JUST-STOP FOR A MINUTE…..


Studios—  Drink a bottle of Neuro Bliss and take a step back—-

According to several sources, including the article linked above, Green Lantern cost $200m and only raked in $219m worldwide- barely covering itself—- and it wasn’t even good (opinion or fact? you decide). Forget the additional $100m they pumped into marketing that you won’t hear about.

Meanwhile, ‘Buried’ which also starred Ryan Reynolds— in a box underground for 90 mins, equipped with a zippo lighter and a dying cell phone— raked in the same $19m worldwide yet cost under $2m to produce.  Something to think about—- I wonder how much more it would have made had it been marketed to the masses at even a fraction of the green lantern P&A? (for those that are just waking up from NYE, I’m not really ‘wondering’. It’s more of a trigger word than anything.)

I don’t mean to spotlight Hal Jordan exclusively— it’s not his fault they f*cked him up. I’m sure on certain planets he’s still pretty cool, but it’s a prime example demonstrating the need for studio execs to take a breather and go back to basics yet again.  Now, let’s hope all involved can make use of the cliches of New Year’s, Auld Lang Syne, resolutions and such to make this happen posthaste.

People will think about seeing, and many of those will actually go see, anything that has been advertised enough— this we know— It’s why they pump so much marketing into bad movies.  So try this— start being budget conscious for one— then you can afford to take some risks like you did when the system was falling apart in the 60’s and Easy Rider comes storming in alongside movies like The Graduate, Taxi Driver, The Godfather I & II, Don’t Look Now, Rosemary’s Baby, M*A*S*H*, Dirty Harry, Blazing Saddles (these are just a quick few off a long-list— please feel free to add your own— you all know the era to which I refer…)

Don’t take your losses on mega blockbusters. Continue to make them, by all means— we love them—-just do a better job when it comes to making them.  Don’t murder Superman ever again.  Jesus F*ck, that was bad.  Granted, ages ago, relatively speaking, but I just had to get that out before Man of Steel rightfully corrects the ship (hope hope)

While you’re figuring out how to make these right again (hint: screenplay), take your calculated risks on more avante garde product— no, not a man in a latex suit masturbating in chocolate pudding with a lion mask on, shot in black and white at a dutch angle to illustrate the the dichotomy between what it means to be human and animal all the same.  (please not that)—  I mean start buying product before you go making new stuff that you have to con everyone into seeing.  Vet your development execs better— give them an allowance and have them choose 3-5 films at festival/market – low budget fare, to measure their ‘eye’, and then see how they fare, then take risks on Owen Wilson/Kate Hudson vehicles written by someone with a few great ‘Modern Family’ specs.

Buy product that gives you chills, nightmares, makes you laugh your ass off, even blush while doing so, cry in front of your associates… spend money on that for a little bit— or hand a camera and a dollar bill to those who have proven their ability to do that for you in the first place and then, get the f*ck out of the way. Write the checks and let them do what THEY do.

We’re in for a shake-up, this is for certain— as the pendulum swings, the film market’s digestive track is simply going through a cleansing phase, squeezing out the last bit of waste and fecal matter before the real auteurs come in and steal the screen back, once again, en masse.  I cannot wait to see what this new era brings!

I should also add, and this is crucial to the demise of this year’s B.O. decline,  I think the home video market is shaking things up quite a bit more than the entertainment media gives it credit for— yes we’ve all read articles about what’s happening now and that VOD is strong and markets are being tested, etc.—but look into your crystal ball a bit more— the 80” flatscreens a mainstay on shopnbc, 3D glasses at home, 7.1 sound systems, vs. poor service, selection and pricing at movie theater concession stands, inflated ticket prices in a down economy, turnaround time from theater to La-Z-boy, not to mention a growing concern for overall health, spreading of germs, heating/cooling preferences in theaters,— these things make most say outloud- I’ll just watch it at home.

I love going to the movie theater, as, when its full, the warmth of a crowd— the laughs, the kleenex dabs and the jumps and screams can make even a below-par movie seem a lot more satisfying—-but I see far less the crowd each and every year. Roger Ebert echoes some of this in his own commentary this year. I’m not an extremist- they’ll always find a way to keep the movie theater alive (or at least ‘present tense’ Mark hopes they do), but home entertainment is where a good portion of the box office is going and I’m certain that many of the ‘box office failures’ of 2011 will do just fine in the Home Entertainment market.

