I’m sure you are all familiar with this Hollywood studio logo.
This belongs to TriStar Pictures, which is a subsidiary of Sony. Tristar had been acquired by Sony from Coke way back in 1989, and despite a number of revamps that the studio has gone through, the brand name of Tristar has survived. In recent years, TriStar Pictures has been involved less with production and focused more on distribution of movies. But things are about to change with the rather newly founded TriStar Productions. TriStar Productions came to be in August 2013 as a Joint Venture between Sony and Tim Rothman, who is the former 20th Century Fox chairman and had worked for 18 years with that studio. Didn’t he need a change! With TriStar Productions, Rothman plans to finance four films a year, which will also allow Sony to expand its library of movies. Rothman is already out there closing deals, relying much on star-power for his forthcoming films. These include The Walk starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt; Ricki And The Flash, which has Meryl Streep; an untitled comedy by Bridesmaids writers Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo; an adaptation of Alan Bennett’s The Lady In The Van in which Maggie Smith will reprise her stage role; and What Alice Forgot, which will be directed by The Devil Wears Prada’s David Frankel. Now add one more to the list.
As Deadline reports, TriStar has won the right to finance and release the $30 million budget Money Monster, which has two big names attached to it — Jodie Foster as the director and George Clooney as the actor. The movie is said to be a thriller and its story goes something like this.
Clooney stars as Lee Gates, a bombastic television stock huckster, who is held hostage on air by a man who followed the huckster’s advice, lost his money and put his young family in precarious straits. As much of the world watches live, Gates must keep himself alive and, with help from the woman who produces the show, uncover the truth behind a tangle of big money lies.
The movie’s premise gives enough clues about what to expect. This one seems all set to be a true thriller, nothing more and nothing less. And we aren’t complaining about that! It’s simply great to see Jodie Foster involved in film projects even if it were to remain behind the cameras, for we see so little of her lately. On screen, her presence has been drying up; she has no films slated for a 2014 release, and her last appearance in Elysium of 2013 had come after a barren 2012. She’s working on building her reputation as a director though. Her 2011 directed film The Beaver did not do too well at the box-office, but she has continued working behind the cameras having directed one episode of the TV series House of Cards and two episodes of Orange is the New Black. The movie Money Monster should give Foster the chance to work on something with a lot more box-office potential, and may very well set her on track to be taken as a serious movie director.
The presence of George Clooney will undoubtedly help. His movies more or less shine on the box-office, and even a brief role in something like Gravity is remembered. The character of Lee Gates for Money Monster seems to have been written with Clooney in mind, and we could easily see him slip into that role without blinking an eyelid. The budget of $30 million seems to be modest enough considering the star potential involved here, and the fact that thrillers are much easier to sell to the audience. To draw a parallel, Liam Neeson came out with another airplane thriller this year titled Non-Stop which had a production budget of $50 million and has earned close to $200 million worldwide. So this seems to be a clever piece of work done by TriStar, and going by the slate of movies that they have up their sleeves, the studio is up for the competition!