Tribute to The Asylum Films (1997- 2013)

Posted: 13/06/2013 in Tribute
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The Asylum was founded in 1997 by producers David Rimawi and Sherri Strain (formerly of Village Roadshow Pictures) with an up and coming director David Michael Latt. They originally envisioned making their profit by producing a number of  low to middle budget Horror films per a year. That strategy proved almost fatal as they faced competition in major studios like  Lions Gate Entertainment (who despite being a big studio still controlled the solid piece of the pie in the straight to DVD world too).

asylum logoConsider this logo an early warning system…

Faced with a choice to completely rethink their whole approach or perish they decided to do something that was never done before- at least not with such precision and dedication! They created the new kind of movie- THE MOCKBUSTER!

In 2005 they produced the extremely low budget adaptation of HG Well’s War of the World roughly at the same time Steven Spielberg major picture of the same name, staring Tom Cruise. Blockbuster LCC ordered somewhere around 100,000 copies of The Asylum’s adaptation and next thing you know their business model was born! Rimawi and Strain continued to produce a string of lo- fi tie-ins to popular franchises with striking similarities to popular blockbusters (in the title, cover and to a degree a script too). That’s how we got “hits” like Transmorphers, The Terminators,  AVH: Alien vs. Hunter, The Day the Earth Stopped, Titanic II, Princess of Mars and Almighty Thor!

Their system is simple one. The production company averages two releases a month, shoots last only about three weeks, and most budgets never go past 200 000 dollars, all go direct to video, and they spend absolutely nothing on advertising or marketing. They share their movies primarily in three categories  (based on the budget of course) :  network television films (the dreaded SyFy channel), 1 million dollars or less due to the “star” like Tara Reid, Lorenzo Lamas or Eric Roberts and post- production for CGI monsters effects (think of the movies like Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus, Mega Python vs. Gatoroid or Mega Shark Versus Crocosaurus),  then we have Sexy Comedies and Horror Films (their original love), those take about 200 000 dollars each and we are left with (these days extremely overused sub- genre) Found- footage horror, and those are in 100 000 dollars or less range. I think by know you understand the simplicity and pure genius of this model and the greatest thing of them all- people are so stupid they don’t even notice what they bought/ rented until it’s too late!

Asylum collectionChoose, but choose wisely!

Of course things are not all sunshine and rainbows on The Asylum front. Recently Universal Studios filed a lawsuit against The Asylum for their American Battleship, due to infrigement with their Battleship.  Soon Warner Bros. with New Line Cinema and MGM fallowed, commencing legal action against Asylum’s The Age of Hobbits ( brilliant tittle I might add) claiming they were free- ridding campaign for Peter Jackson’s forthcoming film. Asylum eventually released it under the title Clash of the Empires (or Lords of the Elves depending where you’re from), keeping their exploitative theme intact.

ageofthehobbits_largeIs there a single person out there that doesn’t want to see this?

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