Hollywood Accounting: Darth Vader Not Getting Paid, Because Return Of The Jedi Still Isn't Profitable

from the it-might-draw-you-to-the-dark-side dept

Last year, we wrote about Hollywood accounting and how the big studios set up "corporations" for each movie, specifically designed to "lose money," often by paying money back to the studio itself. Basically, the studio sets up this "company," but then charges the company a huge "fee," such that the company itself rarely, if ever, becomes profitable. Of course, hugely successful films usually still get past the threshold, but perhaps not all of them. Hugues Lamy points us to the news that the actor who played Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi is saying that Lucasfilm still isn't paying residuals, claiming that the film is still not profitable:
“I get these occasional letters from Lucasfilm saying that we regret to inform you that as Return of the Jedi has never gone into profit, we’ve got nothing to send you. Now here we’re talking about one of the biggest releases of all time,” said Prowse. “I don’t want to look like I’m bitching about it,” he said, “but on the other hand, if there’s a pot of gold somewhere that I ought to be having a share of, I would like to see it.”
If you adjust for inflation, Jedi is the 15th highest grossing films of all time. In other words, the movie has made a ton of money. But somehow, amazingly, Lucasfilm is still able to claim that it lost money. And you wonder where the MPAA got its math skills.


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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 9:07am

    And you wonder where the MPAA got its math skills.

    Forget math. I bet they got their accounting skills from Arthur Andersen.

    How is this shit not illegal?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 9:48am

    Hey Mike, rather than just whipping out your broadbrush again and having a field day, why not actually look into it?

    Oh wait, the answers might not be what you like.

    wuss.

     

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      Jay (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 9:50am

      Re:

      How about explaining your logic since it makes absolutely no sense?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 9:52am

      Re:

      Not trolling, but can you add some facts if you have them?

       

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      Marcus Carab (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 9:54am

      Re:

      You mean there's a perfectly reasonable explanation for why the 15th highest grossing film of all time is not profitable?

       

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        crade (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:35am

        Re: Re:

        because they blew all the money adding in crappy cgi characters?

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:06am

        Re: Re:

        Well Marcus, if you took the time to learn a few things about how movies work, you might understand it.

        See, financing a movie and getting things going something is done with "points" rather than actual cash up front. Those points are percentages of the movie income. There are a couple of different pools (often many). The easiest for someone like you to understand is "points before expenses" and "points after expenses". It is important to understand that the points before go against the bottom line.

        So the easiest explanation is that there are too many participants or too big of a percentage given away as "points before". The people who are in the "points after" position may never see any money as a result.

        How does this happen? Well, it can often be found in sub-companies that are used for different tasks. ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) may have done the work on the movie at a lower rate, and then taken "points" for a longer term payout. So it goes, each contract and each agreement chipping away at the bottom line.

        If there are too many points taken, you can end up in a situation where there is never a profit.

        I hope that helps you to understand the basics.

         

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          HothMonster, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:11am

          Re: Re: Re:

          oh see its not shady accounting its just.....shady accounting with a points system. got it

           

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            crade (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:12am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            damn your quick clicking fingers!

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 12:01pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            He will wave his hand and say "this is not the explanation you want to give"

             

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            Jose_X, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 8:18pm

            He was hiding something

            Lucas disconnected Vader from the force for unauthorized usage.

            The old man was also caught sharing with a rebel.

            I only mention this because it triggered one of the point clauses in the contract between Vader and Lucas:

            "Sixteen points ($3 billion USD) will be forfeited to the empire to compensate for any disturbance occurring over 3 miles from the initial source."

            Given how Lucas scripted all of Vader's scenes, I'm surprise he didn't see that one coming!!!

             

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          crade (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:12am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Whats your point? These sort of scams are exactly what this article is about.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:15am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I think the point you are missing (pun intended) is that we are all acutely aware of the fact that there are accounting shell games at work to cheat an actor out of any residuals. This awareness is, in fact, the point of the article.

           

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          Cowardly Anon, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:16am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Basics sure. It still doesn't help me understand how a movie that has been released twice, with a third release on the way, that has record video sales, and is apart of a franchise that could only be described as a magic golden cow of cash still isn't making money.

          I'm willing to bet money that dear Mr. Lucas has made money off that film.

          You can come in here with your trolling attitude and just enough facts to appear like you know what you're talking about, but in the end you still look like an ass with an internet connection. Congrats.

           

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            blaktron (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:23am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The movie business - the only place where the investor gets paid before the employee.... oh wait, thats the USA. My bad.

             

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              Derek Kerton (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 3:55pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Nobody here has a problem with the fact that the actor doesn't get paid for work done 30 years ago. Masnick isn't actually saying Prouse deserves money. The issues are:

              - the hypocrisy of the studio to say they just represent the actors and writers, etc, but don't.

              - the standard bad math skills and questionable accounting tactics of the studios.

              - the fact that the studios then go to DC with the same bad math and accounting, and try to tell us they don't make money because of piracy.

               

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                blaktron (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 4:25pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                My point isnt that anyone 'should' be making money 30 years later, but it is making money 30 years later, the only difference is that through accounting tricks the investors take 'profits' before they've even paid all their bills...

