The two Hollywood titans — who have three Oscars between the both of them, and who’ve starred in, written and directed countless hit films over the years — announced Sunday they were launching something called Artists’ Equity … which speaks exactly to their goal here.
The idea behind this new enterprise is to host and cater to the top talent in the film and TV industry — but instead of paying ’em bank up front, the way a big studio/streamer might these days on talent-for-hire, BA and MD are taking it old-school … with a cut of the profits.
Back in the day, pre-streaming, that was the playbook in showbiz. Actors and directors and other folks attached to a flick would get be contractually entitled to cash after the fact based on how well something did at the box office. If a movie crushed it over time, it could mean way moolah than a one-time payout — high as it may seem at first — which is SOP now.
Ben and Matt wanna bring that back, with BA explaining to the NYT … “As streamers have proliferated, they have really ended back-end participation, and so this is partly an effort to try to recapture some of that value and share it in a way that’s more equitable.” He went on to add, “Not just writers and directors and stars. But also cinematographers, editors, costume designers and other crucial artists who, in my view, are very underpaid.”
Artists’ Equity also aims to do what big studios can’t … getting out of the way, and letting creatives have actual ownership/control of their vision without all the politics that tend to hinder production, sometimes for the worst. At AE, Ben and Matt are adopting laissez-faire.
It’s a neat idea … and it’s not just a pipe dream either. Matt and Ben have secured at least $100 million in initial financing from RedBird Capital Partners — plus an undisclosed amount of dough from their own pockets. Ben says he’s going to lend his services exclusively to Artists’ Equity going forward. Matt’s committed to a handful of films as well.
The two Boston boys are making moves … and movies too! ?