Summer is practically over and so are the late nights at the local movie theater for a lot of tweens and teenagers. Summer is typically when many of today’s youth is laying by the pool, getting together at the mall and, of course, munching on buttered popcorn in front of the big screen. “The warm weather is always a good time for studios to feature their big movies, just like this year’s (this is a 2013 release) “The Dark Night Rises”, says Rich Iott, founder of Braeburn Entertainment.
Just last year, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” “Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon” and “Captain America: The First Avenger” all came out during the summer. They were huge hits. “Movie studios choose the warm weathered months including June, July and August because they know people have more free time which means they’re more likely to go to the movies, making the studio more profit,” says Executive Producer Rich Iott.
It is estimated that every year, there’s only about 650 movies that make it onto the silver screen in theaters. Less than 100 of those are profitable. “There are thousands of movies made in the U.S. every year, but movie studios are mostly interested in producing the ones that are going to make them the most money,” says Executive Producer Rich Iott.
The founder of Braeburn Entertainment produced his own share of profitable movies including “Insight” and “Happily After.” A movie like “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1″ made $800 million just from movie ticket sales. After a movie stops airing at a movie theater, it is distributed through DVDs and eventually deals may be made to feature the movie on TV. And don’t forget about the international distribution market for theatrical, DVD, and televised release.
“Some movies even become video games, action figures and other memorabilia,” says founder of Braeburn Entertainment Rich Iott. So when a movie makes more money than it costs to make and people talk about the movie afterwards and some people go back to see it again, it’s a bonafide blockbuster. “A summer blockbuster hit is a kind of cultural phenomenon. Think of how many times people went back to see this year’s ‘The Dark Night Rises’,” says Executive Producer of Braeburn Entertainment.
It takes a lot of manpower to make a movie, not to mention good talent, a good story… and money. That’s where executive producers come in. The role of an executive producer varies depending on the project that’s at hand. Is it a television series? Is it a blockbuster movie? Is it a documentary? In the general sense of the word, executive producers are responsible for the quality of the production itself. They’re part of a big team of people that chooses the most marketable projects, the ones with the most possibility for big profits. Executive producers are also in charge of actually marketing and promoting the projects they’re involved in, so attending national events and festivals as well as other public relations events isn’t uncommon.
Executive producers such as Braeburn Entertainment founder Richard Iott are well-versed in business aspects and have a lot of legal, financial and practical knowledge overall. They’re well-liked, have a huge network of colleagues, friends and acquaintances and have a passion for the silver screen. “I was President and CEO of Seaway Food Town for a huge part of my life. I just took on the family business, but my true passion was always the movies,” recalls Executive Producer Richard Iott. “In high school, I created many short films. In college I majored in drama.” These days many celebrities are able to cross over into movie and TV production and have production companies of their own, just like Richard Iott’s Braeburn Entertainment. Stars like Tim Allen, Drew Barrymore, Tom Cruise, Nick Nolte, Jodie Foster and Sally Field join the cast of producers.
“The 70s Show” and Demi Moore’s famous ex, actor Ashton Kutcher, is also well-known for his production chops. He’s created, produced and hosted MTV’s “Punk’d” for a number of years. “In this TV series hidden cameras catch celebrities reacting to pranks,” says Executive Producer Richard Iott. The former Calvin Klein model also produced “Beauty and the Geek,” “Adventures of Hollyhood,” “The Real Wedding Crasher,” “Killers” and “Opportunity Knocks.” “Ashton Kutcher’s production company is called Katalyst Films. He runs it with his partner Jason Goldberg,” says Executive Producer Richard Iott. These days he’s playing Walden Schmidt in “Two and a Half Men” and is believed to earn $20 million for the year.
It seems like a lot of the celebrity world are Democrats, or maybe they are just the ones that make the most noise. There are plenty of stars that believe in small government, tax deduction and conservative values. In other words, there are plenty of celebrities that are Republican. Actor Stephen Baldwin is one of these famous Republicans. He called Sarah Palin “fantastic” and threatened to move to Canada if Barack Obama was elected. The Texas-born Jessica Simpson, known for her beautiful voice and beautiful clothing line, also joins this list of popular Republicans. She, allegedly, doesn’t mix her career with politics, but she infamously turned down an invite from President Bush back in 2006 to a GOP fundraiser.
For Republican Rich Iott, becoming a politician was never part of his career goals. The longtime Ohio resident and Chief Executive Officer of Seaway Food Town kind of fell into it. In 2010, Rich was the endorsed Republican candidate for the U.S. Congressional seat in Ohio’s 9th District. He was not elected but carried over 41% of the vote, with the best performance of any candidate in the nation running in a plus-10 Democratic district. “I never had the desire to be in politics, I only had the desire to serve my fellow man. Things weren’t good and I thought I can make a difference by bringing something new into office, Rich Iott says. For this ex-politician, going up against Marcy Kaptur in 2010 was more of a sense of duty.
