Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Peter Jackson's Progress

If you haven't followed it, Peter Jackson's fight with New Line has now escalted to the point where studio head Bob Shaye says that Jackson, who was responsible for the biggest success in New Line's history, is no longer welcome at the studio: "[T]he answer is he will never make any movie with New Line Cinema again while I'm still working for the company."

The genesis of this fight is a lawsuit Jackson and his wife have launched against the studio seeking to gain access to the company's finances (see Jackson's explanation here). The nub seems to be that Jackson and Walsh think New Line is cheating them out of some revenue still due to them.

That may be true. Heck, the way studio accounting works, it probably is true. But it says something deeply unflattering about Jackson that he isn't content with what he has and able to write off whatever theoretical moneys he's missing out on as the cost of doing business.

Let's not forget that until Mike DeLuca (the former head of New Line), plucked Jackson out of obscurity and gave Jackson the LoTR project, he was a small-time, fledgling genre director. If you look at >Jackson's track record, he had four features under his belt, the biggest of which grossed $16.7M. (Only one other of Jackson's movies topped the $1M mark.)

Yet DeLuca and New Line bet the company on Jackson, giving him an initial budget approaching a quarter of a billion dollars. (The actual budget increased as post-production costs increased and the FoTR performed well at the box office.) By all accounts, Jackson was given near total freedom from and support by New Line, he won himself a basket of Oscars, and pocketed, when all was said and done, somewhere in the neighborhood of $250M for himself.

If New Line is cheating him out of another $8M in DVD revenue--heck, if they're cheating him out of $80M--Jackson should be grateful to the company for making his career, supporting his artistic vision, and changing everything about his life.

Going nuclear over a few extra dollars here and there after he already has his "fuck-you" money, suggests that Jackson has gone Hollywood in the worst possible way.

But after seeing King Kong, maybe we already knew that.


Jacob said...

Christ. How is it "going Hollywood" to not let people steal from you?

New Line didn't take a gamble on Peter Jackson out of the goodness of their heart. They took a gamble on him because they thought he'd make some very successful movies. Which he did.

Anonymous said...

JvL - You are really off the deep end on this one. So, as long as I help you out; you should be content while I screw you in some other way? Not a sound logical argument to me. A contract is a contract - if you don't really expect to honor it, then don't prepare it! Otherwise, stick to the deal you struck.

Jackson didn't "go Hollywood"; he just got smart to the Hollywood way.

Anonymous said...

Wow, it is weird hearing JVL diss King Kong. I seem to recall you predicting it would be the biggest grossing movie ever.

Anonymous said...

Really? Where did he say that? Let's see the quote, cockfag.

Anonymous said...

Even if they held back 80 million?

If they held back 80 million, that'd have been over 25% of what he was owed.

You mean to say that if your employer ripped you off to the tune of 25% of what they promised you, you'd just blow it off and say 'thanks for giving me the job in the first place'?

Guess you'd better hope they don't read this blog :-)