                 

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            Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:24am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            He can't seem to seperate 'technically accurate from an accounting standpoint' from 'morally correct or just.' To him they're apparently the same.

             

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          Marcus Carab (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:36am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yup, that's pretty much exactly what I pictured: shifty accounting. Thanks for confirming.

           

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            Ben (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 12:16pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Don't be obtuse Marcus, it's all about the points man!

            Likely Jedi was set up much like Springtime for Hitler, with Lucas the equivalent of an untalented Max Bialystock. Unfortunately he fucked too many Grannies and now owes $452 for each $1 Jedi earns.

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 1:50pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            It isn't shifty accounting. It's perfectly legal accounting, it's contract law, and it's the way things work.

            Now, this is a perfect example of why Mike making fun of the MPAA "math" is such a joke, because much of the income of movie is trickled down to other place, from creators to actors and the like. The money doesn't just disappear, it is still circulating in the economy.

            Oh, wait, in this case, you guys want to act like the money just disappeared. Right, got it.

            Just think of the guy getting the "not profitable" mail as the same as someone trying to sell their music. They aren't getting paid because piracy made it "unprofitable". Same for the manufacture, the shipping company, and the retailers. Oh wait, in Techdirt land, when it comes to piracy, all bets are off. There is no harm.

            Got it.

            The only shifty thing here is how you guys look at stuff.

             

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              Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 2:04pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Just think of the guy getting the "not profitable" mail as the same as someone trying to sell their music. They aren't getting paid because piracy made it "unprofitable". Same for the manufacture, the shipping company, and the retailers. Oh wait, in Techdirt land, when it comes to piracy, all bets are off. There is no harm."

              I have read some silly things in my time, but this is one of the flatout mind-numbingly stupid comparisons to two completely different sets of arguments I've ever read. My brain actually shit itself as I read it. Do you know how much that hurts? To have your brain shit itself?

              I actually spent the last several minutes jamming my mechanical pencil into my testicles, just to force myself to focus on the pain instead of the asswagon nonsense that you just wrote out.

              1. Nobody is claiming the money disappeared. It's being spent. By LucasFilm execs that shouldn't have the money, were it not for nonsense accounting techniques that would give Enron a hardon.

              2. Musicians don't work under contract for listeners. They should figure out a way to, actually, but they don't. They aren't promised money only to be told that money doesn't exist because of *bang* *boom* *pow!* Batman accounting nonsense.

              3. PIRACY DIDN'T MAKE SELLING MUSIC UNPROFITABLE! Musicians are making money. Labels are struggling to. Those that actually are "selling their music" as opposed to trying to have someone else sell it for them are doing just fine.

              Besides all this, the two issues are different, mostly because the RIAA actually DID say the money disappeared while we DIDN'T, and yet you try to apply that accusation to us?

              I actually laughed my way through your comment, because I picture you masturbating through your tears while typing with only one hand, a picture of the Techdirt logo all over your room as the sense of rejection seeps in.

              Techdirt: the place you claim to hate, yet can't stop visiting and discussing. It might be time to find God, or at least a good psychiatrist....

               

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              PaulT (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 2:28pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              So, what's your argument? That one of the most successful films in history couldn't even make a profit in the pre-Internet era and that's normal, or that it's OK for Dave Prowse not to get paid because someone else has the money?

              "They aren't getting paid because piracy made it "unprofitable"."

              Tell me, exactly how much money was lost from the 1983 cinema release of this film due to piracy, especially Internet piracy? In the decade before the web was invented, what part of your moronic statement even applies?

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 2:43pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              It isn't shifty accounting. It's perfectly legal accounting, it's contract law, and it's the way things work.

              They used to say similar things about slavery in the Southern US. "It isn't wrong. It's perfectly legal, it's property law, and it's the way things work."

              Just because something's legal, that doesn't mean there's nothing wrong with it.

               

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              Dave, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 2:52pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The only shifty thing here is how you guys look at stuff.


              Right! You mean without our reality distorting lenses!

               

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              Marcus Carab (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 4:05pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              For the guy who claims to have all this knowledge about the industry, you certainly are naive about it. And kind of lacking in real knowledge too.

              There is no clearly drawn line about what constitutes legal accounting in this case - especially since these lawsuits can come before juries as well as judges. The former, like the readers here, tend to balk at the idea that a multi-(m/b)illion-dollar entertainment franchise can fail to turn a profit. So do some of the latter.

              You say it's all clear and legal, but it's not that simple. When you dig into the details of the accounting, it all seems rather convenient- the way expenses are always clocking in at juuuust enough to keep them from having to pay out any points off the net, and always including lots of elastic numbers that are hard to justify. That's suspicious to say the least, especially when you are looking at something like Star Wars that practically sells itself.

              Now, I can tell that you think contracts are a game of "hahaha, I gotcha!" - and admittedly sometimes they can be. But the world is not entirely like the elementary school playground where you learned your social skills. If two parties have entered into a seemingly equitable contract in good faith, then one party uses questionable (even if not outright illegal) methods to twist that contract massively in their favour, it is quite possible that a jury or judge will award damages. They can, they have, and they will again - more and more often as these topics come further into the light.