Louisiana-native and pop star sensation Britney Spears joins the famous Republican list. She was a big supporter of President George Bush and various GOP House representatives. Who’s the Boss’ Tony Danza, a registered Republican, is known to have contributed donations to Republican nominees. Sarah Michelle Gellar, Clint Eastwood and the ultra-conservative Mel Gibson, are all Republicans. Actor Kelsey Grammer said in a FOX interview that he’s a Republican because he believes that the individualism is the most sacred thing. He’s also signaled toward a possible senate run. Comedian and the host of The Price is Right, Drew Carey, who’s also from Ohio just like former politician Rich Iott, has been touted as a Republican senator, but actually leans more towards Libertarian. In 2008, he spoke out against McCain/Pain.
“There’s an old filmmakers’ axiom that says ‘you should always make films with other people’s money’. While at first it may seem a bit crass, when one really analyses the statement, there is a lot of truth and sound logic in it,” says founder of Braeburn Entertainment Rich Iott. For the former President of Seaway Food Town, if you want to stay in the business for a long time, your films have to be marketable. “If you can’t convince other people to finance it, maybe it’s not such a hot product after all,” explain Rich. “And if you as a producer think it’s so hot, then you’re thinking about your personal investment may be clouded and biased.”
Having produced many successful films including “Insight” and “Separation Anxiety” and worked with plenty of production companies such as GC Pix, Rich Iott knows there are exceptions to this rule. “There are exceptions like for example Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ”, but they are just that, exceptions,” Rich explains. This 2004 Mel Gibson film was about the last twelve hours of Jesus of Nazareth’s life. Mel Gibson directed “The Passion of the Christ” and co-produced it with Bruce Davey and Steve McEveety. “My daughter, Devon, also passionate about the entertainment industry, was fortunate to have interned with Gibson’s Icon Productions , where she had the opportunity to meet him.” Rich says.
For the President of Braeburn Entertainment, the process of deciding whether or not to produce a movie involves shopping the project around to acquisition agents at different distributors to get their take on it. “It isn’t very often that they’ll commit to purchasing it, but they have a good feel for what sells,” explains Rich. “Occasionally they’ll agree to a ‘Minimum Guarantee’ (MG) which means they’ll buy certain rights: foreign sales, domestic television or worldwide DVD and so on for an agreed upon amount, possibly half the production costs.” Knowing that half the costs are covered makes it easier to raise additional funds. The MG though isn’t paid until the production of the movie is over and the product is delivered, so that can also create additional challenges to make the movie come to life.
For Executive Producer Richard Iott, the entertainment industry was always his passion, having majored in drama in college. Today, he shares that passion with various production companies including GC Pix and Glass City Films. This year, Rich is working on a movie called “180” starring Lacey Chabert and Amanda Schull and also has production credits on a film titled “The Closing Broadcast.” “Show business is great. I’ve always loved it. Even in high school, I was creating short films,” Rich says.
For movie producer Rich Iott, the Academy Awards have become somewhat irrelevant. “They’ve become terribly politicized, a bunch of millionaires patting each other on the back,” he says. As the founder of Braeburn Entertainment, there’s no doubt that for Rich the entertainment world is first a passion, then a business. “I use to create feature films when I was in high school and in college I majored in drama,” Rich recalls. Eventually, Rich took on the family business and made a career for himself with Seaway Food Town, a chain of 75 supermarkets and drugstores. He was elected President in 1989, elected Chief Executive Officer in 1997 and retired in 2000.
The Entertainment industry however was his first passion. So the recent Academy Awards were something movie producer Richard Iott is definitely opinionated about. The former political candidate thinks the Oscars are no longer really in synch with the viewing public. “ ‘The Artist’ as Best Picture? It was a novel. Well done and a bit of a risk, but Best Picture?” Rich wonders. For this movie producer the quality of movies coming out of mainstream Hollywood has declined. One movie that does stand out for Rich Iott is the latest to hit the theaters, called “Act of Valor.” “It’s an excellent movie,” he says.
The founder of Braeburn Entertainment found the “Act of Valor’s” story a little predictable, but the fact that the six main characters were real active duty SEALS made up for it. “Several actual missions that Spec Ops has done in the past few years were woven into one story. All of the action and stunts in the movie, were things that these guys really do in real life,” Rich explains. “All of the high-tech wizardry is real, current-day, operational Navy hardware in action, not some screenwriter’s fantasy,” he continues.
These days Richard finds that many of the successful movies hide behind fantasy worlds and computer graphics. “In some respects, the ability to digitally create everything from special effects to entire, populated worlds has numbed our imaginations and grossly inflated our expectations,” he explains. With his successful movie-making company, Braeburn Entertainment, Rich was able to produce films he’s very proud of… with great stories, complex characters and wonderful collaborations in the production world. He produced a thriller in 2011 called “Insight” with actors Sean Patrick Flanery and Christopher Lloyd and co-produced it with GC Pix. Richard Iott also produced “Separation Anxiety.” This successful movie appeared in significant film festivals including 2011 Columbus International Film and Video Festival (Honorable Mention) and the 2011 Grand Rapids Film Festival.