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.
More From The Business
Mike White on 'Brad's Status,' social media and ambition In writer-director Mike White's new movie Brad's Status, Ben Stiller plays a man consumed with jealousy of friends from college, based on their social media. White tells us why he wanted to make a movie about ambition in the age of Instagram, and the challenge of making humanist movies when the studios only want the next superhero franchise.
In ‘The Deuce,’ David Simon follows the money of the porn industry When David Simon started shopping his new show The Deuce--about the rise and legalization of the porn industry--he quickly realized a lot of networks didn’t quite grasp his seriousness of purpose. The creator of The Wire and Treme tells us how The Deuce ended up back at his longtime TV home, HBO, and why he ended up making a show about porn in the first place.
Revisiting Shawn Levy: 'Stranger Things' & redefining his career Director Shawn Levy built a career on the Night at the Museum franchise, but wanted to break out of his box. He set out to produce, and this past year scored with the Netflix mega-hit Stranger Things, now up for 18 Emmys. He tells us how he went about getting the industry to reconsider him.
Chuck Lorre branches out with 'Disjointed' and 'Young Sheldon' TV writer-producer Chuck Lorre has created some of the most successful multi-camera broadcast sitcoms ever, including Two and a Half Men, and The Big Bang Theory. Now he's entering a new stage in his career with two projects -- the Netflix pot comedy Disjointed and the single camera show Young Sheldon for CBS--that are pushing him outside his previous purview.
LATEST BLOG POSTS
Lari Pittman: Finding beauty in the grotesque Lari Pittman is not an easy painter. While some artists are minimalists, Pittman is a maximalist. Every inch of his large canvases is covered in images. His frenetic, complex pieces… Read More
Introducing There Goes the Neighborhood The beige stucco apartment building at 240 Robinson Street has nice a Spanish arch to the front windows and a red tile roof. It looks like a lot of other buildings in this part of town. The small, rent-controlled apartment building is in Rampart Village. The area is best known for Tommy’s Burgers and a police corruption scandal in the 1990s. Read More