to know each other… jokes and small talk… and you believe what they tell you.


Contentthecreator

Do writers get as screwed in TV as they do in movies?


PurpleBullets

TV Writers Rooms are salaried and get paid weekly, as far as I know. It’s a different beast altogether.


The0rangeKind

i know this is a screenwriting sub but i just wanted to say even though rami malek and the crew made a good Queen movie...what sachs baron cohen was going to make was going to be legendary. i know this movie was pretty popular mainstream and safe wise but i think it would’ve been better critically received and harder hitting if it was edgier and not afraid of showing the ugly side of the business. regarding the movie business of this move, i think it’s financial woes is due to the bland vanilla approach to the movie and character of freddy. even the screenplay was very formulaic of the biopic genre and failed to do anything special with it


judasblue

Yeah, except there aren't actually any financial woes with the movie. $900 million box office. Cohen might have made a great movie, no doubt, but the one we got made piles. This is just the normal asshattery.


EliteDodgeball

As someone that was in the development room with SBC. It would have been amazing. The movie that came out hurts to this day.


Haramu

God damn, I would have loved to be a fly on the wall of that room!


[deleted]

100% agree. i actually think the movie is mediocre


mr_mayon

You’re absolutely right. The Cohen version deserved to be seen.


CinemaExplained

>what sachs baron cohen was going to make was going to be legendary Do you have the script of Sasha's project? Or a treatment? How do you know? It's a non-aggressive question. I'm genuinely interested in this.


The0rangeKind

i wish i did i was going by the background info that was coming out during its pre production phase many years ago, and all the details were making it sound amazing. you might be able to find it if you search around. i have no doubt it exists somewhere


CinemaExplained

thx. Sasha as Freddy. I can see that. It's like that Steve Jobs situation. They actually made a better movie with an actor that is less physically similar to Jobs.


Narstrichama

Honestly if Rami’s British accent wasn’t horrible it might have made more 🤷‍♀️


2ND_Dinner

I think this might drive me insane. Scumbags.


iliacbaby

this is so common! negotiate for a cut of gross! cash payments payable on ticket sales points!


[deleted]

You should check out r/antiwork