Heard on the grapevine that when the producers and distributors of the film ‘Queen’ saw the final product, they did not think the film good enough to release in the theatres, so initially decided to release the film straight to Video …..

Obviously better sense prevailed and the film was released gaining substantial box office numbers and a great number of awards and Oscar nominations. And this promises to be the year of Helen Mirren.
Just shows how much people who own the production and distribution bussineses are out of touch with audiences and the art of telling stories.

10 thoughts on “Queen

  1. Hmm…that’s interesting Shekhar!
    But does that mean that Directors do care about their audience as equally as telling stories…I think this is a very important question Shekhar…do try to answer it!

  2. sheetal, what I do is try and connect to my own inner feelings and subconscious and hope that in doing that I am connected to the subconsciouss and heart of the audience. Thats the only way I know. Otherwise I am analysing the audience and then making the film. If tahtw as a true, a computer can make a film or write a poem !
    It’s becoming more difficult these days as film makeing is getting more and more corporatiszed. Their is now a heiarchy of judgement over your film before it ever gets to the audience. And so you are somewhere being asked to make a film that will first impress individuals that run the pruduction/distribution companies and the studios,

  3. Hi Shekhar,
    It is scary to believe that Queen could have gone staright to DVD. I saw the premier(with everyone present) at the opening night of the New York Film Festival in October, and totally loved it. But, alternatively don’t you think Shekhar that distributors in some case can extract a higher box office for a film which would have not have done so well with a smaller distributor?
    I was in Toronto last year and ‘Thank you for Smoking’ was sold on the same night as we saw that in a fierce bidding war between Fox and Par and in the end the film did make 25M plus as great home vid prospects. Do you think the film would have done as well with a smaller distributor with not enough marketing money/clout with exhibitors?
    I will really look forward to your reply,
    Himanshu – New York

  4. Yes, the bigger distributors have more financial clout and greater access to distribution outlets. In many cases they control them, so a film that can get distribution form one of the majors stands a greater chance of higher box office. Also dont forget the Oscars – it’s really expensive to get a nomination – and the exisiting distributors know how to manipulate stuff !
    But things are changing. Youtube and other internet websites can be used to give your film profile, like u cld start posting 1 minute trailers to whet the audience’s appetite. But if u wnat the film out in theatres, u will still need to go through the existing majors !

  5. Thanks a lot for your reply, Shekhar. YouTube and other internet websites have exploded in the last year, but their is still growing skepticism as to how far these vidoes can go to actually create wealth. Some films like ‘Snakes on a Plane’ and ‘Jackass-2’ did great business due their massive campaigns on myspace and youtube, yet the main money still comes from theaters and homevideo, and internet distribution is still quite samll.
    There was a article in variety recently which said that if you don’t have a big campaign from Oct to Dec you should forget even getting nominated for Globes/Oscars – and for that you need big distributors. One thing that stands out is that all the 5 foreign language films that have been nominated for oscars this year have got US distribution, so I believe that is a major point. ‘After the Wedding’ has not been released, but the others are already out.
    Do you think this new wave of internet video would be able to compete with the massive marketing arm of the Studios(which inturn are controlled by the media giants), or will these new internet companies be also bought out by the media corporations? e.g. News Corp bought Myspace, Google bought Youtube and more to come.
    Thank you,
    Himanshu – New York

  6. It’s almost always a struggle, if not a delicate balance, to align business vs. creative aspirations. No different from any other business scenario, is it? The birth and S-curve of Apple vs. Microsoft is one that jumps out in my mind. Both visionaries — one higher on the creative curve and the other higher on business-savviness curve, although that’s sort of blurred now. Rewind 20 years and it would be easier to see how absurd it appears to have the distributors dictate whether they would support either of these through their channels.
    So, how can the power-shift (for lack of a better word) happen such that those who are visonary AND in touch with audiences AND know how to tell the stories REALLY well get to do it. Without pandering. Without creative compromises or settling for mediocrity. Without giving up ideas par-execellence. Ideas that could potentially morph into brilliant masterpieces of filmmaking. And come out of all of this with the commercial success it deserves. Out in the theatres reaching audiences with dazzling glory.
    The ipods, powerpoints and Vistas as successful as they may be in connecting with its users, probably had to endure their share of the hierarchy of judgements:-) Heaven knows how much mediocrity we are consumers of, or how much of the right brain prevailed over the left….

  7. True, it is important for a film maker to connect to his audience to strike the right cord but for that its essential to be connected to oneself. As a creative person, doesn’t it become difficult to balance your imagination and output?
    I had that coming often to me till I left the thing I loved to do leaving a mental block in my mind, forever.

  8. dude…
    it is really a good film…
    the queen is talking to her mother and says ‘i think its time to transfer the powers to younger generation’ …thats the best scene…
    the deer scene is amazing but it is part of a craft and not the part of a story.
    but over all …amazing film.
    i also saw ‘ the painted veil’…good film yaar…balance of personal and social life…thats the central germ…good film overall…
    some times i feel ‘ lets spend life watching movies….’
    those dialogues, acting, pauses, frames, colour schemes, costumes…wah!….and then those stories (very rare these days…) ….but amazing world of films!
    the queen is really a story told in a very amazing way…
    thank you for the post as usual…take care…tata…kedar…

  9. I have’nt seen Queen nor do I intend to, not my cup of English tea, I’m afraid – if she had been holding a flame thrower and facing horrible aliens, maybe – it could have gone so horribly wrong, as films which try and portray real people with lookalike actors can – they just end up being ridiculous.
    I can fully appreciate the distributors nervousness over it – it only succeeds because Helen Mirren looks so like the real person and the script and intent – if any one of these three had been weak it would have failed as a commercial proposition, at least…
    “Gandhi” is a good example of a similar situation.

  10. Hi Ravi swami, I think even if the actor is not very much akin physically to the real person, a good script and a solid performance can make the film plausible.
    Example: The last king of scotland, Forrest whitaker looks far different from the real Idi Amin but the script and his histrionics make the film very much watchable.

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