Working title links answerbook


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Working title links answerbook

  1. 1. You should familiarise yourself with the Working Title Films site. Thishas plenty of good things about the company and its films. It might beinteresting, for example, to use the poster gallery and trailers to seehow the films have been promoted and the target audience that theyhave in mind.It might be useful to focus on a couple of films that you know/like tosee if you can get a more complete picture of their production history.If you go to imdb you can look up individual films etc and then downthe left hand side are links to all sorts of things. If you click on‘company details’ it will indicate whether Working Title produced thefilm on its own or as a co-production with other company/companies Bevan and Eric Fellner have been described as the "Brit flicks twin towers ofpower", Britains "movie moguls" and "gamblers with excellent taste and instincts".The early films were a mixture of left-of-centre independent films, such as Sammyand Rosie Get Laid, and support for American indie productions, such as TimRobbins Bob Roberts.In 1999 Working Title signed a reported $600m deal with film giant Universal. Whilethe overall deal is probably exaggerated, it gave the pair the power to commissionfilms with a budget up to $35m without even consulting their pay masters.Their most recent success is the launch of WT2, an offshoot designed to producesmaller budget films.This document summarises some of the material from the variousarticles: all of this document. On page 3, what best known for the blockbuster comedies of Richard Curtis and RowanAtkinson, they also deliver punchy period pics, urgent political dramas, highbrowliterary adaptations, quirky family fare, cultish low-budgeters and the somewhatuncategorizable output of the Coen brothers.
  2. 2. And they have a formidable record of launching fresh talent -- from directors JoeWright ("Pride & Prejudice"), Stephen Daldry ("Billy Elliot"), Shekhar Kapur("Elizabeth") and Stephen Frears ("My Beautiful Laundrette") to actors CateBlanchett and veritable house leading man Hugh Grant.Director Paul Greengrass was given the greenlight to use a no-name cast, many ofthem non-actors, and a docudrama approach for "United 93," and the risk paidoff in uniformly strong reviews for a 9/11-themed movie that was wide open topotential charges of exploitation and the Hollywoodization of a sensitive subject.For the upcoming "Catch a Fire," helmer Phillip Noyce cited the duoscommitment and hand-off approach to the apartheid-era drama, which was shotin South Africa and Swaziland. "This was a project that Tim Bevan and EricFellner were determined to make," Noyce says. "They have a deal withStudioCanal and Universal that allows them to put certain pictures intoproduction below a certain budget; presumably our $15 million budget qualified.If Focus and Universal hadnt agreed, they were that determined to have it madeanyway."It really was a case of: You have $15 million, do what you like, then bring itback. Call us when you need us. They were very supportive."But the true measure of Working Title is its bottom line. Because ofits tight budgets, even modest theatrical results can be highlyprofitable. "United 93" was clearly an artistic triumph, but with abudget of $15 million and worldwide box office of $75 million, itsalso a commercial one. offices are in Oxford Street, London, with about 40 staff (thesame number as in 1992) working on the development, marketing andlegal sides - though when separate companies are formed forindividual projects, they could have hundreds, even thousands ofpeople on the books. They have offices in Australia and Los Angeles,plus a low-budget offshoot, Working Title 2, responsible for films suchas Billy Elliot and Shaun of the Dead. terms of production, a strong emphasis is placed on development. Six people work sourcing,developing and honing projects in the UK, with another three in the US and one person in
  3. 3. Australia.The production department itself is six strong, and comprises two senior production executives,backed up by four staff, and is responsible for overseeing Working Titles films. This involvesmanaging a films budget and keeping the shoots on schedule.Other key departments include a legal and business affairs team, headed by company chiefoperating officer Angela Morrison who is responsible for financing Working Title films and sortingout legal issues. She works with three full time lawyers on her team.How does Working Title choose which films to make? Fellner says projects get championed byindividuals in the development department and these percolate their way up to the top. Bevanand Fellner then both take the decision on what to greenlight. Title, the British-based film production company, is understood to be indiscussions with NBC Universal to launch an international television business.NBC Universal already holds a majority stake in Working Title Films, and has beenlooking to create a European TV studio in London.The intention is to create big-budget British productions on a par with such US hit seriesas Heroes or 24.The company will seek commissions from broadcasters, with NBC putting up asignificant part of the financing.In return, the US group would carry Working Title shows on its collection ofinternational pay-TV channels or sell them on to other networks, and take a cut fromDVD sales.