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50 Cent Doesn't Care What You Think Of His Straight-To-DVD Releases: "I've Already Seen A 60% Return..."

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by Tambay A. Obenson
June 4, 2012 2:05 PM
29 Comments
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Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson

"They'll spend a $120 million on a film or a whole bunch of money making a film and then a whole bunch of money promoting it a year before it actually comes out, and the money they get back in theaters is just the money they spent... And then it goes to dvd and everything is profit there. Some of the movies I've done recently, I was financing and I've already seen a 60 percent return on what I've [been] involved with. They don't understand, they're looking at it and going, 'Well, it went straight-to-dvd,' and they don't realize I'm gonna get another $800,000 off each one of these projects. You can sit there and say 'It went straight-to-dvd'... my ass... They'll try to figure a way to discredit whatever you do because I come from that. I have a lot, so I'm conditioned to the people who haven't been through that and can't get to the next level... 

Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson said in an older interview with a Tampa Bay radio station; there's more where that cam from in the video embedded below which contains that full interview.

I share this today as a reponse to the mostly negative reactions that posts about Fiddy's films usually receive - most recently, the post over the weekend that featured the trailer for his latest, the crime drama Freelancers, with Robert De Niro and Forest Whitaker, which is going straight-to-dvd.

He's pretty much addressing those kinds reactions in the above comment, isn't he? Essentially, yeah, my films are all going to DVD, bypassing theaters, BUT, I'm making mad money off of these straight-to-DVD movies I keep cranking out.

"I'm gonna get another $800,000 off each of these projects," he says. I especially laughed at his dismissive "my ass" comment. 

So, really, the dude is all about the business folks - revenue and profit. All your complaints about his films or his ability don't mean much to him, so you can save them for someone who gives a hoot.

He may not win any awards for his performances, nor might any of these films attract critical acclaim (although anything is possible), but he's gradually building a body of work, proving his onscreen worth, which may later provide him with added leverage in negotiating future production/distribution deals.

You may recall that 50 Cent's Cheetah Vision Films signed a 10-picture, $200 million agreement with George Furla's Hedge Fund Film Partners, the goal being to produce and finance three to five movies per year. 

And we've reported on just about all of those films, including those that were announced before the deal with George Furla's fund, like Caught In The Crossfire, which was released on DVD in 2010, and which I'll review later.

I embedded the full interview 50 Cent gave to the Tampa Bay radio station, in which he talks about his straight-to-DVD releases, and other aspects of the film business. I'm not much of a fan (I've seen a few of these flicks, and didn't really care much for them), but, somewhat like Tyler Perry, I think 50 is someone worth watching, as he gradually builds what could eventually become something of an empire, right under our noses.

Here's the interview:

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29 Comments

  • Cheyenne King | June 10, 2012 10:53 PMReply

    Smart

  • Christopher Scott | June 5, 2012 10:30 AMReply

    Admired 50 Cents comments about the bad negative publicity about his Straight to DVD movies. I find some of them worth watching and have them to be at least he works on his acting chops. As far as I'm concerned, at least he is not doing another P.O.S. (the clean version), Hapless remake where mostly some Hollywood movies are doing. I know that he is a smart business and underrated actor.

  • Donella | June 5, 2012 1:30 PM

    "I find some of them worth watching..." I do too. I try to give them a chance and often I'm pleasantly surprised and entertained.

  • Marie | June 5, 2012 9:01 AMReply

    I'm so glad Curtis (and possibly a handful of others associated with his films) are making money off of producing crap. I wouldn't mind his purely business attitude towards filmmaking if there was some indication that each successive film was better than the previous. But, like Tyler Perry, Fiddy's making bank for himself by debasing what some of us consider an art form or a craft. Would we black folks be so understanding of a football player who never improved year after year or a rapper who's albums didn't improve with each release? We as a people need to raise our expectations and standards of quality when it comes to filmmaking to prevent other Fiddies from insulting and exploiting the art form we love.

  • Charles Judson | June 5, 2012 10:28 AM

    Also, at least Curtis is trying to make quality films that have some kind of story that aren't all riffs on Scarface or The Godfather or New Jack City. The late 1990s and 2000s were not the best of times when it came to films produced by hip hop musicians.

  • Charles Judson | June 5, 2012 10:23 AM

    People have been making crap films to make money since the first movie houses popped up. You'll never stop another Fiddie from rising up, just check the counters of the seediest gas station near you, or some of the films that you can impulse buy at your drug store. Focus on how Curtis is structuring his deals and learn from that, concentrate on your own craft and art, ignore the rest.

  • @ReiGnXL | June 5, 2012 2:26 AMReply

    As we would say in my area.. "STOP COUNTING HIS POCKETS".. How is the $800,000 made, and how long did it take.. Who cares?? Where's your $800,000 at?? ............................. Don't worry, I'll wait for your response..

  • other song | June 4, 2012 7:18 PMReply

    50's statement is vague. and I wouldn't be surprised if he's embellishing the truth. It's a rapper thing.

