February 13th, 2008

In Hollywood, there are no "net" profits

From today's LA Times:

"By all rights, Deborah Gregory should be sitting pretty: As a first-time author, she wrote the Cheetah Girls novels, a bubbly, 16-book series that became hugely popular with American tweens and teens. And she appeared to hit an even bigger jackpot when she sold the dramatic rights to the Disney Channel. Her breezy, street-smart tales of five girls chasing pop music careers were turned into two hit television movies, and a third is now being filmed in India. Cheetah Girls CDs and DVDs have sold in the millions, and concert tours have hit more than 80 cities. Meanwhile, Disney's fabled merchandising machine flooded the market with Cheetah Girls shoes, dolls, toothbrushes, video games, backpacks, note pads, pillows, posters, T-shirts and the like. Gregory expected to get a piece of the action when she signed a 2001 contract promising her 4% of the net from all of this activity."

Okay, even I know there are never any net profits on a movie. Not on paper anyway. The guy who wrote Forest Gump was supposed to get part of the net profits, but they said there weren't any. Same goes with Art Buchwald and Coming to America.

Parts of the story are a bit strange, though. Like this: "Gregory's 16 novels went on to sell an estimated 2 million copies for which she got a total of $180,000 in advances." Okay, say they were all paperbacks. And she got 50 cents for each one sold. Maybe she got $180K in advances, but it sure seems like she should have gotten a lot more than that, eventually. But there is no mention of that.

Read more here.

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