The Master. Spring Breakers. Zero Dark Thirty. American Hustle. Her. Foxcatcher. Everybody Wants Some. Sausage Party. Phantom Thread. Sorry to Bother You. Vice. Booksmart. Hustlers. Bombshell.
If all those movies were developed, championed and produced by one company, or one person, you’d be pretty impressed…wouldn’t you? If just half of those movies were funded and send to film festivals by one company, or one person, you’d want to meet them. If just two (any two) of those movies were on your own IMDb page, associated with you, you’d be pretty impressed with yourself, no?
Enter Megan Ellison, the Robin Hood of the independent film world. Taking from the rich (her father, Larry Ellison, worth $64 billion) and giving to the poor (independent filmmakers and creative types) in order to bring about a renaissance of film in a way that the major studios never had the balls to renaissance the thing themselves.
At first, Ellison just gave money to the poor from the back of her grey ’89 Aston Martin, parked along the side of the road outside production companies and development houses. She’d find movies like Sausage Party that no one was willing to bet on, and bet on it. She’d champion filmmakers like Spike Jonze in order to get the Joaquin Phoenix-starring Her into theaters. But sometimes, those movies weren’t released in the way Ellison wanted them released, and so she did what anyone with hundreds of millions of dollars to make movies would do…she started her own company, Annapurna.
They hired a sizable staff. A chef. Bought sweet offices. Invested in more movies. Bigger movies. Some of them, like Western The Sisters Brothers, cost more than it should have (i.e. $30-40 million) and never made back enough money to even notice an imperceptible corner of profit at the edge of the financial horizon. The cost of a talented staff and the marketing and awards spend that Ellison dedicated to her babies eventually caught up with her and films that Annapurna had developed and produced, like Hustlers and Bombshell went to more well-funded suitors like STX and Lionsgate.
And then came the talks of the Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, the $350 million that was owed to the banks, and father/rich guy Larry Ellison coming into the belly of the Annapurna beast to give his daughter a lesson in smart spending and fiscal responsibility.
Come on, Larry.
You can’t fake talent. Or taste. Or an almost inhuman ability to take the kinds of risks others don’t have the stomach to take. Hollywood is filled with people who only say Yes when they’ve got major backup. Most of the time it’s a blatant No. But someone like Megan Ellison, with a truck of crisp hundies, ready to invest in the kinds of movies you saw up there in the original graph of this Official Face Slap of an Opinion Piece, shouldn’t be silenced. She shouldn’t be given guardrails.
She should be given back the purse strings to Annapurna.
So sayeth I.
Did you know in Canada, no movies or TV shows really have to make money? It’s a CULTURAL NECESSITY, to have art and movies and television shows and big companies and the government and the taxes that the innocent, responsible, no-gun-toting citizens of Canada contribute to ART is a part of what they just hafta do. They get their appendix removed for free, but they pay for the latest mystery program airing Thursday nights on Bell Cable.
That sounds like a pretty good idea to me. Shave off some money from everyone’s taxes, then assign said monies to a slate of titles produced by a slate of smart people, and then give people the opportunity to watch them without anyone worrying about what they cost, if they were profitable and how they’re going to make their money back.
This is about art. And Megan Ellison. The Robin Hood of film.
I consider Larry Ellison and his billions of dollars to be the equivalent of a small, reasonable country. I consider Megan Ellison to be the filmmaking citizens of said, small reasonable country. I hereby ask Larry Ellison (until this government gets off its ass to do something about it) to grant his daughter full control of the purse strings once again, the company Annapurna, and an additional $1 billion dollars so she can continue to make the kind of art we want to see, but don’t want hampered by the never-ending negative spin cycle of Hollywood perception.
Can we just do that, please?
Have you noticed that Annapurna has been relatively quiet lately? Have you noticed that the output has slowed? Have you noticed that Robin “Megan Ellison” Hood has been restricted from flying by the seat of her infamous pants by Dear Old Dad?
It’s time to change this horrible turn of events.
And so, on this Friday… A Friday that movies like Dr. Doolittle have arrived to hammer us all into submission with CGI talking animals… I plead…I beg that we do something to get Megan back in that grey Aston Martin, parked on the street, giving out money to the kinds of projects she can feel in her bones are gonna be the next Her. Or The Master. Or Sausage Party.
Because without her, what the hell are we gonna do?
Go to Canada?
I don’t even wanna thing aboot that.