50 Cent: The new Tyler Perry?
The good news: 50 Cent just got a movie deal for $200 million. The bad news: It’s for 10 movies, and even if they do make any money, he’ll probably have to split it with a shedload of people.
It’s not like the TIs just cut Fiddy a check for $200 million – which, from what I understand, was how record deals used to work back in the day. Remember back when Janet Jackson or REM or somebody would get a deal for some ridonkulous nine figure sum? It’s not like they had to take that $200 million and use it to make 10 albums that cost $20 million a piece, and so it was really like they were getting a deal for jack schitt. Maybe they could pay themselves some sort of salary out of that $20 million per album, if there was any left over.
Which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad deal, for most of us. One tenth of one percent of $20 million would more money than I’ve ever made in a year – but that’s because I’m a broke motherfucker. This is 50 Cent we’re talking about. He once made $400 million in one year. Possibly more, if he made money from anything that year other than the sale of Vitamin Water to Coca Cola. Even if his windfall from that deal was way less than the ridonkulous figure quoted in the press, he probably took home more money that year than the entire amount of this film deal.
The problem being, it’s not like this deal is for some shit he can have done in a few months. It takes a long time to make a movie, even if said movie is a steaming pile of excrement. Tyler Perry can only crank out one every six months or so, and it looks like all of his movies are just variations on the one where the black guy dresses up like an old lady, Morehouse-style, and the one where the relationships of several black couples are in a state of disarray. They can’t be that hard to come up with. I’m surprised the studio haven’t hired a chinaman to undercut him.
Probably because Tyler Perry would take to his email list – which I’m sure is the same list behind those Jena 6 protests, and the rumor that black people’s right to vote was gonna expire in 2007, the year before we elected our first black-ish president – and explain that the TIs were using cheap Chinese labor to purposely undercut him. Imagine the outrage that would ensue. Remember the time Roger Ebert had the sheer balls to suggest that Tyler Perry’s movies weren’t very good? And that was Roger Ebert. He should have a pass to throw shitty black movies under a bus – he’s married to a black woman. He’s a better man than I am.
These new 50 Cent movies are set to be released by Lionsgate, which I’m pretty sure is the same studio that releases those Tyler Perry movies. Which makes me wonder how they think the commercial prospects of these 50 Cent movies compare to those Tyler Perry movies. Those Tyler Perry movies are occasionally the top movies in the country, ahead of whatever white movies are released that week, albeit in weeks when the white movie isn’t very good. It’s not like he’s beating out Inception, or one of those Twilight movies. But still. The last few 50 Cent movies have gone straight to video. And the last one that didn’t was Righteous Kill, which didn’t exactly set the world on fire. Neither did Get Rich or Die Trying, which had a similar pedigree to Eminem’s popular and semi-worthwhile 8 Mile.
Which is not to say that this deal is necessarily doomed. This is not 2003 – I’m sure the TIs did the math, before they just up and cut a check for $200 million. Lionsgate has been in the movies for ignorant black people business for the last 5+ years now, so I’m sure they’ve got the economics down to a science. If each one of these future turds is budgeted at $20 million, that’s probably the amount they can make just by licensing it to cable TV, foreign countries and what have you. I don’t know how many people have cable over in Africa, percentage wise, but it’s such a huge, vast continent. (They purposely make it seems smaller on maps and globes, because it’s mostly insignificant.) And you see how apeshit they go for 50 Cent over there (pardon my use of the term). They were also really big on Milli Vanilli. There must be something about a musician who isn’t really a musician that really resonates with people in Africa.