              I can really only take so much condescension from someone as plainly clueless as you.

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 4:53pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I bet uncle Sam will have a different view when it realizes how much money they don't get because of those practices.

               

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                xenomancer (profile), Sep 14th, 2011 @ 6:04am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "I bet uncle Sam will have a different view when it realizes how much money they don't get because of those practices."

                Don't bet on it. That's what hollywood has lobbyists for.

                 

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              Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 4:59pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Care to explain why the industry is putting propaganda out using a microphone boom mic operator and other staff saying they get "residuals" when they don't really?

              Is that a real lie then, you just admitted that films don't pay others but they do like to claim that they do, what do you call that?

              I call it total BS.

              So much for the line "Workers receive residuals that pay for their retirement" LoL

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 9:21pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I am sorry, but your rant is pretty hard to examine without examples.

                Oh, those examples really should include the contracts and stuff.

                 

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                  Marcus Carab (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:20pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I am sorry, but your rant is pretty hard to examine without examples.

                  Oh, those examples really should include the contracts and stuff.


                  Naturally you say this here, but completely ignore my comment above where I link to examples that in fact do include extensive documented details.

                  You just don't know when to admit defeat, do you?

                   

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                  The eejit (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:20pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Dude, if you your argument had any more holes poked in it, it would be a sex doll.

                   

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                    David, Mar 29th, 2014 @ 2:03am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Dude, if you your argument had any more holes poked in it, it would be a sex doll.

                    You stay out of the kitchen until somebody explains to you the difference between "noodle sieve" and "sex doll".

                     

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                  techflaws.org (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:59pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  No need. Judging from the outcome 'this film made no money', we know its total BS.

                   

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          Richard (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 12:15pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          So the easiest explanation is that there are too many participants or too big of a percentage given away as "points before". The people who are in the "points after" position may never see any money as a result.

          In other words it is exactly the same kind of scheme as the sub-prime mortgage lending scam. I thought it was - but now you have confirmed it for me.
          Thanks.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 12:27pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          percentages can't equal *more* than how much the money makes.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 4:56pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Nor can there be over 100 points. Of course, if these two simple concepts have been somehow "overlooked", we are getting back to the bad math skills.

             

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          herbert, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 12:29pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          what an absolute load of bollocks!!!!

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 3:51pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "It is important to understand that the points before go against the bottom line."

          The bottom line (pun intended) is that the movie made a lot of money and the actor didn't get paid. There is no good reason for this.

           

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            David, Mar 29th, 2014 @ 2:07am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Well, it reads like a murder defense by explaining ballistics. "This was not a case of homicide, your honor. The bullet moved according to the laws of physics and in accordance with its design and ballistics. I can explain the trigger mechanism to you, and you'll see that nothing in it can reasonably be called murderous."

             

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          qabal (profile), Sep 14th, 2011 @ 12:29pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Thanks for making that clear, AC: at 10:1 ROI (not counting non-box office profits), you can only pay back the people who took the BIG risks. I think we can all remember how risky this movie was to produce and how unlikely the audience was to embrace it.

          But you're absolutely right, we just don't understand equitable accounting. Besides all those actors were just 'work for hire'... they don't deserve any of the benefits of original contribution. Like investors do.

          The question I have is: Does this system work like the RIAA? If we asked Harrison Ford, would he say that he's never seen a residual check? Or is it just the Prowse's of the world who have neither clout, nor a legal staff, who catch the shaft?

           

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            PaulT (profile), Sep 14th, 2011 @ 1:44pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            " I think we can all remember how risky this movie was to produce and how unlikely the audience was to embrace it."

            Erm, I hope you're being sarcastic? The original Star Wars maybe, but the 3rd part of the most successful trilogy of all time at that point? The movie they shot under the name of Blue Harvest and pre-advertised as Revenge Of The Jedi to throw off bootleg merchandisers? Hardly.

            "Besides all those actors were just 'work for hire'... they don't deserve any of the benefits of original contribution. Like investors do."

            If you honestly think that, you're probably turning more people to the "dark side" than otherwise. Take a few minutes to try and work out why that might be, and then if it's still a struggle think of how many people look at the work of Prowse or Baker vs. the guy who dropped a highly profitable bank note.

             

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        DinDaddy (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 4:24pm

        Re: Re:

        Yes. Because Lucas is still working on it. Do you have any idea how much money it takes to add the word "Noooooooooo" to an audio track?

         

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      Mike C. (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:16am

      Re:

      Hey Anonymous Coward, rather than just whipping out your broadbrush again and having a field day, why not actually provide a valid rebuttal?

      Oh wait, you can't

      wuss.

       

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      The eejit (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:16am

      Re:

      Read what david actually said: he said that his contract stated NET profits, rather than GROSS. So anything done now to promote Jedi can be set as an expense, rather than promotion.

      And yet we're the thieves? Get real. Even a crack-addled Sarah Palin would make more sense than you.

       

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      Spaceboy (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:17am

      Re:

      STFU. We know you are George Lucas posting as an AC. Please explain how ROTJ hasn't made a profit.

