Even though they managed to bring in a reported $1.03 billion in ticket sales during January (a 19 percent year-over-year increase!), the movie industry wants a piece of the stimulus action — to the tune of a 50 percent write-off for new film projects started this year.
Their argument: While the box-office numbers are good, that’s money that they have to share with theaters. DVD sales have dropped and film financing is looking pretty hairy, too.
Our argument: You haven’t been very creative about solving this problem on your own. According to our calculations (and some figures from last year’s Forbes Celebrity 100) if you sell your top five earners to China — Oprah ($275m), Jerry Bruckheimer ($145m), Steven Spielberg ($130m), Tyler Perry ($125m), and Jerry Seinfeld ($85m) — you should have about $760m dollars to play with. How much is The New Moon going to cost to make anyway?
OK, maybe not the best idea, but the words “Hollywood bailout” make our skin crawl — almost as much as the thought of paying for a bunch of Wall Street bankers’ bonuses. What we’re wondering is: