1997’s $589m-grossing Men In Black lost, er, $5m last year

Men In Black
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Sony continues to lose money hand over fist when it comes to 1997’s Men In Black movie, as its writer shares his profit participation statement.

The labyrinthine methodology behind Hollywood accounting is, might we suggest, done in a such a way that mere mortals like ourselves are not meant to quite understand what’s going on.  Instead, we get to state blankly are examples such as the one we’re about to give and wonder quite how things are able to be done this way.


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1997’s Men In Black then was a movie that cost some $90m to make, and grossed nearly $600m at the global box office on its initial release. It spawned a videogame, merchandise, a hit album, earned sizeable video rentals and sales, and would be followed by three further movies.

Over the years though, the man who wrote the film – Ed Solomon – has been keeping his Twitter followers up to date with how the film, er, continues to lose money. Solomon is entitled to 5% of the net profits for the movie, and when a new statement comes through, he duly posts it. Over the weekend he broke the news that Men In Black lost over $5m for Sony in the last year alone.

Quite how it’s managing to lose money is, well, your guess is as good as ours. What exactly did Sony spend money on when it came to the film in the last year, not least at a level where it cost more than the receipts the movie continues to bring in?

Here’s Solomon’s Twitter post, which asks more questions than gives answers…

And if you scroll down the replies, you’ll find one from another screenwriter, Steven E deSouza, whose name is on the first two Die Hard movies.

It does seem remarkably odd that Hollywood would continue to make sequels to films that are clearly losing it money so consistently. That, or perhaps the accounting is on the grey side here, although we’d never suggest anything as scurrilous as that.

Wishing Sony the very best next year, and the hope that the original Men In Black won’t continue to be a $5-6m drain on its resources on an annual basis.

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