I think two of the biggest production companies now in the business are Tyler Perry and Rainforest Films. I am a huge fan of Tyler Perry. He has his niche and is really hard working. He receives a lot of criticism but any person that went from homeless to half a billon you have to commend. I am also a huge fan of Rainforest. I look at myself and see that we are all in different lanes and important to the business. Those guys have studio deals and produce movies that cost from $10 million to $25 million. A lot of times with studio deals they want you to recycle that one type of film but with me I want to do drama’s, romantic comedies or a foreign language movie. As an independent producer I want films in Sundance and SXSW and the Cannes Film Festival. A lot of times they try to lump everybody in the same category but I’m not in a hurry for a studio deal. I admire those guys and I think we just need to continue to push and make quality films.
On April 10th you tweeted, “I just did a deal with Bunim/Murray Productions to start creating more reality shows again. Tuesday = I’m not leaving no money on the table!” What can we expect from this deal?
As of recently I don’t like the state of reality TV. There were no girls puling each other’s hair out on the shows I’ve produced like The Ultimate Hustler and I Married a Baller. With reality TV it has to be positive and now I’m working on something really big. It’s about one of the wealthiest Black families in the country that owns the majority of a small town. Everybody in the family has PhD’s. The father has schools named after him. You would never think a Black family owned this much in one town. The father is a doctor and was the first Black accepted into Emory or one of these top schools in the 1940’s. It’s a story that more African-Americans have to see.
You had another interested tweet on April 16th when you wrote, “Why is it that the person complaining about not enough quality Black films being made is the same person who would go buy a bootleg DVD #SMFH” Do you feel like audiences in the Black community don’t support Black films enough?
If you look at the 1990’s that is the heyday of Black films. Everything from Friday to Set it Off, and they didn’t all make a lot of money at the box office but home video sales were. New Jack City made $60 million on home video. If you look at a White film like The Tourist, it is considered a flop in the States with only $60 million at the box office and it cost $100 million to make, but internationally it did $275 million outside of the U.S. [Editor’s Note: The Tourist grossed an estimated $67 million domestically and $210 million in the foreign market.] With Black movies we don’t’ have the luxury to get released all over the world. So if they can’t make money off the film in the other 50 territories it has to make a lot of money on DVDs. Then when they bootleg DVDs it really does directly affect how many Black movies get made because it affects profits. I think people don’t realize that and you’re not saving money buying a bootleg for $5; you’re hurting your community.