History UsefulNotes / HollywoodAccounting

20th Nov '16 3:07:00 PM eroock
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->''"Well, it's like stupid points. Stupid to take the points. "Won't be any net profits?" You sit there with your points going, 'Eeeh, eeh, eeh, eeh, eeh.'"''
-->-- '''Creator/EddieMurphy''', explaining why he called net points "monkey points"
12th Nov '16 4:57:52 PM bwburke94
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* Paramount and Creator/{{CBS}} have never paid any of the ''Franchise/StarTrek'' actors for the use of their image in any of the merchandising that has been sold for the series, claiming that it has lost money in all of them. [[SarcasmMode It is impressive that they keep producing all this merchandise that does nothing but lose money, isn't it?]]

to:

* Paramount and Creator/{{CBS}} have never paid any of the ''Franchise/StarTrek'' actors for the use of their image in any of the merchandising that has been sold for the series, claiming that it has lost money in all of them. [[SarcasmMode It is impressive that they keep producing all this merchandise that does nothing but lose money, isn't it?]]
28th Aug '16 3:42:31 PM missmoon
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Added DiffLines:

* The major reason that both Music/BackstreetBoys and Music/{{NSYNC}} sued and ultimately parted ways with the late Lou Pearlman was that he was embellishing their contracts so that over half the money they earned from gigs and sales went to him directly and that he even gave himself royalties from the songwriting. Even after that, he was also running a massive Ponzi scheme that defrauded people who trusted him over $300 million, which lead to his arrest, conviction and death in prison for fraud.
16th Aug '16 9:36:01 PM PaulA
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!!In-universe examples:

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* ''ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}}'' described this trope as follows:
-->'''Dogbert:''' The net is what you land in after you jump off a cliff when you realize that the deal you signed won't get you any money.\\
'''Dilbert:''' What if there is no net?\\
'''Dogbert:''' It's gross.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film - Live Action]]
* Used as a plot device in ''Film/TheProducers''. The premise of the scheme is to massively oversell shares in a Broadway production, then create a [[SpringtimeForHitler deliberate flop]], leaving the "heroes" free to flee with the money.[[labelnote:math]]If you raise $2,000,000 by selling 20% of the gross to 100 people for $20,000 each (There's a lot of little old ladies out there!), Then make only $10,000 on opening night, 20% of gross x $10,000 x 100 people = $200,000. You pocket the remaining $1,800,000, and go to Rio![[/labelnote]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* In the ''Literature/SunnyRandall'' book ''Blue Screen'': Sunny, working as a bodyguard for an actress, is discussing Hollywood Accounting with an industry lawyer that she has been seeing on-and-off. She asks if this sort of practice is done. The response is "I know accountants who could convincingly demonstrate on paper that ''Literature/GoneWithTheWind'' [[note]]Which, as of 2014 is ''still'' the highest grossing film of all time, when adjusted for inflation[[/note]] showed no profit."
* Creator/JohnScalzi's ''Literature/AgentToTheStars'' [[DiscussedTrope discusses]] this extensively, since the protagonist is an actor's agent by trade.
* In ''Literature/FallingFree'', the corporation that made quaddies did some creative accounting to claim that all the R&D expenses involved in creating, raising and training the quaddies were legitimate business expenses for a totally unrelated business the company was doing in the same area, allowing them to cut the apparent profits of said business and reduce their tax burden. A change in the local tax code that stopped them from doing this anymore, followed by a technical breakthrough that reduced the utility of quaddies significantly, resulted in the quaddie project being scrapped (and the person in charge trying to kill all the quaddies).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Literature/ThatWackyRedhead'', this is what prompts George Lucas to sue Paramount Pictures over the issue of [[Franchise/StarWars Journey of the Force]]'s being one of the most successful movies ever, while George barely saw a cent of those profits. [[spoiler:It ends up with victory for Lucas, and Paramount forced to pay ''1 '''billion''' dollars''.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* This was discussed in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Freakazoid}}'', of all places. Our hero is advising the alien Mo-Ron about life on Earth, and says, "Always ask for a piece of the gross. Not the net. The net is ''fantasy''." While he says this, he is signing a contract with checkboxes marked "Net (sucker)" and "Gross (better get a lawyer)".
[[/folder]]

!!Real life examples:



* Used as a plot device in ''Film/TheProducers''. The premise of the scheme is to massively oversell shares in a Broadway production, then create a [[SpringtimeForHitler deliberate flop]], leaving the "heroes" free to flee with the money.[[labelnote:math]]If you raise $2,000,000 by selling 20% of the gross to 100 people for $20,000 each (There's a lot of little old ladies out there!), Then make only $10,000 on opening night, 20% of gross x $10,000 x 100 people = $200,000. You pocket the remaining $1,800,000, and go to Rio![[/labelnote]]



[[folder:Literature]]
* In-universe example, in the ''Literature/SunnyRandall'' book ''Blue Screen'': Sunny, working as a bodyguard for an actress, is discussing Hollywood Accounting with an industry lawyer that she has been seeing on-and-off. She asks if this sort of practice is done. The response is "I know accountants who could convincingly demonstrate on paper that ''Literature/GoneWithTheWind'' [[note]]Which, as of 2014 is ''still'' the highest grossing film of all time, when adjusted for inflation[[/note]] showed no profit."
* [[Creator/JohnScalzi John Scalzi]]'s ''Literature/AgentToTheStars'' [[DiscussedTrope discusses]] this extensively, since the protagonist is an actor's agent by trade.
* In ''Literature/FallingFree'', the corporation that made quaddies did some creative accounting to claim that all the R&D expenses involved in creating, raising and training the quaddies were legitimate business expenses for a totally unrelated business the company was doing in the same area, allowing them to cut the apparent profits of said business and reduce their tax burden. A change in the local tax code that stopped them from doing this anymore, followed by a technical breakthrough that reduced the utility of quaddies significantly, resulted in the quaddie project being scrapped (and the person in charge trying to kill all the quaddies).
[[/folder]]