  • I HATE HATERS | June 5, 2012 2:29 AM

    ?? Yet, He is in the Forbes Magazine.. Numbers are truth.. WOMEN LIE, MEN LIE, NUMBERS DON'T LIE..

  • SOULWIZE | June 4, 2012 6:21 PMReply

    True @Al. And some people who make money, also understand having social and moral responsibility. The two are only disconnected when you turn a blind eye. I'm quite sure Fifty gets paid a minimum amount of dollars to perform and probably make an appearance somewhere. Why? Because when Fifty gets paid, his team gets paid. Same applies to crew and talent. They need a bare minimum to perform and make an appearance. Why? Because when they get paid, their responsibilities get paid (home, bills, family, etc.). Anyway, I say this to simply illustrate that the same people who often want to make money, interestingly enough are often the same ones justifying why you should lower your pay for the "art" of it. Just an observation. But what are we, if not only walking hypocrisies of ourselves. Guess it's just the human nature in us.

  • VannDigital.com | June 4, 2012 6:04 PMReply

    last i member, you get bigger ROIs on straight-to-DVD movies...

  • Ghost | June 4, 2012 6:03 PMReply

    As for the people mostly renting these movies... they are who?----- Easy look at who is in the cast of those films.-folsk that everybody have heard of. Folks who are hit (or hit by CW standards) shows. For some of these folks these moves re just pieces to add to a limited resume. Because most of 50's films will rotate like crazy on Showtime or IFC.

  • VannDigital.com | June 4, 2012 6:01 PMReply

    as most of 50's movies is good for 1-time watches and/or boring days, he still getting something accomplished just on his movies being good for them occassions

  • al | June 4, 2012 3:48 PMReply

    Some people make art, others make money. Few are able to do both. Can't send your kid to college on glowing reviews alone.

  • LeonRaymond | June 4, 2012 3:38 PMReply

    @SOULWIZE, I applaud you my friends, applaud you, my White business friends applaud you, you hit it right on the head, oh and by the way, you just summarized the entire Black film industry, and to those folks who truly don't get the industry and are just now entering it with their eyes on huge profits- SLAP -SLAP!

  • SoulWize | June 4, 2012 3:00 PMReply

    Are these $800,000 thousand in Red Box sales? $800,000 in Netflix sales? Or $800,000 from the trunk of a car sales? I'm just wondering how this $800,000 is being accumulated in the age of Red Box, online piracy and the brotha with the cardboard box of "hot" DVDs on the corner. Not that it's impossible, but I really am curious where and how this $800,000 is being accumulated. This can easily be tracked. With Red Box, we have to look at how many Red Boxes have been distributed around the country and how many of just 1 of Fifty's movies are for rent in those Red Boxes. Okay, let's add Netflix to the mix. With Netflix, we have to determine how many of, again, just 1 of Fifty's movies is rented daily/weekly/monthly. With trunk of car sales, well that can be a little bit more tricky-- after all, those records are probably tucked away in the "owner's" brain cells. Exactly. So that obviously means most of these figures have got to be based on trunk of car sales. ;-)

    As for the people mostly renting these movies... they are who? I'd also like to hear Fifty talk about his target audience, or key demographic. As again, this can easily be tracked on Netflix, Redbox, etc. I guarantee Fifty biggest distribution is a major national street team who carry cardboard boxes.

    Seriously.

    I would also like to know how long it takes to accumulate $800,000 in sales and then look at it against how much it cost to make these movies and how much lower scale everyone (from PAs to DP, writer(s) and talent) is working to help produce these movies.

    This is just regarding the business/financial aspect. Just overall curious about how this $800,000 figure is determined and how long it takes to reach this figure and the impact this figure has on their real bottom line.

    I say this because I want us to stop always looking at the end result, as that's what many of us often try to emulate. Money. More so, the emotionally driven side of money.

    Really think about what it takes to make a real profit from a movie. Fifty says it takes studios a year to begin to make a profit after releasing a film (for those that do go on to profit). But, that's also because the people involved were paid their true value for providing a service and/or a talent. If Fifty were paying people their true value (both in front of and behind the camera), is that $800,000 truly real profit or is it instead the real wages that should have gone to those people-- the crew and talent?

    Just a question. The same question was raised during slavery. Now, the flip side is at least Fifty is paying his talent and crew. Many of us are not.

    So this is just an observation for us to start valuing people's time, talent and services. This does not just apply to film business. It applies to how we do business, period. We are always looking at ways to undercut and not pay people their true worth and value so that we can make a "profit". What good does it serve to gain the world for the price of... You know the rest.

    I'm all for Fifty being a smart business man. I just want us to also have some social responsibility so we aren't always at the stage where we pay crumbs and accept crumbs because we are not suppose to complain and just be thankful we have a job or are in a position to provide one. Unions were formed for a reason. Let's challenge ourselves to get beyond "profit" and start valuing the people we ask to go on monetary-driven journeys with us in the name of "art" or "entertainment". That's an oxymoron, but not an impossible one to overcome.

