Sunday, January 13, 2013

Empire Builders

It's not just Seth McFarlane and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

... Taking after the Gnomes on the animated series who ardently practice American capitalism, Trey Parker and Matt Stone have wooed investors and raised money to form their own production studio, which they plan to announce on Monday.

The new company is to be called Important Studios and hopes to be just that. With an estimated value of $300 million built on revenue from “South Park,” now in its 16th season on Comedy Central, and the Broadway megahit “The Book of Mormon,” the studio will have the power and money to approve television, movie and theater projects, including a big-screen version of “The Book of Mormon.” ...

“We want to have a little control over our life,” [Matt Stone] explained. “We used to walk into a studio and try to become an employee. We’re done with that. We are too grown up for that.” ...

Government regulations at one time required that distributors could not also create their own product. That's why studios like Hanna-Barbera and DePatie-Freleng flourished. They could own their shows, even as NBC and ABC broadcast them. But the regulations restricting "vertical integration" ended years ago, and independent studios making and owning their own television series and theatrical movies pretty much ended with them.

DreamWorks Animation is, of course, one exception to this rule. Mr. Parker and Mr. Stone might end up being another. There are always, despite the stacked decks in our fine, corporatist state, a chosen few with the leverage, clout and money to be Owners rather than Employees.


Site Meter