Microbudget surge yields big profits (VARIETY)- Charles Newberry

Though Argentina has an enviable system for state film-financing, now copied around Latin America, money remains tight, and the doling out of credits and subsidies can take years. Most of the country’s annual 100-feature output begins out-of-pocket, financed by sideline businesses in commercial and TV production or the proceeds of prior releases until a finished film can start fetching coin from festival screening fees and exhibition.

Even then, a profit is not guaranteed, despite the fact that Argentina is the busiest production market in Latin America. Production is brisk largely because of a “no matter what” attitude gleaned from years of economic crises.

“We are used to working in a crisis, and this is a source of creativity,” says Natalia Smirnoff, director of “Puzzle.”

In response, new production and exhibition models have emerged to make a profit, sometimes paying off quite handsomely.

For example, while international horror franchises (such as “Saw”) have earned a loyal following, Argentine attempts at the genre have been relegated to DVD for decades. To tap the full B.O. potential of horror pics, Pampa Films, a leading genre producer, boarded “Cold Sweat” with horror experts Paura Flics — a venture that is paying off.

The film, which earned $500,000 domestically on its release early this year, recovered its $250,000 production budget and P&A costs, paving the way for profits in subsequent sales to foreign markets, DVD and TV, says Hernan Moyano, a producer at Paura.

The model is underpinned by low-cost production, a well-practiced art in Argentina.

“You have to be very ingenious and squeeze as much as possible out of your tools,” says Moyano, who has made horror movies for as low as $6,000. The approach allowed Paura to shoot “Sweat,” a gory kidnapping tale, in 19 days (less than the low-end 25-day average).

And the strategy is crossing over to other genres.

“You have to make a film so it has as little debt as possible when it is finished,” says Ignacio Rey, who produced the low-budget fest fave “La Tigra, Chaco” at Sudestada Cine. That film started recovering its $250,000 outlay from screening fees at festivals, which brought exposure for international distribution deals ranging from $4,000 to $25,000.

Back home in Argentina, however, Rey opted for an eight-month alternative run at indie theaters, with four to five screenings per week, a strategy that grossed $5,000 on 10,000 ticket sales. A traditional commercial release would have snared the same audience in a week before the film got dropped, Rey estimates, but even if he’d earned $20,000 from the same number of admissions, it would have left him with a $30,000 debt after the $50,000 outlay in prints and marketing.

The profit potential is reviving an interest in low-budget filmmaking, with crews multi-tasking and cramming to slim budgets by 40%, says Hernan Musaluppi of Rizoma Films, a producer of Rodrigo Moreno’s “A Mysterious World.”

“There has been a revival of working hard on low-budget films with fewer people because you make more money,” he says. “It isn’t necessarily true that if you spend money you will make a better film.”

More Movies…More Revenue

Thrilled about today’s release (last post) regarding our acquisition of Blood Rites (http://www.bloodritesmovie.com) via wholly owned subsidiary, Saint James Films, LLC — Aside from the fact that the film is a well made, inspired piece of grindhouse/genre goodness, it signifies a major evolution for Saint James Films as a whole.  Why, you may ask?  How is this film different from the others on SJF’s slate for 2012.  We’ve got Captain Battle: Legacy War, Agent Beetle, Lizzie Borden’s Revenge and more on their way to add to our assets/titles, so why is ‘Blood Rites’ so special?

Well, here it is– Blood Rites was not produced in house by Saint James Films–  it also wasn’t financed by Saint James Films, LLC– that saves two things– money and manpower– neither of which we had to exert to assure a quality finished product with exponential revenue potential.  But we do get to MAKE money with it, partnered with the film’s producers, who now have International Distribution on their project with a producer-friendly arrangement in which both parties win accordingly.   So now, thanks to the work of SJF execs, we have a streamlined ability to pick up quality, saleable product, without any of the burden of budget or project management, all the while effecting similar ROI scenarios.  So imagine this on a larger scale as we continue to grow.  Saint James is producing 5-10 of its own films this year, possibly 10 or more next– all the while, acquiring quality projects from accomplished producers and up-and-coming filmmakers for a win-win, creating a multiplier effect on our output.   The potential here is substantial as it positions the already successful business model for precipitous growth in terms of both revenues and title assets in its film library.  SJF is a numbers game.  We don’t make “Marvel: The Avenger’s” returns in terms of numbers.  But we do, in fact have similar ROI.  More Movies. More Revenue.

Very different from our Mike The Pike Productions slate, such as George R.R. Martin’s The Skin Trade or White Space, both of which hold tremendous potential for brand prestige, position and impressive returns.   At the same time, they are very much the same, simply that they operate in different realms– as always, the overall model is that SJF provides consistent near-term revenues, while MTP prepares itself to bask as the next  Summit or Lions Gate Entertainment… Summit, of course was acquired by LGF recently for $400,000,000.   Not bad– and all justified by one little franchise called Twilight, based on a well received book….Lion’s Gate of course found its first footing with 2000’s ‘American Psycho’.  Sounds like a familiar scenario, doesn’t it?  A well received author under option by a budding film company turns out, arguably, two of the most successful mini-majors in the history of film.

