1. Munn vs. Wilde For All The Marbles
Right this moment a storm is a brewin'. Olivia Wilde starred in (I use the term loosely) Tron: Legacy and appears in Cowboys & Aliens later this year. Olivia Munn is rocking The Daily Show and has a television pilot, Perfect Couples, that's on NBC in two weeks. At this juncture things seem stable, as one Olivia is televised and the other is on film. Still, you can't be too safe, so we should probably pit them against each other in a battle for Olivia supremacy.
Let's do this!
Olivia Munn is actually Lisa Munn, her middle name is Olivia. Olivia Wilde was born Olivia Jane Cockburn, she went from Cockburn to Wilde for her stage name. So our choice is really between Lisa and Cockburn. Which is the more egregious change? Not a difficult call, because Olivia going with "Wilde" is a stronger move than going by your middle name.
Munn was raised predominantly in Tokyo, Japan while Wilde, for a short time, attended The Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin, Ireland. This is a clear victory for Munn, as Japan has a population that's roughly 30 times that of Ireland.
Munn co-hosted Attack of the Show and wouldn't be out of place at Comic-Con. Wilde now appears in tentpole movies, has also been to Comic-Con, and was in the The Ballad of G.I. Joe viral short. Still, she looks to be headed for a more mainstream career.
A young Wilde once eavesdropped on a Mick Jagger conversation at a party, as her parents were prominent and well-connected journalists. Munn has published a book called Suck It, Wonder Woman: The Misadventures of a Hollywood Geek. Close call, but The Rolling Stone pedigree wins out.
Munn is extremely funny, and she's not afraid to go the extra mile to make a gag work. Wilde is funny, but she hasn't had to rely on it nearly as often.
And there you have it, a narrow 3-2 for Munn. I know, I'm as shocked as you are, especially because I wagered pretty heavily on Wilde before the contest even started.
2. This Week’s Big Idea: A Publicly Funded Studio
Before we get to the crux of this idea, we need to consider a few seemingly disparate facts. First off, Black Swan, probable Best Picture Nominee, had a $13 million dollar production budget. That's what the film cost to make. We can assume that prints and marketing at least doubled that, so let's call the entire project a $25m expenditure. Solid. The film has made $51m at the box office, which, given the studio/theater split, means they probably have some work to do before a profit comes in. Bright side: once those Academy Award Nominations are announced the studio behind Black Swan, Fox Searchlight, is looking at a tidy profit on DVD and television residuals. That's Fox Searchlight's specialty, they turned a similar investment in Slumdog Millionaire into a win that likely earned them hundreds of millions of dollars.
Next up, consider the following math. $25 dollars multiplied by a million people is 25 million dollars. Good, let's move on to the big idea.
What if a director announced an intent to sell shares in their film to cover production and print costs?
Think of it. Would you invest $25 bucks in a Danny Boyle or Darren Aronofsky film for a chance at $50 later? Or you might even do it just because you're a huge fan of a certain director, and because $25 isn't a huge risk for you. Perhaps you want to buy four shares? Or a hundred?
The idea of a co-op to spread risk and foster creativity is not particularly new or innovative. It is defined as "a business organization owned and operated by a group of individuals for their mutual benefit." Simple enough, right? Now, I'm not talking about projects that would be simply fan funded, like Kickstarter, or the idea Kevin Smith for Red State (which would have worked, for the record). I'm talking about a living and breathing business, one which you could definitely lose your $25 on, and one that would require honest brokers on all sides. This would have to be a business that filed tax documents and was licensed and bonded. This wouldn't be for charity, though there would certainly be an element of goodwill involved, because you probably wouldn't buy into directors you didn't dig ... unless you were simply making bets on the industry. But for less expensive non-effects driven dramas I have no idea why a director doesn't try this out. It would free him/her up creatively, and it would be a gamechanger for the industry. Let’s bring the power of producing to the people!
On that note, I'm off to bet heavily on Colin Firth against Colin Farrell.
Laremy is the lead critic and senior producer for a website named Film.com. He's also available on Twitter.