  • Charles Judson | June 4, 2012 10:25 PM

    I will admit, I'm playing fast and loose with the numbers and being a little generous with the amount he could get from the rental copies, but down and dirty math shows he can do it And I didn't even factor in that Things Fall Apart took advantage of Michigan's then 42% tax credit. So even on the conservative side, you can add another $1 million plus back.

  • Charles Judson | June 4, 2012 10:14 PM

    Who said he was making $800k in the first 3 to 6 months? Maybe I misheard, but I only heard him say he was going to make $800k. Yes, on $7 million that can be difficult if you're only doing domestic DVD sales, because you're looking at selling a million units to just break even. However, rental copies cost roughly 2.5 to 4 times as much the domestic DVD version. Even at $12 a disc, between Redbox, Blockbuster, the mom and pop stores and any major regional players still kicking, if sells 150,000 units (basically 3,000 copies per state) he'd make around $1.8 to $2 million. If he can make a minimum of $2 to $3 million of all the foreign territories alone, which is daunting for a drama, but doable since he does have name cache, he can be within striking distance of breaking even. Even the 3rd Universal Solider film made nearly $850k off six territories (like the United Arab Emirates) alone, not including major markets like the UK, Israel, Japan, etc. Add individual DVD sales, TV/Cable, online and airline rights then yes, it's very possible to get a decent return on a $7 million film. Then include 50 as both actor, writer and producer, he can definitely make $800k as he gets his cut. I'm not saying he really is making that, nor that their might not be some creative accounting to make sure he's getting his cut before investors. But, it's not out of the realm of possibilities.

  • SOULWIZE | June 4, 2012 9:04 PM

    @Charles Just a curiosity question-- because you raised some interesting stats-- If TFA had a budget of 7m, how long will it take for Fifty to make a profit? This goes back to one of my originl questions of wondering just how long it took to get to that 800k. Not only that, but if he got to the 800k in the first 3-6 months, how much is his movie earning each additional quarter? I also am not seeing how 800k is considered profit on a 7m movie. Now, maybe that's just me, but that math is not computing. And, if his movie brings in 800k every quarter, it'll still take some years to see profit. Perhaps we're using different accounting methods, but I thought you had to take in over 7m to see a profit. So, are his movies being made for 266K, or 7m? I see how he profits at 800K off a 266K movie, but not the 7m one.

  • Charles Judson | June 4, 2012 6:30 PM

    Things Fall Apart had a budget of $7,000,000. That's a pretty standard budget, which means no one should be working lo/no/deferred. And Redbox has 33,000 kiosks. Getting into just 10 to 20% of those with 5 to 20 copies per means selling 50,000 units on the low end is an easy and substantial start. Add in direct sales, online (like Netflix), TV/Cable deals and any foreign sales and he could definitely get to $800,000 easy. Because 50 is right, the P&A plus production budget mean it's the ancillary market where the profit is made. If you cut out the print portion (which can cost up to $5,000 per print, so even if you're screening on 500 screens that are 35mm film and the other 1000 are digital you're already spending another $3 million alone, almost half your budget) and create a manageable marketing plan with some smart PR and go leverage events like festival, you can get to generating profits much faster. I get what you're saying, but just business wise, based on the budget of the films, the types of talent involved, the number of ancillary opportunities available, what he says is pretty sound.

  • Akimbo | June 4, 2012 2:51 PMReply

    This is like if the creator of dollar store diapers made an announcement saying s/he didn't care what I think about their product. I don't think of his movies at all, they have no relevance to me, and don't seem to matter much to anyone else either, so...cool, that you're making money, bro.

  • Akimbo | June 4, 2012 7:55 PM

    =). Butthurt, it is!

  • WOW | June 4, 2012 7:52 PM

    @Akimbo, truth is, you're a boring person who can't understand why people would not go out of their way to adapt your standard of happiness. Grow up and let loose.

  • Akimbo | June 4, 2012 6:56 PM

    You're either a butthurt person who buys these films or someone who has a vested interest in making sure they get sold. Either way, I hope you find something more worthy of your time some day.

  • WOW | June 4, 2012 6:38 PM

    @Akimbo, please open your mind and shut your dumb trap --- they obviously matter to those who buy them - duh... doo doo.

  • Akimbo | June 4, 2012 4:48 PM

    People buy chia pets but that doesn't mean they matter.

  • WOW | June 4, 2012 4:37 PM

    SILLY SILLY SILLY little Akimbo. OMG! No you didn't say Fifties movies don't matter to anyone else? STOP-LOOK-AND EXCUSE ME... many are buying his movies, so what does that tell you - DUH. Seriously, you watch movies for "relevance" but can you believe others may find different joys from watching movie?

  • Philip | June 4, 2012 2:45 PMReply

    Can't knock the hustle. A 60% return on capital is music to my ears. Maybe Oprah needs to hire him as OWN's strategic advisor...

  • Donella | June 4, 2012 2:26 PMReply

    I guess he told YA'LL. LOL

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