As studios double down on franchises, sequels, comic books, and events that pull audiences into bigger-better-brighter cinemas, movies that cost less than $50 million look like an endangered species. Studios already find it tough to justify risky, original dramas — like F. Gary Gray
’s “Straight Outta Compton
,” which cost $28 million and grossed $206 million worldwide. Universal Filmed Entertainment Group chairman Donna Langley
nurtured that movie, and fought to make it. But not every movie has such a passionate champion.
“Tons of projects never even get to the greenlight meeting,” said one senior studio executive. “We can’t make the P&L work. The physical business [DVD sales] is declining at a rate of 10-11 percent. The digital business is not growing enough to offset physical declines. And the growth of the international box office doesn’t translate to ancillaries.”
That’s when a producer who can’t get a studio movie made — like “Bird Box