      ROTJ had a production budget of $32,500,000.00. Domestic Lifetime gross is $309,306,177.00.

      Let's see how my math skills are. Subtract production budget from lifetime gross and we are left with $276,806,177. Then we add the foreign gross which is $165,800,000 and we have a grand total of $442,606,177. That's almost half a BILLION dollars. That's only from the box office.

      So Mr Anonymous Coward, care to elaborate?

      What's that? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWaLxFIVX1s

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:07am

        Re: Re:

        See my comments above regarding "points before expenses".

        Have a nice day!

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:21am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Your comment above amounts to 'well accounting wise they didn't really promise the actor anything of value so it's ok that they're not paying him anything.'

          What's startling is that you think explaining in greater detail how accounting distorts reality would convince anyone you have a point.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 12:09pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          So basically accounting shell games then?

           

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          Richard (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 12:24pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          See my comments above regarding "points before expenses". crtlH crtlH crtlH crtlH crtlH Ponzi schemes

          FTFY

           

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          Marcus Carab (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 1:51pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You are vehemently defending the fact that a movie that made half a billion dollars is apparently unprofitable...

          And you think people should listen to YOUR views on business models?

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:40am

        Re: Re:

        Oh come on, be reasonable!

        You can't expect a movie like RoTJ to actually turn a profit with a measly half-billion dollars in net revenue, can you?

        The production budget only covers the amount to *make* the film, not how much is spent to get the film to theaters, and to get suckers^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hcustomers into the seats.

        You obviously have no idea how much it costs to ship film reels to the theatres - that must be in the tens of millions of dollars right there!

        Or how about promotional posters? You can't just take posters down to your local Kinko's to print willy-nilly, you have to clear the rights first - and the rights to a franshise like Star Wars run into the hundreds of millions. You can't expect Lucas to be able to just *give himself permission* for something important like that, he'd be robbing himself. What are you, some kind of filthy pirate?

         

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        PaulT (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 1:38pm

        Re: Re:

        ...and that's only domestic, and not counting video sales, where it's been released at least 6-7 times and bought multiple times by the same damn people. Also, licensing and merch, which Lucas probably pocketed directly to fund his stupid prequels.

        But, Hollywood's accountants fudge the numbers to stop an actor getting paid, so that's all OK with Mr. Corporate Bootlicker over there.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:26am

      Re:

      It's ironic that every post you make is the same, which is the very definition of "broadbrush."

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:41am

      Re:

      Oh, so this week's talking point is "broadbush." I hope next week's is aardvark.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 2:38pm

      Re:

      Yeah, Mike takes one example and tries to make it look like the MPAA always does this kind of thing. Mike must really hate all the artists that make their living in Hollywood. Shame.

       

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        PaulT (profile), Sep 14th, 2011 @ 12:27am

        Re: Re:

        You really think this is an isolated example? Try using Google for a couple of minutes, and you'll see it's not an isolated incident, even though the studios do try to keep a lid on this being public knowledge (start with Forrest Gump).

        The main commentary here is simply how blatant it is - one of the most successful movies of all time and it's still not profitable?

        "Mike must really hate all the artists that make their living in Hollywood."

        Like Dave Prowse? Or does he not count because he's an Englishman?

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2012 @ 2:21pm

      Re:

      THREAD BLOCKED

       

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    RD, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 9:49am

    No Movie Has Ever Made a Profit (except maybe 14 of them)

    So, what is basically being said here is, when it comes to paying royalties, virtually NO MOVIE HAS EVER MADE A PROFIT!

    Except maybe (and only a maybe) the 14 above Jedi. If Jedi, at 15th all time grossing, cant make a profit, then by extension nothing below it ever has either.

    And the trolls wonder why we slag Big Copyright and Hollywood so much, when they exhibit blatantly ridiculous outright thievery like this.

     

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      Anonymous Pedant, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:10am

      Re: No Movie Has Ever Made a Profit (except maybe 14 of them)

      Strictly speaking, if we're talking gross the films that grossed less could still be turning a profit if their budget was smaller than Jedi's.

       

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      Kavius, Sep 17th, 2011 @ 3:26pm

      Re: No Movie Has Ever Made a Profit (except maybe 14 of them)

      Not exactly. Just because it grossed that much, doesn't mean it didn't also spend all of it. Revenue - Expenses = Profit.

      Still stinks...

       

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      alex, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 3:10pm

      Re: No Movie Has Ever Made a Profit (except maybe 14 of them)

      You MORON.

      No it DOES NOT MEAN that everything below it didn't "make profit". You indescribably stupid person.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2012 @ 2:30pm

      Re: No Movie Has Ever Made a Profit (except maybe 14 of them)

      Not exactly, because probably not every movie wrote the contracts the same way, i.e. they weren't as clever in skimming the profit, so there might actually be hundreds or thousands of movies where decent residuals were actually paid, as well as thousands of others where they weren't.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 9:49am

    This is just disapointing. I mean it's not really a surprise, but still sad.

     

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    Lord Binky, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:00am

    Maybe...Just Maybe....

    We have enough politicians that are big enough fans of star wars to start putting some changes out there......

     

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    Simon, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:03am

    So every time he opens "..not profitable, yadadada" letter, does he say "Nooooooooooooooo!" ?

     

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    WDS (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:04am

    Of course it hasn't made a profit!

    It would have, but somewhere someone downloaded an illegal copy. The resulting economic impact was too much to recover from.

    I tried to help by buying the original on laserdisk, the laserdisk boxed set, and the DVD boxed set, but there is just so much one person can do.

     

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      The eejit (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:10am

      Re: Of course it hasn't made a profit!

      Buy the Blu-Ray set at only $1,000 for the gold-laced Midichlorian Edition.

       

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      Berenerd (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:11am

      Re: Of course it hasn't made a profit!

      I even got the VHS set...also in BETA...yeah...so what? WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO ABOUT IT???

       

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      Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 1:25pm

      Re: Of course it hasn't made a profit!

      I only have the original laserdiscs and the remastered laserdisc box set. Never got any DVDs.

      I guess this is my fault, then.

       

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        PaulT (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 1:48pm

        Re: Re: Of course it hasn't made a profit!

        I bought the DVDs but refused to double dip yet again for the original version they hadn't even bothered to remaster. I also refuse to buy the upcoming Blu Ray set since they've been tinkered with again and don't have the originals.

        Truly, I am history's greatest monster.

         

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      The Groove Tiger (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 6:19pm

      Re: Of course it hasn't made a profit!

      Do you have any idea how expensive was to download a movie in 1983?

      We're talking thousands if not millions of 5 1/4 diskettes, filled using a Hayes modem at 300 bauds!

       

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    AJ, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:10am

    Soooo, I guess this tosses the "piracy is killing the artists" argument. If only a possible 14 or so movies pay the artists after the initial production, I can't see how it's "hurting" them at all.

    When the artists figure out that the pirates are the fans and the middle men are the pirates, your going to see a disturbance in the force....

     

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:16am

    Copyright encouraging content creation?

    Is this what the big labels and studios mean by copyright encourages innovation and content creation? They guarantee that almost no musicians or actors ever get royalties, so then those artists are encouraged to go out and make more content so that they can have an income.

    Sorry RIAA and MPAA, but that's fucked up.

     

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      Zot-Sindi, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:41am

      Re: Copyright encouraging content creation?

      when they said copyrights/patents are meant to "encourage innovation & creativity" what they actually meant was that they "encourage innovation & creativity for figuring out ways to fuck people out of their cash", it's working!

       

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    PlagueSD (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:17am

    /waves hand

    These are not the profits you are looking for.

     

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    Spaceboy (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:19am

    When David Prowse asked about the profitability of the movie, this is how Lucasfilm responded...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWaLxFIVX1s

     

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    rubberpants, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:31am

    Remember Kids

    It's only a moral issue if piracy is involved. If an RIAA/MPAA member behaves badly, it's "just business."

     

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    HothMonster, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:38am

    Well if Darth Vader hadn't taken such a stupid huge advance....

     

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    Jason, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:48am

    Business Model

    What I see here is the movie studios need to change their business model. With movies never making a profit they should charge individuals extra money while at the theater. Oh and another idea. Televisions with ATM/Credit card slots so they can charge us to watch the trailers for the movies. Maybe then they will make some cash. And with luck, not go bankrupt. After all, without making profit their is no motivation to continue remaking all the movies of old.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:50am

    Has any actor in this situation ever tried a legal action to pierce the corporate veil and get at the studio's profits when the shell corporation is bankrupt?

     

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      blaktron (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:29am

      Re:

      This should actually be pretty easy since piercing the veil is generally automatic when it comes to shell corps hiding a single entity (lucasfilm)

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 1:17pm

      Re:

      In the linked story, a commenter that gets quoted at the bottom of the article notes that this is usually the only way for points-after contracts to get money out of movies. They sue, the studio settles (because they don't want to publicly disclose their books).

       

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      AG Wright, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 3:13pm

      Re:

      Look up James Garner and his law suit over "The Rockford Files"

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:54am

    Old news, but still sucks. Back in the mid 90s when Babylon 5 was in production, J. Michael Straczynski (the creator of the show) talked on Usenet all the time about Hollywood accounting. Other than a salary, he knew he'd never get a cut of profits (even though profits were in his contract) because the system is setup so that movies and TV shows don't show a profit.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:54am

    Okay, let's say Hollywood is correct when they say that no movie has ever made a profit. That means they sink millions into a movie and get no return.
    So...how come when the next movie rolls around, there's somehow millions set aside for the budget. If your company is reporting that it never makes a profit, where does it get the money from for the next project? So then, why aren't these companies being investigated for fraud?

     

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      Jay (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:17am

      Re:

      " So then, why aren't these companies being investigated for fraud"

      Why be investigated when you can buy the Senate and make them look the other way to criminalize file sharing for your losses?

       

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      David, Mar 29th, 2014 @ 2:44am

      Re:

      So...how come when the next movie rolls around, there's somehow millions set aside for the budget.

      The budget is upfront costs. Of course they detract from the profits.
      If your company is reporting that it never makes a profit, where does it get the money from for the next project?

      As the previous projects moved towards the black zero (never reaching it, of course), the investment for the next movie resurfaces.

