Broadway David SpadeAnyone else read the NY Times article this past Sunday about the influx of Movie Studios on Broadway?   You know, the one that said Wicked would be Universal’s most successful property . . . ever.   Like it makes ET or Jurassic Park look like a couple of low-budget fringe shows.

This is a subject I’ve been fascinated with, as you may remember from this blog.

I’ve been thinking more and more about this subject lately, and how it directly affects the life of the Independent Producer.  You know, the people like you and me, who look for projects to musicalize or play-ize so that we can entertain people, make money for investors, and, well, eat.

The immigration of the movie studios to our East Coast shores could have one of the biggest impacts on how shows are produced since . . . well . . . since ever.

And it could be great!  And it could be terrible.

Here’s how I see it:

We all know that the movie studio libraries are filled with great potential musicals, with marketable titles.  So, with the new studio set up, if an Independent Producer wants to develop one of those titles into a musical, most likely that studio is going to say . . . “Get lost.  We have our own internal theater office to develop shows for us, so we’re just going to sit on it, like we do with books that we might want to make into a movie someday.”

In that scenario, the Independent Producer could have a very few challenging years ahead, as the amount of source material available to us just got a lot smaller.

And then there’s scenario #2 . . . which is the studios check their egos at the George Washington Bridge and rather than use movie people to produce theater, they create a model similar to what they have in Hollywood.  They hire Producers to produce their titles for them.  That’s right, I mean they pay their salary, their benefits, and their overhead so the Producer has the resources to produce a great show.

Limited upside for the Producer, but guaranteed income, and less downside risk if it flops on its face.

Two scenarios . . . Which one will happen?

Probably a hybrid balance between the two.  Some studios will hire.  Some will do it themselves.

And the Independents that don’t work for studios will just have to look elsewhere for product, which wouldn’t be so bad.

It’s scenarios like this that force Producers to be creative and look in much more interesting places for material than the last David Spade movie.

 

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6 Responses to This Movie Studio thing on Broadway could go two ways.

  1. Time to invite some of these internal theater department folks to TedX Broadway.

  2. janis says:

    Are you sure any real ‘producer’ would want to be an “employee?”

    And look at what has happened to Hollywood as a result of ‘hiring’ producers. Today’s movies are dismal and movie houses are often more than half empty.

  3. Charlie Fink says:

    Ken is going to make bank. The rest of us, not so much.

  4. Elisa Christina Clayton says:

    Since Fox has partnered with Broadway Producer, Kevin McCullum and as this New York Times article points out the studios realize there isn’t an easy formula for predicting a hit (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/04/movies/hollywoods-big-bet-on-broadway-adaptations.html?pagewanted=all)there will probably be more hiring of Broadway Producers or partnering with them ahead.

    I just hope the studios will develop more of their chick flicks, foreign films,and new scripts (stage to screen) rather than big budget films that have already been big hits. So the theatre won’t be boring to those of us, who are movie fans and have seen those stories already (sometimes many times).

  5. Bobby says:

    I just don’t see a Producer’s wanting to be an employee. Plus, I am not sure about others but I find a lot of the films made into plays boring. Some older films like Kinky Boots, etc. have success. To me I will not be going to see Rocky at all….tired of it….several movies were made about it and it gets old after a while. Where are all the writers out there that wrote new material for the stage….where are the Webber’s, etc. We need some fresh plays and musicals out there. Not sure how all this plays into movies got started lately but not every film makes a good broadway show. Just like not every movie star makes a Broadway star. I think when we start merging the two we hurt our business and entertainers.

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