10 Updates

Why Gavin Hood Calls Ender's Game 'The Biggest Indie Movie Ever Made'

Feb 19 2014, 12:29pm CST | by

As a best-selling winner of Hugo and Nebula Awards, not to mention written by an author who is virtually a household name among sci-fi fans, Ender’s Game feels like a no-brainer candidate for...

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22 weeks ago

Why Gavin Hood Calls Ender's Game 'The Biggest Indie Movie Ever Made'

Feb 19 2014, 12:29pm CST | by

As a best-selling winner of Hugo and Nebula Awards, not to mention written by an author who is virtually a household name among sci-fi fans, Ender’s Game feels like a no-brainer candidate for adaptation. And particularly given Hollywood’s current obsession with uncovering the next blockbuster Young Adult franchise, it seems like investors would be lining up in droves to bankroll the first installment in what could become a series of as many as 16 films.

But according to writer-director Gavin Hood, he struggled to secure financing for the project. More specifically, Hood and a small group of collaborators had to scrounge together enough money to create a “proof of concept” reel to sell the film to investors before they could go into production, much less sell the finished product to audiences.

“The team is small, and you’re starting out with the script and how you’re going to visualize it,” Hood explained at the recent press day for the Ender’s Game Blu-ray, which was released Feb. 11. “At this stage the movie is not financed. There’s this little team, and we don’t have much money.”

“This is an indie movie,” he said. “Probably the biggest indie movie ever made.”

After determining that the film’s zero-gravity battle theater would be the centerpiece of their presentation, Hood worked with visual effects supervisor Matthew Butler to create a $25,000 “sizzle reel” where Ender gears up for a combat session. “We’ve got this little, little bit of money, and we’ve got to show how the battle room is going to work,” he remembered. “It has to be amazing. We have to make a 45-second teaser to take to Cannes to show to foreign buyers and get them excited so they’ll prebuy the movie.

“So we were working at that stage towards a little 45-second teaser that we hoped would make people go wow, zero gravity in space can work.”

The only hitch with producing that teaser? Nobody was officially signed on to the movie yet – not even Hood. “I was not on payroll then,” he admitted. “Sir Ben [Kingsley] was working at a very reduced rate. Everybody was trying to do what they needed to do… we pulled a lot of favors.”

Even with Card’s words – and the acclaim they received in the decades since first being published — providing a vivid foundation for the filmmakers to work from, Hood said that he knew he needed something tangible to show potential investors so they had a sense of what the final product would look like. “Illustrations, like of the kids in the battle room, are really important when you’re trying to sell what you’re trying to do to your producers,” he said.

“If they’re like, ‘Well, what does thing look like?’ you can’t snap your fingers and have it. You’ve got to go through this process, and then you show them – this is where we’re going.”

Given the limits of their budget, not to mention the absence of a cast, Hood and his collaborators knew they wouldn’t be able to create footage that was as photorealistic as the images would appear in the final film. But at the same time, they had to produce something distinctive and at least close to what they hoped to achieve, if for no other reason than to quell the skepticism of money men and –women who might worry that what they were watching in the presentation would be identical, flaws and all, to what ended up in the movie.

“What’s tricky when you’re selling, because that’s what you’re doing, is if you show something too rough, people who are not familiar with this or don’t know it freak out, they go, ‘Oh – is that what it’s going to look like? It’s horrible’,” Hood said. “And so you’ve got to choose your moments very carefully, and you want to do one or two great pieces of concept art – here’s a beautiful image of those kids — so they go, ‘oh, that’s what we’re doing’.”

Eventually, Hood and co. were able to secure more than $110 million in financing, which brought those investors some $112 million in receipts, suggesting that the adaptation wasn’t quite the box office slam dunk that it seemed like it might be. Notwithstanding its prospects on home video, it remains to be determined whether Orson Scott Card’s personal politics affected audience interest, or moviegoers simply didn’t warm to the movie in a way the filmmakers might have hoped. But Ender’s Game highlights a Hollywood lesson as valuable as any intellectual property: in order to get your voice heard, you will ultimately have to put your money where your mouth is.

Source: Forbes Business

 
Update
10

6 weeks ago

RM47mil KWSG contributions still unclaimed

Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

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KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan Rakyat was ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
9

6 weeks ago

Gold shop lost almost RM1mil

Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

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Update
8

6 weeks ago

Motion to debate MAS losses in Dewan Rakyat rejected

Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Federal Aviation Administration Bans All US Flights To Israel
KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was rejecte ...
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Update
7

6 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Minister, Datuk ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

6 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

INDIA-CHINA-DIPLOMACY-TRADE
PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Selata ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

6 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Government Weekly Cabinet Meeting
KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2.78 million i ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

6 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry Minister ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

7 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

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JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involving an allocation of RM20 million. ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

7 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

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PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan Bazaar Sche ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
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1

7 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion Kinra ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

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