Shareholders-  to really get a feel for how powerful the low budget/microbudget model can be in supporting our more ambitious efforts– PLEASE I ask you do just a little bit of ‘homework’ — here’s a few reading assignments:


  http://www.firstshowing.net/2010/paramount-launches-micro-budget-division-insurge-pictures/

  http://www.carseywolf.ucsb.edu/mip/blog/5-things-know-about-trends-independent-film

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low-budget_film

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118036708

Mike The Pike Productions, Inc. Subsidiary, Saint James Films, Acquires International Rights to Grindhouse Gem, ‘Blood Rites’

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FORT WAYNE, IN- August 24, 2012- Mike The Pike Productions (OTC: MIKP) an entertainment company with a focus in feature films, graphic novels and media holdings, including Saint James Films (SJF).  Today, Saint James Films proudly announces that it has acquired Unfiltered Entertainment’s (UE) feature film, ‘Blood Rites’, where Grindhouse meets the macabre.  (http://www.bloodritesmovie.com). 

“This is the first of several acquisitions we plan for the company in win-win agreements with third party producers,” states SJF Chairman, Mark B. Newbauer, who also serves as CEO for Mike The Pike Productions.  “With much thanks to an introduction by Stacey Parks (http://www.filmspecific.com), I feel we’ve struck gold for the business model here, all the while offering a competitive financial advantage for genre producers like SJF and Unfiltered all the while.  

Blood Rites is a bloody mystery in which a drug deal in an abandoned warehouse goes bad; very bad. Leaving the building is not an option. All the exits have been blocked. And somewhere in the darkness is something with a taste for blood and a love of pain. The dealers are being stalked by something worse. For a great demon demands to be born from the fiery depths of hell and its faithful servant has planned a bizarre blood rite that will leave no vein untapped.  

Director, Dorothy Booraem (Wake The Witch), proudly describes the film as “bizarre and grotesque; a wicked blend of crime fiction, mystery, the fantastic, horror and eroticism,” inspired by the works of Horror masters, Lucio Fulci and Dario Argento. 

“This deal is a game-changer for us thanks to help from SJF COO/President, Ted Chalmers, a sales distribution veteran who also serves as CEO for TomCat Films, LLC (http://www.tomcatfilmsllc.com),” states Newbauer. “Ted structured a deal in which SJF is now able to acquire and license rights to movies/content toward increased revenues and additional film library assets, all the while offering talented filmmakers a competitive producer-friendly distribution agreement to ensure exhibition opportunities worldwide. This exponentially increases revenue potential for Saint James Films and its parent company for continued added-value and long-term growth for MIKP and its shareholders.“ 

The film’s writer, producer and D.P. Chad Haufschild, adds, “When we formed Unfiltered Entertainment back in 08, part of our mission was to make movies that we would want to see. We’re all genre fans. Horror, action, crime, mystery, fantasy… That’s the stuff we pay to watch so that’s the stuff we were going to make.  Saint James Films seems the perfect fit for Blood Rites and UE. Their business philosophy is so similar to our own, and I see greater opportunities with them in the near future. They understand genre content better than anyone I’ve spoken with to date. They’re looking ahead and so is UE.”

 

 

Saint James Films will have several properties available for buyers worldwide at this year’s AFM in Santa Monica (http://www.americanfilmmarket.com), including Blood Rites, Lizzie Borden’s Revenge, Captian Battle: Legacy War and more!  AFM expects to host over 1500 buyers from 70+ countries with billions of dollars in buying power.  

Mike The Pike Productions will also be working with a handful of premiere properties on its production slate at AFM including effects-driven sci-fi thriller, ‘White Space’ (currently in post-production) and werewolf mystery-thriller “George R.R. Martin’s The Skin Trade”, based on the award winning novella by the author behind HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’. 

 

Saint James Films' Distributor teams with foreign territory pro, Bender Media Services, for additional revenue potential

Way to go, SJF & TomCat!   Thanks to our partner in SJF, Ted Chalmers– CEO & President of www.tomcatfilmsllc.com– great work!

TomCat Films LLC (www.tomcatfilmsllc.com) President and CEO, Ted Chalmers, is pleased to announce that it has secured Bender Media Services (BMS) to serve as the company’s exclusive distributor for all Latin American territories.

Bender Media Services Corp. offers stellar product and unparalleled experience in sales of film and television product in the Region of Latin America. The company represents Major Independent Companies such as TomCat with product from around the Globe, with a prevalent focus in Latin America.