      The ultimate source, of course, are the revenues from "Steamboat Willy." Which is why it must never run out of copyright, or Hollywood will fall.

       

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    out_of_the_blue, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:55am

    The tear-jerking story of a millionaire cheated by a billionaire.

    No doubt Prowse /already/ got for a few hundred hours of acting more than most people will earn in a lifetime of labor, so my sympathy is low.

    There's just WAY too much money in mass entertainment, and little of it is deserved as produces no lasting value. We need an over-arching limit on incomes, besides an end to accounting tricks.

     

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:04am

      Re: The tear-jerking story of a millionaire cheated by a billionaire.

      ....Did you just indicate that the damned Star Wars franchise is not something generating "lasting value"?

      What the HELL man? Are you just TRYING to sound stupid?

       

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        rubberpants, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:09am

        Re: Re: The tear-jerking story of a millionaire cheated by a billionaire.

        Yeah, he's harder to pin down than that guy selling his own detritus at the entrance to the subway station.

         

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        Zot-Sindi, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:10am

        Re: Re: The tear-jerking story of a millionaire cheated by a billionaire.

        oh, they definitely don't have to try

         

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        Jay (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 12:57pm

        Re: Re: The tear-jerking story of a millionaire cheated by a billionaire.

        There's ONE part of this where he has a point.

        That's the residuals for Screen Actors paying artists even in death.

        Other than that, he's smoking something and I hope he can share what it is because it MUST be some good stuff...

         

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      John Fenderson (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:10am

      Re: The tear-jerking story of a millionaire cheated by a billionaire.

      It's not about sympathy for him. It's about the fact that the studios are provably thieves, cheats, and liars and so anything they say about the importance of strict copyright laws should be completely disregarded due to their untrustworthiness.

       

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        Franklin G Ryzzo (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 1:01pm

        Re: Re: The tear-jerking story of a millionaire cheated by a billionaire.

        "It's not about sympathy for him. It's about the fact that the studios are DEFINITELY thieves, cheats, and liars and so anything they say about the importance of strict copyright laws should be completely disregarded due to their untrustworthiness."

        fixed it for you :)

         

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      blaktron (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:31am

      Re: The tear-jerking story of a millionaire cheated by a billionaire.

      Millionaire: The guy who pays your salary or rents you your home.
      Billionaire: The guy who puts him out of business, fires you and forecloses your home.

      Ya, I think I know where the sympathy would lie, if this were about sympathy at all. Rather its about economics and how something perfectly legal can still be morally wrong.

       

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      A Monkey with Atitude, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 12:41pm

      Re: The tear-jerking story of a millionaire cheated by a billionaire.

      STILL FAILING I SEE... WHINE WHINE WHINE... THEY MAKE MORE MONEY THAN ME AND I AM GRUMPY... ITS ALL I HEAR WITH YOUR SILLY NOTIONS....

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 1:29pm

        Re: Re: The tear-jerking story of a millionaire cheated by a billionaire.

        Dave Prowse is hardly a millionaire.
        He's appearing at comic and sci-fi conventions to make money.
        He can't work at his profession (stunt man/actor) due to severe arthritis and weakness due to radiation therapy for prostate cancer.
        Sound like a millionaire to you?

         

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        weneedhelp (profile), Jun 1st, 2012 @ 9:58am

        Re: Re: The tear-jerking story of a millionaire cheated by a billionaire.

        Why do you hate artists/actors so much?

         

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      Any Mouse (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 7:49pm

      Re: The tear-jerking story of a millionaire cheated by a billionaire.

      So... you're all for the artists except when the producers, recorders and collection societies say that you shouldn't be, then boo hoo for them. Gotcha. Why don't we just play hide and go fuck yourself?

       

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    ArkieGuy (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:55am

    Net VS Gross

    The net profits (those generated via the interNet using "approved" means) are smaller than the gross profits (those earned by the studio). Since the actors are paid on net profits, they will never make residuals. ;)

    But seriously, it's easy for a studio to increase it's cost by greasing the hands of MPAA (and it's past employees that later go on to become judges dealing with copyright cases), lobbyists and politicians. I mean really, which is "better" for the industry, paying the actors or making sure the status quo is maintained?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:01am

    Prowse: "I don’t want to look like I’m bitching about it, but on the other hand, if there’s a pot of gold somewhere that I ought to be having a share of, I would like to see it."

    Hollywood: "I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further."

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:01am

    Me too!

    I Still haven't gotten my cut from Mel Brooks, damn it. And I gave twice...no thirty times the performance of some silly Darth Vader.

    My tie was a penis and balls, damn it. BALLS. That's comic gold right there.

    You've been warned, Mel. I am coming for my Schwartz....AND my penis necktie....

     

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    NSILMike (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:02am

    TSA officers arrested on drug charges in Conn.

     

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      NSILMike (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:03am

      Re: TSA officers arrested on drug charges in Conn.

      Sorry... posted in wrong article.

       

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        blaktron (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:34am

        Re: Re: TSA officers arrested on drug charges in Conn.

        Sad part is you don't even need to have it spelled out to know its Oxycotin. But drug advances are SOOO good for society, we don't need traditional medicine...

