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The Asylum – Världens kallaste filmbolag

Inlägg av Christian Eklöw den 2 november 2010 i


Världens kallast filmbolag

Ni har säkert,precis som jag, suttit framför en makalöst dålig film och känt att det här kan jag göra bättre.  The Asylum är ett filmbolag som gör lite tvärt om. De ser en bra film (nåja en succé i alla fall) och sen tänker: Det här kan vi göra sämre. Det var i alla fall vad jag trodde när jag snubbla på deras trailers på Youtube. För att ni ska hänga med lite i resonemanget så ska jag ge er några exempel.

Snakes on a plane blev Snakes on a Train (klicka på bilden för trailer)

Transformers blev Transmorphers (Klicka på bilden för trailer)

I am Legend blev I am Omega (Klicka på bilden för trailer)

Vi det här laget hade min nyfikenhet tagit överhand. Vad var deras plan? Hur lyckades de kopiera film efter film utan att Hollywood skickade sina vassaste advokater på dem. Och JA, jag vet att Hollywood inte är ett företag, men det blir enklare att benämna de stora bolagen med ett namn.

För att stilla min nyfikenhet fick jag mig en pratstund med Brandon Kaufer på The Asylum.


Where does the company name come from?

We all quit our day jobs after being fired so we formed The Asylum.

What was your vision when you started the company?

We’re a studio making product. We do copycats as much as the big guys do. They just rape from within their own library (remakes, re-dos, re-issues, re-mastered). All of our shows are original, and some have studio ties. It doesn’t make them misfits, or ugly, or bad, or schlocky, or crap. The only question is: Did we make an entertaining movie? Sometimes it’s ’yes’ and others times it’s ’absolutely yes’.  That should only be what this is about.

How many movies do Asylum produce a year?

The Asylum is a hungry, hungry machine, we produce a film every month. Why? Are we that greedy? (Yes.) That egotistical? (Yes, yes.) That crazy? (YES!)

What is your average movie budget?

From $250,000kr (1,750,000 SEK) to $2 million (14,000,000 SEK)

How many employees do Asylum have?

There are 15 amazing people that work full time and that are on the corporate payroll,  but there are about 30 people that work from show-to-show. It’s a nice big family.

Where is the biggest market for your movies?

Television. That’s the Golden Goose right now. VOD is looking good too. DVD is dying…

Did you decide to just make low budget movies or did that just happen?

We’ll have our list of what we think will work out in the general market place; and we’ll pitch them to our buyers and say, “look, is a film about transforming robots interesting to you?” Sometimes they say yes, and sometimes they say no. We have missed opportunities with movies that have done well, and we’ve also mockbusted movies that did not do well and in turn our film also suffered. It’s a formula that doesn’t necessarily always work. I would say The Asylum changes like every 18 months. The mockbuster for The Asylum is really due for a change and we are kind of moving away from it. Three of our biggest hits last year were not mockbusters at all; including this year, which were Mega Piranha, Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus and MegaFault. So I guess you can say were going to have a lot more mega movies than mockbuster movies. But the trend changes and we’re a small enough company that we can respond to those changes and react quickly.

What was your dream project to produce?

JANE WHITE IS SICK & TWISTED is a very personal film for me so it’s closer to my heart. My wife and I maxed out the credit cards and really put a lot into it. It received many festival awards, and it put us on the map. That being said I believe I grew as a filmmaker on H.G.WELLS’ WAR OF THE WORLDS. It just said what I wanted to say, and I grew very attached to Tommy Howell. Everything clicked on that show.

Which is your most successful movie?

Hmmmmm…They all make money…but maybe PARANORMAL ENTITY looks the best on the books (since it cost so little to produce).

How does the movie making process work at Asylum films?

My partners tell me the story they need… I go, contract the writers and assemble the key teams. We talk about stars and I will go out and make the deal. A script is written in about 2/6 weeks, prep for 3. Our average production schedule is 12 days, post 8 weeks, marketing is almost done immediately. My partners usually have the name and key art while the show is in prep, they begin pre-selling the show right away. Because of our long history with buyers, it’s not a hard sell. Everyone knows what they will be getting.

How did the idea to make your own versions of successful movies come up?

We do it because we are a cash flow business and that means that we produce a film, put it out into the marketplace, collect sales receipt and then… we use that cash to make our next film. You see, we are our own investors. There is no outside money. That means that we need to put a film out every month in order to cash flow the expenses of the company (keep the doors open!) and produce another film.

Ok, knowing that model… We need to maximize our audience share. That means we need to find genres, stories, stars, etc. that will entice you to rent the dvd, buy the ppv or illegally downloaded from the Internet (you know who you are!).

Mockbusters came about because ”War of the worlds” did incredibly well. We followed that with ”King of the lost world”, and that did well… Everytime we tested the waters, the mockbuster titles did better than the non-mockbusting titles. It wasn’t bulletproof, but it was helpful to hedge out bets in that direction.

Mockbusting also allowed us to open up the genres. We weren’t tied down to horror anymore. We were making action, thrillers, disaster, sci-fi, comedy and even a musical.

Will an Asylum produced film ever win an Oscar?

Of course

If I never have seen any of your films which should be the one i see first?

Any of them. I find them all pretty damn entertaining.

Efter att ha grävt ner mig i Asylums oändliga arkiv med filmer måste jag säga att jag beundrar dem. De känns lite som 2000-talets Troma. Jag utnämner härmed The Asylum till världens kallaste filmbolag.

Jag avslutar med trailern till en av deras senaste kassakossor. Mega Shark vs Giant Octupus starring Lorenzo Lamas och Debbie Gibson (Japp Debbie Electric Youth Gibson)

Om ni vill läsa mer om The Asylum så kolla in där jag även lånat några bilder.

Skrivet av Christian Eklöw

Wannabe rockstjärna som älskar amerikansk independent och blir uttråkad av actionrullar. Önskar att jag hade fått regissera Knubbigt regn.

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