BMS founder and CEO, Susan Bender, began her career in the television distribution business in 1973 Los Angeles at Metromedia Producers Corp., a subsidiary of Metromedia Inc. owned by John Kluge. Susan was involved in all facets of the distribution business, beginning in accounting, promoted to Executive Director of Worldwide Contract Administration, and further promoted to…READ MORE  

Bender Media Services Corp. offers stellar product and unparalled experience in sales of television product in the Region of Latin America.

 
We represent Major Independent Companies with television product from around the Globe, primarily focusing it’s efforts in Latin America.  Our Library consists of Entertainment, Beauty & Adventure, Extreme Sports, Reality, Lifestyle, Animation, Documentaries, Children’s Programming, Travel, Programming for Men, Movies and MiniSeries.
 MORE SAINT JAMES NEWS ON THE WAY!   While you’re at it, check out Parent company, Mike The Pike Productions’ www.theskintrademovie.com – based on the award winning book by George R.R. Martin, the groundbreaking author behind HBO’s Game of Thrones.

Saint James Films making great strides with new acquisition!

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Really looking forward to sharing this in the coming days, but just to let everyone among our 4,333 followers (and growing) know that our subsidiary, Saint James Films has just inked a game changing deal for the company.  I’m working on a press release to ensure I get the value of the deal across properly, but I’m confident it will give SJF the ability to really maximize its deal flow toward a win-win with our distributor, TomCat Films, LLC and the upflow into development/production for MTP .

MIKP Q2 FINANCIALS

Shareholders– It is with great pleasure that we announced today our DTC eligibility reinstatement.  I was hoping to deliver a second boon in   the form of our posted Q2 financials by midnight tonight and, though the financials are completed and available for posting, we were not able to login to OTCIQ.  That said, I was able to speak to a representative who happened to be there after hours and I am assured our login will be restored in the am at which point we will immediately post the report.

I apologize for not having these in prior to midnight tonight, but I am assured we will seamlessly retain our Current Information Tier status through the night until posting and I will ensure our Q3 will be done in a more timely manner.  For what its worth, we have poured hours of diligent submission and discovery to DTCC to effect the ‘chill’ removal as top priority.  Now that we have achieved eligibility once again, we can proceed less one challenge.  Thank you again for all your support and I hope everyone has a great night.

While you’re waiting, maybe curl up to a good synopsis of www.theskintrademovie.com— Ryan Colucci and I have finalized our outline for the screenplay and go to draft this week.  We will be packaging the film for AFM along with our other properties toward precipitous growth over the next year and many thereafter.

Sincerely,

Mark B. Newbauer

CEO/Producer

Mike The Pike Productions, Inc.

Mike The Pike Productions, Inc. Announces Material Shareholder Update

LOS ANGELES, CA- July 11, 2012- Mike The Pike Productions (OTC: MIKP) an entertainment company with a focus in feature films, graphic novels and media holdings, issues the following update for shareholders in the company in a continued employment of actions toward increased shareholder value in line with company growth, including settlement of debt & liabilities, reduction of authorized and outstanding shares, finalization of feature films, sales and distribution of feature films, development of feature film and graphic novel properties. CEO/Producer, Mark B. Newbauer issues the following report on behalf of the company:
In Q2, Mike The Pike Productions launched an aggressive program to reduce debt and liabilities as well as share structure in a long-term commitment to growth and added-value for its shareholders.
Material transactions in regards to share structure include:
May 23, 2012- Nearly 50%Reduction of Authorized Shares from 5b to 2.586b
June 11, 2012- Reduction of Outstanding Shares by 150,000,000 from 2.586b to 2.436b
June 18, 2012- Reduction of Outstanding Shares by 60,000,000 from 2.436b to 2.376b
June 21, 2012- Reduction of Outstanding Shares by 53,000,000 from 2.376b to 2.323b
June 29, 2012- Reduction of Outstanding Shares by 74,683,347 from 2.323b to 2.249b
June 29, 2012- Reduction of Authorized Shares by 337,683,347 from 2.586b to 2.249b
The company reduced more than 50% of its Authorized Shares and 13.5% of its Outstanding Shares in Q2 with plans for continued added value therein.
Material transactions in regards to reduction of debt/liabilities include:
June 1, 2012- Reduction of Current Liabilities by $190,000
June 7, 2012- Reduction of Long-Term Liabilities by $236,834
June 15, 2012- Reduction of Long-Term Liabilities by $104,000
July 10, 2012- Reduction of Long-Term Liabilities by $142,077
Total reduction of debt and long-term liabilities since Q1 = $672,911 resulting in the lowering of debt/liabilities in total from $1,582,953 to $910,042 with continued plans to reduce debt and build assets through 2012.
FEATURE FILMS: Effects driven sci-fi thriller, White Space, (www.enterwhitespace.com) is currently in post-production. Principal photography took place in Spring/Summer 2011 and Producers are currently working to ensure the film is completed in a timely manner toward the best possible sales outcome. Post Production elements include visual effects, editing, score, color grading among others.
The team looks to have a trailer and/or sizzle reel completed for the film by this year’s American Film Market (www.americanfilmmarket.com) and Producers have already received a number of unsolicited requests from distributors (domestic and foreign) with interest in the project. The film stars Holt McCallany (Gangster Squad, Bullet to the Head) and Zulay Henao (Takers, Fighting, Hostel III) and is written by Clay McLeod Chapman, based on a story by Ryan Colucci (The Skin Trade, Harbor Moon).
The company has also Optioned the rights to the World Fantasy Award Winning ‘The Skin Trade’ (www.theskintrademovie.com) by New York Times Bestselling author, George R.R. Martin, the mastermind behind HBO’s increasingly popular ‘Game of Thrones’. Currently in script stages, Producers Mark B. Newbauer and Ryan Colucci look to package The Skin Trade with director and/or cast with at least 2 additional werewolf projects for this year’s American Film Market.
The company believes both films to have multi-million dollar sales/distribution potential.

