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Old 03-16-2014, 01:05 PM   #1
giantELF
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Default Studio Rights & Permissions Depts?

Hello,

Anyone ever approach a studio about the remake rights for a feature film? Or is the original Producer the best place to start?

At the risk of sounding like a d*ck -- I am looking for real information gleaned from either personal history or knowledge. Not supposition and guesswork. I am already barking up many trees to no avail so I must be doing it wrong...

I know rights can transfer from sale etc. I do not wish to pay for a copyright search at this point.

Maybe a lawyer or studio exec is on here?

Thanks
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Old 03-16-2014, 01:43 PM   #2
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Default Re: Studio Rights & Permissions Depts?

Do you have an agent or manager? They can help you with this.
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Old 03-16-2014, 03:06 PM   #3
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Default Re: Studio Rights & Permissions Depts?

I have dealt with this a little bit and of course I'm familiar with this world not only from listing all the deals we report on but from working on features for producers.

I wouldn't suggest that you as an unknown think about approaching any studio. Without a real track record in place, they will surely never even listen. Going to the original producer probably won't do any good either because what are you really bringing to the table? You might think you have a great take, etc. but they won't really care. If it feels to them like, yes, this should be remade then they will go out and hire a writer with a track record to develop it with and possibly even try to attach a director.

Granted someone might be able to give an example or two of this working, but I think it's smartest to be realistic about it. Your best bet most likely is to try to find a producer with connections, a track record & who you trust and could possibly team with to then look into doing all this. Not easy by any means and you may even have to wait some time, but that's probably a better bet for you.

Why do I say that? I saw an RKO film some years ago on AMC which I felt had a very interesting set up/premise and one particularly cool scene in it that really sold me on the potential of a remake. (The film was a bit chessey and felt very dated.) I went to a producer/friend I know and pitched him the project over lunch along with my take & interest. He thought it sounded kinda cool so he called RKO and talked with a friend of his who worked there. They said if he had a take on the project he wanted to walk in, he could -- nothing was being done with it. They'd be open to because of his success to date. He's only gotten more successful since then and I got distracted with other projects & work. I also realized I'm probably not the best person to try to do a thriller, but I still might give it a shot one of these days and follow up with him.

Now if you have interest in some foreign film and you want to try to get English language remake rights, you could always try but the company & producers would probably be looking to get a decent some of money and be attached, etc. My friend has done this too, but then he has relationships and knows how to handle all this.

And as Emily noted, an agent or manager could probably help some with this but I don't think even they could do much more than find out if the rights are available or if anything is being done with it. Never hurts to have them ask, but that still doesn't get you the rights, of course. You'd still probably need a producer, director and/or star with some successful projects under their belts who would walk you in with the project and truly stick by & with you being involved. In other words, you need a friend with clout in your corner.

Hope the above can help in some way or another. Maybe a few other folks will chime in as well.
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Old 03-16-2014, 04:36 PM   #4
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Default Re: Studio Rights & Permissions Depts?

Thank you very much for the replies.

At this point my question is more aimed at how I might find out if the rights are even available or if there is a Producer who has them and is doing nothing (e.g. Warren Beatty and "Dick Tracy"). Then I can decide how to proceed.

20+ years in the film productions coupled with 6 years of paying tuition to a west side private school has left me with plenty of contacts with better juice than I. But I do not wish to waste their time -- or mine -- pursuing a project that is not available.
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Old 03-16-2014, 07:51 PM   #5
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Default Re: Studio Rights & Permissions Depts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by giantELF View Post
At this point my question is more aimed at how I might find out if the rights are even available or if there is a Producer who has them and is doing nothing (e.g. Warren Beatty and "Dick Tracy"). Then I can decide how to proceed.

20+ years in the film productions coupled with 6 years of paying tuition to a west side private school has left me with plenty of contacts with better juice than I. But I do not wish to waste their time -- or mine -- pursuing a project that is not available.
I gotcha. I'd say then call the studios rights department much like one can and does do with a book publisher for the rights to the book. Just be very professional. Don't sound like a fan or too excited, of course. Tell them you are an independent producer who is putting together financing for some projects and you wanted to see what the rights status was for a project they (most likely) own the rights to. If they don't own them, ask them who does. I wouldn't get into too many details. Don't tell them more than they need to know. And get out. Worst they can do is tell you they can't help. Then proceed from there possibly based on some of the suggestions above or others that might follow in the next few days.

Also, if you are a subscriber you can run a search via our main site to see if anything has ever been set up. Or if you use IMDBpro, which is probably even deeper in various respects, then see what they list. If you have done either or both at this point, then I think calling yourself is probably your strongest option for now.
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Old 03-23-2014, 12:50 PM   #6
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Default Re: Studio Rights & Permissions Depts?

Thanks. This well called Done Deal Pro just get getting deeper and deeper.

Time to put on the Producer hat...
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