         

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    Duhhhh, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:25am

    Hollywood Accounting

    Just go watch Mel Brooks "The Producers"... ROFL.

     

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    MattP, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:40am

    Ah, the good ole Gross Profit vs. Net Profit accounting.

    FTA:

    "Gross profit is what you get if you are a big enough actor or producer to demand this. You get a percentage of profit based on the gross of the film – how much it makes before any costs. Therefore, you are guaranteed to get paid since the studio can’t hide anything. Very few people can demand gross points. But if you have them and your film hits big, you make millions. In fact, this can be so profitable you will sometimes see big stars forgo any salary at all except union minimum just to get these points.

    Unfortunately, Mr. Prowse relates what is almost universally the case with a net profit clause. Studios almost never pay on this clause, as they claim nearly any and every expense possible to keep the film from showing any actual profit. Very few films have ever shown a net profit on the books.

    How do they do this? Well first, imagine that George Lucas decided to go to New York tomorrow to talk about showing Return of the Jedi in 3D. And he stayed at the Ritz Carlton, ordered sushi at 3 a.m. from room service and used the hotel phone to call Bahrain to make prank calls.

    Well, 26 years after the release of the film, the accountants at Lucasfilm are going to charge $86,000 to the costs of Return of the Jedi. I am NOT joking. This is what they do. If George Lucas utters the words Star Wars and he’s spending money, they’re putting it on the red line for one of those films.

    On the flipside, Mr. Prowse would be wise to use the FORCE, aka a lawyer, to get Lucasfilm to cough up. You see, as you can tell by the above, the accounting is utter bullshit. And on a film like Return of the Jedi, Lucasfilm would be extremely reluctant to open its books in open court. Extremely reluctant because of how incredibly embarrassed studios have been in the past when they have made the mistake of doing this. Plus, the ensuing publicity would be embarrassing to Lucasfilm. Can you imagine the hedlines if Darth Vader sued George Lucas?

    In short, if you have net participation on a film that has grossed hundreds of millions, you may get some dough, but you’ll have to sue to get it."

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 1:25pm

      Re:

      On the flipside, Mr. Prowse would be wise to use the FORCE, aka a lawyer, to get Lucasfilm to cough up. You see, as you can tell by the above, the accounting is utter bullshit. And on a film like Return of the Jedi, Lucasfilm would be extremely reluctant to open its books in open court. Extremely reluctant because of how incredibly embarrassed studios have been in the past when they have made the mistake of doing this. Plus, the ensuing publicity would be embarrassing to Lucasfilm. Can you imagine the hedlines if Darth Vader sued George Lucas?

      I would pay to see the documentary film of exactly that.

       

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    Jason, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 12:10pm

    so why does this man deserve tons of money for something he did so long ago. he should have bought stocks in the company.

     

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      HothMonster, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 12:23pm

      Re:

      so why does this one company deserve a ton of money for something they did so long ago? They should have invested the money

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 12:16pm

    I got a simple thing to say to all of you.

    WHY THE FUCK DO ANY OF YOU GIVE A DIME TO MAFIAA ???

    I have not payed them for anything in over 5 years now and I never will.I wait the extra week or two and then I buy my stuff used.And I do not go to a theater or support Netflix,Amazon,ITUNES,etc.

    BUY USED !!! STOP FEEDING PIGS !!!

     

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      crade (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 12:53pm

      Re:

      buying used still helps out the primary market. You are just giving them your dime indirectly.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 5:07pm

      Re:

      Used is still helping them.

      Stop buying or pirate but do not in any circumstances PAY! anything for any product or SERVICE(this includes radio, Netflix and TV I'm afraid) that they can monetize.

      You have other options, open options that you can make use of it.

      The license is everything today if it is not open you are helping them become bolder.

       

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        crade (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 8:48pm

        Re: Re:

        They control the laws. If you don't buy they will levy, if they can't levy they will sue, if they can't sue they will change the law so they can levy and sue. We have to take that power away before anything else can be done.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 12:25pm

    toys doesnt need to license its face, bad luck.

     

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    akp, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 12:41pm

    Re: AC

    "Has any actor in this situation ever tried a legal action to pierce the corporate veil and get at the studio's profits when the shell corporation is bankrupt?"

    As I understand it, this is what Peter Jackson did when New Line attempted to cheat him out of his share of the Lord of the Rings profits (using the same math).

    As I also understand it, he won.

     

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    Jimr (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 12:42pm

    He silly to ask for a % of profit. He should have ask for a % of the gross.

     

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      Hothmonster, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 5:09pm

      Re:

      "We loved your audition, would you please be our vader"
      "yes, but i would like a % of gross on the film"
      "NEXT!"

       

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    NullOp, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 12:46pm

    Stealing

    If you want to know who REALLY steals from the artists look no further than MPAA. Ever wonder why so many actors setup their own companies? Now you know...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 1:20pm

    Prowse was reported to reply to the letter sent to him with the following:

    "I find your lack of accounting disturbing."

     

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    These are not the driods, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 1:39pm

    At least one lawsuit has been brought against one studio for these practices:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buchwald_v._Paramount

    Cheers...