As well, the company is currently in negotiation for film rights to another book to be announced upon closing.
Mike The Pike Productions recently acquired Saint James Films, LLC- a movie studio producing highly entertaining genre movies for the worldwide marketplace. The company is headed by Mike The Pike CEO, Mark B. Newbauer and sales/distribution veteran and Ted Chalmers, founder/CEO of genre powerhouse, TomCat Films, LLC (www.tomcatfilmsllc.com )
In addition to projects acquired in the deal, the company under new ownership has produced two feature films, ‘Agent Beetle’ and ‘Captain Battle’ (http://saintjamesfilms.com/?cat=17) which have secured a distribution deal with TomCat and active sales agreements for foreign territories including Germany, Thailand, Malaysia/Singapore and Indonesia and expects additional sales to U.S., Canada, Latin America and other Key Territories. Each film was produced for under $1m and both have recouped their initial budgets into net profits via pre-sales agreements.
Saint James Films (www.facebook.com/saintjamesfilms) has recently begun pre-production on sorority-slasher, ‘Revenge of Lizzie Borden’ and looks to have the film fully finished by end of August 2012 to be presented at this year’s AFM alongside the company’s current slate with announcement of at least two additional projects this year.
SJF is also in negotiation for distribution rights to Zombie franchise, Aftermath, the first picture of which is currently in production.
GRAPHIC NOVELS- Mike The Pike Productions is partnered with Spoke Lane Entertainment (www.harbor-moon.com) to publish three books this year including mind-bending thriller ‘R.E.M’., fantasy ‘Bulderlyns’ and twisted murder mystery, ‘Chasing Rabbits’. Spoke Lane’s Ryan Colucci is overseeing the projects and updates on the books can be found frequently on Colucci’s website http://ryancolucci.wordpress.com/ or the MTP blog. The books are aimed at both profitability and source material for feature film development and/or film rights sales.
Quarterly Report for Q2 is currently underway and the company aims to file before the deadline of August 15, 2012. The company’s goal into 2013 is to continually improve the company’s share structure while reducing debts and increasing revenues toward an uplist to BB, AMEX or NASDAQ.
If you missed the www.stocktraderstalk.com Radio interview and you are a shareholder or prospective shareholder of MIKP, it is highly recommended by company execs that you give a listen as a companion to what all involved feel will be a game changing year for the company.
The interview can be reviewed on STT website, Investorshub Auditorium or on our blog at: http://blog.mtpprods.com/2012/05/23/werewolves-superheros-and-reduced-authorized-share-count/
About Mike The Pike Productions, Inc..: Mike The Pike Productions is an entertainment company specializing in feature films, graphic novels and media acquisitions. Overall, MIKP projects are ‘Mainstream Independent’, combining a well-structured vision with top-tier talent; challenging current standards while maintaining mass appeal. Official Company Website: www.mtpprods.com
CEO Mark B. Newbauer’s bio on IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1474431/bio
MIKP IMPORTANT SHAREHOLDER LINKS:
• Visit our website at www.mtpprods.com
• MTP Facebook: www.facebook.com/MTPfb
• White Space official website: www.enterwhitespace.com
• White Space Facebook: www.facebook.com/enterwhitespace
• George R.R. Martin’s The Skin Trade: www.theskintrademovie.com
• GRRM The Skin Trade Facebook: www.facebook.com/BlackstoneManor
• Subsidiary- Saint James Films, LLC: www.saintjamesfilms.com
• Saint James Films on Facebook: www.facebook.com/saintjamesfilms

Contact:

Mark B. Newbauer
310-986-2734
mark@mtpprods.com