That said, here is my short, off-the-cuff List of Studio and Independent Movies of Late That Show We’re Still Alive and Feeling (and all is not nearly as hopeless as we’ve feared):

The Adventures of TinTin (SAS finally figured out how to successfully re-incarnate Indiana Jones!), Inglourious Basterds, Pan’s Labyrinth (a ways back, but still an all-time fave), The Social Network,  Tree of Life (He’s still got it…Malick, that is), Melancholia, Doubt, Let Me In (remake done right), The Fighter, Toy Story 3, Black Swan, Drag Me To Hell, Quantum of Solace (thank you for resuscitating this guy),  Drive, Bridesmaids…again, there are a good handful of others that could be mentioned here, so feel free to add your own!

An education in review:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Hollywood

Happy New Year 2012 from Mike The Pike Productions

Thank you to all who have supported us to date and welcome to those that have just taken notice.  2011 was quite a year for the company— I’ll do my best to spare you the cliche of an overly detailed lookback— but I can’t help but be thankful for the opportunity we had this year to take the motion pictures division full force with sci-fi thriller White Space, now in post-production.  Much thanks goes to producing partner, Ryan Colucci and his Spoke Lane Entertainment, for bringing the project to our table.

White Space is a deep space monster movie set amidst a classic tale of vengeance and obsession, is high-concept and overall large in scale, thanks to a great story and a bevy of high-end special effects.

All involved anticipate an impressive ROI and, the feat itself, accomplishing a film of this magnitude in our embryonic stage, will no doubt pay off in a very big way.  I’m very proud for the accomplishment thus far and thrilled with partners and friends, old and new, who made it all possible.  Looking forward, now that we’ve finally been able to take the steps necessary toward becoming a ‘real live boy! (er, fish), I’m confident that diligence in executing our growth strategy will lead to exponential growth and industry position.  That’s the last of the ‘CEO-speak’ but I say it from the heart, despite the board room lingo.

Then there’s George R.R. Martin’s The Skin Trade.  Wow.  Not much more to say than that in regards to the year of well deserved success for the author (see his comments at http://grrm.livejournal.com/257374.html).   USA Today’s Author of the Year; Time Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential People; New York Times Bestseller List, and 13 Emmy Nominations for HBO’s Game of Thrones.

What does this have to do with Mike The Pike’s adaptation of GRRM’s World Fantasy Award winning werewolf masterpiece, The Skin Trade?  Directly, not much.  But you’ll remember, I optioned the rights to this well before HBO gave a greenlight to Game of Thrones— I did it because I truly loved the story, the characters and the rich universe surrounding what I consider to be the best werewolf fiction ever written.

…and then comes Game of Thrones (by the way, you can toss my efforts to keep this short into a vat of hydrochloric acid)— and the mass appeal the show achieved in just one premiered episode, at which point HBO greenlit a second season and only a few months later, HBO co-Pres, Richard Plepler states boldly that Game of Thrones will go on for as long as George continues to write.   Now George is quickly becoming a brand and the industry has taken note— Syfy just picked up ‘Wild Cards’ and Season 2 of GoT takes flight with Dragons and all in April of this year.

Meanwhile,  I am full force on development and packaging initiatives for ‘The Skin Trade’ to make it the howling success I know it can be.  Yeah, I just said that.  I did. I could backspace, but I’m leaving it.

Short version:  George is the man- and the powers that be are recognizing this.  The success overflow has helped our project achieve a shimmering exterior with which to present and package; then, attach a producing partner with financing capabilities (of which there are already contenders) for an all-out win-win watershed success.

WTF is Spokefish?  Well, glad you asked— Spokefish is our Graphic Novel/Comics/Publishing division.  It was borne as a partnership between Mike the Pike Productions and Spoke Lane Entertainment.  This is something I don’t talk about as much as we could because getting through a graphic novel from start to finish is quite the process— much like a movie—but the process itself, the ‘how does the watch work?’, doesn’t interest those except the proud but few whose idea of online erotic satisfaction is a few hours clicking through DeviantArt.  But boy is the work impressive.  I love receiving new pages, seeing them penciled, then colored, coming to life, step by step, with each new stroke (are you hot yet?)  –

We’ve got three books in production— R.E.M., Bulderlyns and Chasing Rabbits— all from the auteur behind the critically acclaimed Harbor Moon.

If you like dragons, serial killers and paradoxical sleep patterns,  then you’ll love these books.  I cannot WAIT until we finish them. By ‘we’, I mean the artists.  I can hold my own with a good stick figure, and my Ant cartoons circa age 9 were a big hit with the family, but….

