DayeTime: Ups and downs of showbiz

In baseball, a .333 batting average is respectable. It means you got a hit and made it to base one out of every three times you came up to bat.

I’m not sure the same holds true in the realm of producing and financing movies.

Avoyelles’ member in the movie production club is Acacia Filmed Entertainment, which is a partnership of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe and Australian movie producer Matthew George’s Savvy Media Holdings. Marksville is listed as the company’s home.

Its first movie was the critically acclaimed, profit-making "Wind River." It had a production budget of $11 million and earned $45 million.

Even that good news was at least temporarily marred because of disgraced showbiz figure Harvey Weinstein’s connection with the distribution of the murder mystery thriller.

The company got a lot of good press by taking steps to remove The Weinstein Company stain from the film and donate profits that would have gone to TWC to a non-profit organization serving Native American women who are victims of domestic abuse.

Three Native American members of that cast also came to Marksville for a special “red carpet event” screening of the film.

It is believed the film’s chances for any Oscar awards may have been damaged by Weinstein’s earlier involvement.

The last two Acacia projects have been neither critically acclaimed nor financially successful. Both were directed by Rob Reiner and both starred Woody Harrelson.

Neither had a promotional “red carpet” event at the local cinema, which is also owned and operated by the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe.

"LBJ" never showed here at all. "Shock and Awe" did have a short run on the local silver screen.

Fortunately there were several investors in the two Reiner projects, so the losses were shared and Acacia didn’t take the full hit.

"LBJ" was actually finished before "Wind River," but took time to find a company willing to distribute it.

It cost about $20 million to produce the film. It earned only $2.5 million in theaters and another $224,000 in DVD sales.

The most recent film was "Shock and Awe," which earned almost $78,000 in a month of showings at a handful of theaters earlier this summer.

A search of the internet could not uncover how much it cost to produce the movie, but there is an interview in which Reiner said he had to inject his own money into the film to cover a deficit.

Prior to the last two films in which Acacia was involved, Reiner directed four other box office bombs.

"Flipped" (2010) cost $14 million and made less than $2 million.

"The Magic of Belle Isle" (2012) only cost $5 million, but made only $102,388.

"And So It Goes" (2014) had a production cost of $18 million and earned $15 million.

"Being Charlie" (2016) only showed on a handful of screens to gross $30,400. I couldn’t find the production cost number online.

Of those six, "LBJ" had the highest score on the online “Rotten Tomatoes” film review site, at 55. "Flipped" had a 54 score. The other four scores were "Shock and Awe" at 35, "Magic of Belle Isle" at 30, "Being Charlie" with a 24 and "And So It Goes" with 18.

"Wind River," the non-Reiner Acacia project, has an 87 score.

The “Metacritic” site for Acacia shows its score for the company’s three films.

"Wind River" leads with a 73 score followed by "LBJ" at 54 and "Shock and Awe" with 45.

At this time it is not known when Acacia will step back up to the plate. If the past two at-bats are any indication, I would hope they won’t be back on the Reiner-Harrelson team.

Maybe writer/director Taylor Sheridan can put together a "Wind River II" to get the team back on a winning track.

Otherwise, Acacia may find itself sitting on the bench or risking “strike three.”

Then again, you can’t hit a home run if you never swing at the ball.

AVOYELLES JOURNAL
BUNKIE RECORD
MARKSVILLE WEEKLY

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