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Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Asylum

Sometimes timing is just wildly weird. The other evening, a dear friend, the Mini-W and I watched a movie called 100 Million B.C. - yeah we knew that it was in some way a rip-off or homage (?) to 10,000 B.C. but that was the point. We knew it would be super funny/bad. And it was. Oh - it was. It actually raised movie-viewing pleasure to a whole new level of good-badness. For awhile. Then it was just sad. But it did lead us to wonder - who is this production company, The Asylum? How are they getting away with this? And then my friend found this:

From the IMDB Message Board:

I like a good low-budget, cheesy movie as much as the next person but when you consistently steal from and profit from other people's projects, you've sunk to a new low.

This company looks at what Hollywood genre films are coming out, then they rush to make their version of it to be released straight to DVD around the same time the Hollywood version is hitting theaters.

This is because many people will go into the video store and rent these things thinking that they are getting the one that they keep seeing advertising for.

The company saves money by doing minimal art decoration, using amateur CG, and only paying their actors enough for 2 meals (seriously).

There are surely more but here is a sampling of their films and the films they are ripping off. Wonder how long until they get sued?

Death Racers = Death Race
100 Million BC = 10,000 BC
Allan Quatermain and the Temple of Skulls = Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
War of the Worlds = War of the Worlds (Spielberg)
2012 Doomsday = Doomsday
Monster = Cloverfield
I Am Omega = I Am Legend
666 The Beast = The Omen
Transmorphers = Transformers
The Hitchhiker = The Hitcher
Snakes on a Train = Snakes on a Plane
Night of the Dead = Dawn of the Dead
Pirates of Treasure Island = Pirates of the Carribean
Da Vinci Treasure = Da Vinci Code
Hillside Cannibals = Hills Have Eyes
When a Killer Calls = When A Stranger Calls

Anywho. Interesting. How is it that The Asylum is getting away with this? Are they ripping off original movies (well - yeah) or are they providing hundreds of jobs for cast and crew? Have they brought back the B-Movie? I gotta tell ya, Wavers, there is simply NO hoot as fulfilling as watching a bad B-movie once in awhile. Does the Asylum have a great sense of humor? Are they filling a niche? Or are they ripping off original entertainment? What's your opinion?

Check out their website HERE.

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Anonymous said...

If they can only feed their actors two meals, you can bet they don't support local labor unions and consequently, exploit people, just like they exploit the creative material of others to make their quick buck...

Anonymous said...

Hey Script Nurse(Julie)...Oh no no no no, sounds like Bob Marley song...

Luv this one,
Monster = Cloverfield

I luv monster movies with a sesoning of romance.

Cloverfield had a baddest ending. Luv it.

Allrigh child, Script Nurse.

PJ McIlvaine said...

Of course they're DVD rip-offs...I mean, come on, SUNDAY SCHOOL MUSICAL???

Luzid said...

As we all know, you can't copyright an idea, so I don't know that they're doing anything illegal. If anything, they could probably use the parody defense if they get in trouble.

These "mockbusters", as they've been dubbed, are no real threat to the genuine theatrical article. In a way, they could be considered a form of free advertising, since they keep the general idea in the minds of the public!

D said...

What is the difference between The Asylum and the Scary Movie series? There are almost no original ideas in the Scary Movie films, either, but nobody has been complaining about them.

Julie Gray said...

D- the Scary Movie franchise is a satire thing. they are overtly satirizing characters and conceits from other movies. The Asylum makes parallel, low budget dopplegangers. There's no satire. They're actually serious dramatic endeavors. 100 million B.C. isn't funny, for example. Which is what makes it funny then ultimately just really sad.

Hugo Fuchs said...

Okay ... since I have a few of theirs on the DVD stack. I'd call them B-movies. If you've ever seen both the theatrical release and what Asylum puts out, you'd know that the only real similarity is the genre and sometimes story idea. Story Ideas are not copyrighted, nor are similar titles. Are they exploiting the market? Yup. Very American of them.

They do not use unions, and I don't have a problem with that. It allows them to make money, allows the acting skills (or lack there-of) for these actors to be shown. If you hate they don't have unions, you'd better be able to tell me that all those interns hollywood uses are well paid.

I think they could use a bit more training in a couple areas, acting, writing, editing, camera-work. The sound is usually decent. Sometimes this is because of time/money issues, sometimes because of a lack of direction (or as a homage to old cheesy movies). About the worst thing is their commentaries. Don't get drunk for the commentary ... very bad.

I wouldn't call any of their movies great, but they've had some good elements in them, and with a budgets a tiny fraction of hollywood, what do you expect. Hell, I've seen some hollywood films that were just as bad.

Mockbusters are fun, and I don't see them eating into hollywood profits.