Mark Burnett and Roma Downey talk about why and how they made The Bible -- the hit History Channel miniseries. Plus, Twilight author Stephenie Meyer on producing indie movies based on other people's books.
FROM THIS EPISODE
Mark Burnett's name is synonymous with big reality competition shows -- Survivor, The Voice, and Celebrity Apprentice -- but the passion project he made with his wife, Roma Downey, is a massive franchise in the making. The Bible is a five-part miniseries that aired on History Channel. It garnered huge ratings, plus an Emmy nomination. Burnett and Downey, herself an actress who starred in the CBS show Touched by an Angel and who plays Mother Mary in The Bible -- are devout Christians. They talk with Kim Masters about how they found that The Bible series gave people in the industry permission to talk about God. They plan to turn the series into a feature film, followed by a sequel on NBC.
Stephenie Meyer is most known as the author of the Twilight novels, which became a massive global phenomenon and spawned a successful film franchise. In the process, Meyer got a taste for making movies. She's now launched her own production company, Fickle Fish Films. Her first movie is Austenland, a romantic comedy starring Kerri Russell and based on the book by Shannon Hale. Meyer talks about going from the blockbuster world of Twilight to the indie world of Sundance and Austenland.
Kim Masters and John Horn of the Los Angeles Times discuss what it means when a big Hollywood blockbuster flops. Compared to last year's summer box office, revenue is down over 6%, and because movies cost much more to make, the losses are much greater. For example, the Lone Ranger cost around $400 million, including marketing.
John says there are three lessons to be learned from this summer's box office:
- If trying to build a franchise, studios shouldn't gamble so much on the first film. See how it does first before spending the big bucks.
- Release dates are too competitive and need to be rethought.
- Studios should bet on lesser known directors who make genre films on smaller budgets. An example is James Wan who directed this summer's The Conjuring.