     

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    PrometheeFeu (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 2:11pm

    Wait, does that mean LucasArt went bankrupt before they allowed George Lucas to mess up episodes 4-6 or have the idea of filming episodes 1-3? That's amazing!

     

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    PandaMarketer (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 2:40pm

    comments TL;DR

    What I would like to know if is anyone else is getting the same letter from Lucasfilm. If it's just him, then that's fishy. If everyone is getting them, then it's business as usual.

     

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    Steve, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 6:36am

    They have been screwing Mr. Prowse from day one. What a joke! Just like our bs "government"..."we don't have any money, we don't have any money"....but then you look at lucasfilm's lot, land and facilities. I realize there is crazy overhead but they also made beyond crazy money! Unreal how people can actually believe they can send a letter to him like that...it's not like he's living under a rock and thinking, oh well, maybe next month. episodes 1-3 sucked by the way George!

     

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    AJBarnes, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 6:41am

    MPAA Math lesson

    Receipts from movie: $1 bazillion dollars
    Cost to make move: $1 hundred million dollars
    Cost lost to pirates: $3 katrillion dollars
    Net profit Nothing!

     

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    Nicholas Alexander (profile), Sep 14th, 2011 @ 12:02pm

    Secrets and Lies

    Thank you for this information. Creative accounting at its very worst - contracting in bad faith - it is commercial theft of contractual obligation.

    Why can't Mr Vader, err Prowse sue them for breach of faith? It not seem so much an issue of copyright, but it is a breach of the intent of the contract and Lucasfilm should be embarrassed into paying their dues.

    It is not dissimilar to the bad faith exhibited by bankers who pay themselves massive bonuses after tax payer bailouts in the UK as the cost of living sky rockets and wages are stagnant.

    Star Wars would have been forgettable without David Prowse.

     

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    Mark, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 5:54pm

    If it's not profitable anymore, then maybe they should put it in the public domain, and stop spending money on it!

    Really... if it's not making them any money, what do they have to lose? And meanwhile, many people who might not have otherwise seen it would be legally able to!

    Oh... that's right... it's not about money. It's about control.

    But if that's the case, why are they being stingy about paying their actors? I mean, if they want their control so badly, why should the actors not get paid because of it? More generally, what gives them the idea that they should be able to have anything that they want without having to pay fairly for it? I'm pretty sure that's not all that dissimilar an attitude from people who pirate their movies.

     

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    hmm (profile), Sep 19th, 2011 @ 7:22am

    police time!

    Breaking News.....

    George Lucas arrested, previous owner of the skywalker ranch found buried near the outhouse!

    We wondered how he afforded that place, said a neighbour, "after all, NONE of his films showed any sort of profits at all, and if you ask me they should be checking how Lucasarts gets the money to create its games, I think they're killing real people and pixellating them!"

    In further news, homeless victims found in Skywalker ranch basement covered in glue with jarjar ears taped to their heads....."It's CGI, honest!" said a burbling PA as she was hauled away for fraud.

     

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    MondoGordo, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 12:57pm

    RoTJ still in the hole ... makes sense.

    Not trolling ... but if ...

    George Lucas got 15% of gross
    Mark Hamill got 5% of gross
    Carrie Fischer got 5% of gross
    Harrison Ford got 5% of gross
    Jim Henson got 5% of gross
    The studio got 20% of gross
    The production company got 15% of gross
    The SFX company got 10% of gross
    ILM got 10% of gross
    Distributors got 10% of gross
    (that's 100% btw)
    and the film cost 132 million to make ... then it will NEVER make a profit ... and will always be 132M$ in the hole ... that is simple math ... if you spend everything you earn before the bills get paid, then you'll always be in the hole.

    Which is a great way for unscrupulous a-holes to screw over the little guy. Not that i want to give them any more ideas .... :(

     

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    ElmiraViking, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 12:01pm

    Imagine how poor Greedo must feel ?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 6:38am

    Well....this should help....

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-13506_3-20110618-17/star-wars-breaks-blu-ray-sales-records/?part=rss&s ubj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-20

    "...the "Star Wars" Blu-ray set generated $84 million..."

    So...esplain again...how is it "not profitable"?

     

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    bongo houzi (profile), Dec 2nd, 2011 @ 12:00pm

    Forbes list of top 500 richest says Lucas is a billionaire due solely to the Star Wars franchise.

     

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    mojo, Dec 8th, 2011 @ 11:47am

    I wonder if the studios report to their shareholders that they have never made a profit?

    Very unlikely, of course.

    FOX to shareholders: "This quarter our movies made billions! The stock is soaring!"

    FOX to actors: "This quarter we didn't make any money, sorry we can't pay you."

    Wouldn't that be an immediate example of two very different accounting ledgers?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2011 @ 2:37pm

    Springtime for hitler in germany

     

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    Chris K, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 5:45pm

    That's not right

    Hi Dave, Good for you for going public. However, now that Disney (one of the stingiest film companies in town) owns LucasFilm, you're probably going to have to sue like Peggy Lee, who eventually won. Good luck!

    Christina, your Washington DC Publicist.

     

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