Sicko took in a modest $4.5 million in its first weekend, a bit under some of the wilder predictions, but still within the Exhibitor Relations Top Ten (at #9). On the other hand, it’s not like Michael Moore spent Jerry Bruckheimer-level money on it, and apparently Moore, or at least his agent, is one sharp negotiator:
Moore’s agent, Ari Emanuel at Endeavor, negotiated one hell of a deal with the Weinstein Co. for his client. Moore is in line to receive 50 percent of Sicko’s gross profits (that’s after the theater owner collect their take of ticket sales), arguably one of Hollywood’s most lucrative deals for a filmmaker. To put it in perspective, it’s well beyond the cut that Tom Cruise used to receive in his heyday on films (and big-name actor deals are usually much richer than directors, but Moore obviously works both in front and behind the camera).
But the place where Moore’s deal is most noteworthy is in his DVD take. A-list actors and directors usually get a small slice of the proceeds, which is taken from only 20 percent of the total DVD revenue (the studio would hold back the other 80 percent). These numbers have pretty much been sacrosanct in Hollywood for years and have allowed the studios to recoup any theatrical losses with their homevid take. But in Moore’s deal, he’ll be receiving 50 percent of all DVD revenues.
According to traditional Hollywood accounting, if you get profit points at all, they’re out of the net, after every conceivable cost has been deducted. Moore’s getting gross points, most likely more than enough to constitute what some of us in different walks of life used to call FYM. He says so himself:
Nothing can ever be held over my head in the sense of “If you don’t do this, we won’t give you your money!”
Which is an exceedingly comfortable position to be in.