Being A Hollywood Agent Will Suck For A While


The William Morris-endeavour merger has the entertainment world buzzing. There are big agents changing firms, stars’ futures in flux because of it and chatter about key execs at William Morris getting rich off the deal.

All that notwithstanding, if any agent made money on this deal, they should fight off the temptation of a Zegna shopping spree and head straight to their local bank. A nice money market fund is the right move.

Why? When the only bright spot in the business is the fact that the worst financial crisis since the Depression has made going to the movies the only remaining alternative to a weekend in Turks and Caicos (or Branson, for that matter), things are bad.


•DVD sales fell 14 per cent to $2.9 billion in the first quarter of 2008.

•All pre-recorded home entertainment—DVDs, Blu-ray and Web downloads—dropped 5 per cent to $5.3 billion during the same period, according to the Digital Entertainment Group.

•Kim Masters at the Daily Beast reminds us that the number of pilots being shot has fallen to 60 this year from 100 in 2007.

Movie stars are being paid less, and they’re not getting those big bonuses until the studios recoup more of their investments. Just a few months ago, L.A. lawyer Sky Moore wrote in The Hollywood Reporter that:
“It is time to hold actors to their contracts — including the longer-term agreements I advocate — and sue them when they breach.”

•And that may not be just bluster from the studio side. In a Q&A with us a few weeks back, Moore told us the pressure has become tangible. “Offers right now are going out at a fraction of what they used to be, sometimes as much as 50%. There just aren’t as many offers. Half of the films are getting made. Volume drop has been big.”

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