INDUSTRY: Cinema, Corporate Style

Bankrolling a motion picture has always been half investment, half gamble: the percentage of flicks that flop is an astonishing 70%. In the best of times-which these are not-the lure of the long shot attracted enough moneyed players to keep the game alive. In recent years, however, recession, declining profits and rising costs have sent the movie industry into a dizzying downward spiral.

As recently as two years ago, $20 million production budgets were not uncommon; $5 million is now considered extravagant, and the average producer is lucky to raise half that...

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