Well, Anyway—- Aside from being moderately profitable based on projections, the promise the books really hold (from a purely soul-less financial perspective) are as movie adaptations— be it in-house productions or film-rights partnerships and sales— these are are all solid prospects for screen. These are, for the long-term, the flagship three toward a long-list library we’re developing in-house for book sales and multi-platform storytelling.  Check out more here on our blog and also on our Graphic Novels page, which will be evolving quite a bit in the coming months.

Our second round of GN’s will include one of my own screenplays, one of my very favorites:  ’Children of the Night’, a teen homage to Bram Stoker’s Dracula along with some other delectable treats that may just make you go blind if you look directly at them. Best to use peripheral vision with Spokefish fare- It’s just that good.

Finally, (drumroll, please) the new acquisition. Currently under negotiation, which was announced about a week ago via Press Release.   This opportunity, which originated with my attendance at this year’s American Film Market, is one of the BEST Christmas, New Year’s and Birthday Presents I could have possibly received.  The best ever for Mike The Pike- who I think has had some pretty sh*tty christmas’ in the past (sorry, buddy).

One of the worst was the blur that is 2003-2005, when our beloved ‘Fish in a Barrel’, only months away from pre-production, full-on packaged with Burt Reynolds and Chris Elliott, along with a host of newcomers and some nice pre-sales in place, was taken down by a fraudulent financier— who also took down two other larger projects that same year- with the promise to leverage a letter of credit we were generously bestowed by an Indiana bank and trust company.

Thankfully this charlatan was taken down for Fraud before anyone got hurt too badly, but it was devastating to say the least.  All for a reason, and I couldn’t be happier that Fish in a Barrel will swim to see another day- this I can promise.

Greater thanks goes to all those who have come to know us and support us- including the best family an entrepreneur could ask for- An incredibly beautiful, considerate, “I-don’t-know-how-she-does-it” wife and mother, and our bundles of joy and tiger blood, Billy Bernard and Jacob James;  Parents that shaped me, encouraged me and taught us always to take the high road, and my amazing friends, all with some outstanding guidance, advice and perspective.

You are most like those you surround yourself with and I’m happy to say my ‘circle’ has rounded out quite nicely for 2012, shedding the final bits of those we wanted to trust but ultimately could not, those we wanted to believe in, but let us down.  It’s put up or shut up from here on out— we’re right-on proper and I couldn’t be happier.  Special thanks to www.filmspecific.com and its founder, Stacey Parks.

Nevertheless, some hard years building what is now Mike The Pike Productions.  Stay tuned for news on the new acquisition— All I can say, in a nutshell, since this post has probably worn-out its welcome for most, is ‘So far, so good’…

I’m confident we’ll have final terms negotiated this week, with Purchase and Sale effected a few days thereafter at which point Mike The Pike Productions will gain a wholly owned subsidiary which will provide immediate assets, cash-money earnings and long-term receivables with a consistent stream of low budget fare with an active, predictable buyer/sales scenario at hand.

This brand will be completely separate from the Mike the Pike Productions brand, but, as a wholly owned subsidiary, MTP will enjoy all the fruits of its labor in terms of revenue accumulation on the books and cash-flow for operations, effecting what I feel will be an ultra-positive spin for MIKP in terms of demand vs. supply on the company’s stock.

———

If you skipped over all that, skimming down for whatever catches your eye, you can go f*ck yourself, because I just spent all this time typing it.  Just kidding.

I simply hope that everyone can take the time this year to focus on being a better person, no matter how good you may already feel, you can always be better and inspire those around you to do the same.

This does have a lasting, residual effect and will make for great things you may not have felt possible.  People will surprise you— good and bad, but so long as you always focus on what is right, good things will come to you.

Do the very best job it is you can at anything and everything you do.  Do more things you really love doing.  Find the time.  MAKE the time.  It’s there— we all have 24 hours.  Do something you’ve always wanted to this year.  But don’t forget the key—Make sure you do it with all your heart- and you will thrive.

Highlight Hollywood features Mike The Pike Productions

Kodi Kitchen joins the cast of GENERAL HOSPITAL in the contract role of Maggie, a pediatrician who has ties to another GH staffer. Kitchen began taping yesterday, and her first airdate is Thursday, November 10. To learn more about her, check out the actress’s Official Web site at www.kodikitchen.net.  YOU ARE AWESOME KODI— NICE SCORE! 

Kodi recently wrapped production on sci-fi thriller  ’White Space’, starring Holt McCallany.