[[folder:Web Original]]
* In Literature/ThatWackyRedhead, this is what prompts George Lucas to sue Paramount Pictures over the issue of [[Franchise/StarWars Journey of the Force]]'s being one of the most successful movies ever, while George barely saw a cent of those profits. [[spoiler:It ends up with victory for Lucas, and Paramount forced to pay ''1 '''billion''' dollars''.]]
[[/folder]]



* This was discussed in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Freakazoid}}'', of all places. Our hero is advising the alien Mo-Ron about life on Earth, and says, "Always ask for a piece of the gross. Not the net. The net is ''fantasy''."
** While he says this, he is signing a contract with checkboxes marked "Net (sucker)" and "Gross (better get a lawyer)".
* ''ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}}'' described this trope as follows
-->'''Dogbert:''' The net is what you land in after you jump off a cliff when you realize that the deal you signed won't get you any money.\\
'''Dilbert:''' What if there is no net?\\
'''Dogbert:''' It's gross.
16th Aug '16 9:28:46 PM PaulA
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* In ''[[Literature/VorkosiganSaga Falling Free]]'', the corporation that made quaddies did some creative accounting to claim that all the R&D expenses involved in creating, raising and training the quaddies were legitimate business expenses for a totally unrelated business the company was doing in the same area, allowing them to cut the apparent profits of said business and reduce their tax burden. A change in the local tax code that stopped them from doing this anymore, followed by a technical breakthrough that reduced the utility of quaddies significantly, resulted in the quaddie project being scrapped (and the person in charge trying to kill all the quaddies).

to:

* In ''[[Literature/VorkosiganSaga Falling Free]]'', ''Literature/FallingFree'', the corporation that made quaddies did some creative accounting to claim that all the R&D expenses involved in creating, raising and training the quaddies were legitimate business expenses for a totally unrelated business the company was doing in the same area, allowing them to cut the apparent profits of said business and reduce their tax burden. A change in the local tax code that stopped them from doing this anymore, followed by a technical breakthrough that reduced the utility of quaddies significantly, resulted in the quaddie project being scrapped (and the person in charge trying to kill all the quaddies).
10th Aug '16 11:13:24 AM Mario1995
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Added DiffLines:

* Universal [[http://variety.com/2016/biz/news/out-of-africa-lawsuit-30-years-after-release-1201834662/ got into trouble with a producer of]] 1985's ''Film/OutOfAfrica'' when he discovered that 31 years after its release, he still had received no payment from his involvement in the movie.
24th Jun '16 11:40:07 AM Mario1995
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* Creator/MichaelMoore took the Creator/{{Miramax}} founders Bob and Harvey Weinstein to court over an alleged scheme to cheat Moore out of paying any royalties to him from the receipts of ''Fahrenheit 9/11''. They eventually settled in undisclosed terms.

to:

* Creator/MichaelMoore took the Creator/{{Miramax}} Creator/MiramaxFilms founders Bob and Harvey Weinstein to court over an alleged scheme to cheat Moore out of paying any royalties to him from the receipts of ''Fahrenheit 9/11''. They eventually settled in undisclosed terms.
24th Jun '16 11:39:29 AM Mario1995
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Added DiffLines:

* Creator/MichaelMoore took the Creator/{{Miramax}} founders Bob and Harvey Weinstein to court over an alleged scheme to cheat Moore out of paying any royalties to him from the receipts of ''Fahrenheit 9/11''. They eventually settled in undisclosed terms.
31st May '16 12:43:47 AM jameygamer
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* ''Film/BattlefieldEarth'' was the film Franchise Pictures founder Elie Samaha said would make his company a force worth taking seriously. ''Battlefield Earth'', however, is [[DarthWiki/SoBadItsHorrible notoriously bad]], and it later transpired that Franchise existed to [[SpringTimeForHitler "over-budget" bad movies and keep the excess as profit]]. After this stinker, the FBI closed in and reclaimed the $100 million...er, $75 million...er, $44 million spent.

to:

* ''Film/BattlefieldEarth'' was the film Franchise Pictures founder Elie Samaha said would make his company a force worth taking seriously. ''Battlefield Earth'', however, is [[DarthWiki/SoBadItsHorrible notoriously bad]], and it later transpired that Franchise existed to [[SpringTimeForHitler "over-budget" bad movies and keep the excess as profit]]. After this stinker, the FBI closed in and reclaimed the $100 million...er, $75 million...er, $44 million spent. The lawsuit that came with the FBI eventually [[CreatorKiller blew Franchise Pictures apart]].
21st May '16 4:24:25 PM erforce
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* Creator/SigourneyWeaver was told that the studio lost money on the original ''Film/{{Ghostbusters}}'', despite it being one of the most successful films ever made, and thus she wasn't going to get any royalties from it. Supposedly she showed up with an army of lawyers and accountants to check the books, and the studio offered her an exorbitant amount of money to appear in the sequel to keep her from looking at them.

to:

* Creator/SigourneyWeaver was told that the studio lost money on the original ''Film/{{Ghostbusters}}'', ''Film/{{Ghostbusters 1984}}'', despite it being one of the most successful films ever made, and thus she wasn't going to get any royalties from it. Supposedly she showed up with an army of lawyers and accountants to check the books, and the studio offered her an exorbitant amount of money to appear in the sequel [[Film/GhostbustersII sequel]] to keep her from looking at them.
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=UsefulNotes.HollywoodAccounting