Posted on Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 by Germain Lussier
Joel Silver‘s producing resume reads like a laundry list of the best (or at least biggest) action films of the past three decades: Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, 48 Hours, Predator, Demolition Man, The Matrix, Sherlock Holmes and on and on. Many of those, especially over the past twenty years, were at Warner Bros. where his Silver Pictures had a lucrative producing deal and spot on the lot. Rumors had been circulating that Silver (above right, with director Todd Phillips) might be parting ways with the studio. Monday, Variety reported Warner Bros. will be paying the producer $30 million for the rights to all the films he produced at the studio, finally severing ties that go back 25 years. He’ll obviously still be producing, just not from the Warner Bros. lot. In fact, he might already have a new deal at Universal. Read more after the jump.
Variety’s article on the separation is fascinating and it gets into a ton of business oriented details. One, for example, is that Silver was regularly given advances on the box office grosses of his film. Another is how the $30 million figure was figured out based on the entire library of films:
The studio came up with the $30 million figure through a complicated formula that considers the future earnings of the Silver Pictures library and after the outstanding debt — which was not disclosed — is subtracted. That includes hits like “Swordfish,” “Book of Eli,” “Demolition Man” and “Executive Decision,” but also pricey misfires. Analysts say most of the titles already have generated as much as they can from various distribution platforms.
Of course, Silver now gives up the rights to all of his films at the studio, won’t get any more money from them and is free to move elsewhere. Reports are he might already have a deal at Universal, which would be for five years and at least 12 movies.
Silver has probably made more bad movies than good ones, but his good movies are great and even the bad ones rarely fail to bring in some profit eventually. He’s got an eye for talent and exciting projects. He’ll be around, but the separation from Warner Bros. is definitely the end of an era.