Great post detailing a strange, but interesting occurrence in how film distribution contracts were constructed for Richard Linklater’s Boyhood and how this gamble could deliver massive payoffs financially and in securing some sliver of control over the distribution of a director’s film.
Tatiana Siegel for THR writes: “Richard Linklater’s new film Boyhood might jump-start a rare phenomenon in Hollywood: the director as owner. The director sacrificed his usual low-seven-figure upfront fee to share the copyright in his 12-years-in-the-making movie, as financial transparency improves in the industry and Hollywood’s take-the-money-and-run mentality shifts.
When Linklater’s longtime lawyer, John Sloss, structured the contract for the experimental coming-of-age drama — Boyhood was made over 12 years for a modest $5 million and is set to open July 11 — he insisted that financier IFC Films give the helmer part ownership of the movie’s copyright. Unlike a typical deal that offers a percentage of profits — or “points” — so a director shares in the success but has no control over the movie’s future, Linklater’s pact gave him a say in where and how the film is released. Working together, IFC the financier and Linklater decided that IFC’s distribution arm was their best option.
“This has been such a unique process and a complete leap of faith for all parties involved,” Linklater tells THR. As an owner, he can join in marketing decisions, touch each part of the revenue stream and eventually sell his stake to a library (by contrast, many directors still are paid for home video on a “royalties” basis that is much lower than theatrical gross). Sloss won’t reveal details but says Linklater’s ownership is substantial.
Still, it came at a price. The 53-year-old auteur had to give up a big part of his upfront fee, normally in the low-seven figures. And that’s precisely why most directors haven’t taken this route. They stick to Hollywood’s oldest adage: Take the money and run…
Others are skeptical, though. “I’m not sure director ownership is a trend,” says indie producing veteran Anthony Bregman (Begin Again, Foxcatcher). “Maybe it’s a trend for Richard Linklater.”
For more of this great article, check out THR.