Coming Soon: More Producer Credit Glut!
By ROBERT W. WELKOS
When you ask indie producer Luillo Ruiz how his recent low-budget action-comedy film Welcome to the Jungle featuring veteran martial arts star Jean-Claude Van Damme could come with 31 producer credits, his answer is simple and straightforward.
The film’s financiers were given executive producer credits, he said, while others who provided their production skills for less than what they would normally charge accepted other producer credits.
“They are not charging what they are supposed to charge but they are very passionate about bringing their skill to this film and the skills they bring to this film have a cost. That cost you should repay,” Ruiz explained by telephone from Puerto Rico, where his production company, Piemienta, is located and where the film was shot.
In the film, which came out in limited release Feb. 7 and has also been released on DVD, Van Damme plays an unhinged Marine who leads a group of unsuspecting office workers on a survival trek across a jungle-infested island when they find themselves stranded at a corporate retreat.
Ruiz said the shoot took 19 days in Puerto Rico.
According to IMDB, Welcome to the Jungle comes with two producers—Ruiz and L.A.-based Justin Kanew (“The Amazing Race”)—along with 14 executive producers, eight associate producers, four co-executive producers and three co-producers.
Welcome to the jungle, indeed.
But the Van Damme film is not an isolated case of producer credit glut.
Last year, Lee Daniels’ The Butler drew media attention apart from the drama’s strong reviews when it listed 41 producer credits.
The Producers Guild of America co-president Mark Gordon told the entertainment website The Wrap that the 41 producer credits was “a little embarrassing for everyone within our community.”
The PGA has been fighting producer credit bloat for years and now has a certification process in place to protect the integrity of the producer credit.
According to the PGA, once a producer’s work on a film is certified by the guild, the “Produced by” credit and producers name will be followed by the distinctive mark: “p.g.a.” All the major studios have signed on to the process as well as many independent producers.
In the days and weeks to come, Hollywood studios and independent distributors will be releasing all sorts of films that are crammed with producer credits. For example:
*Fifteen producer credits on IFC Films’ The Face of Love starring Robin Williams, Ed Harris and Annette Bening.
*Fourteen producer credits on A Birder’s Guide to Everything starring Ben Kingsley, Kodi Smit-McPhee and James Le Gros about a teenaged boy who, on the eve of his father’s remarriage, escapes on an epic road trip with his best friends. Screen Media Films and Focus World have given it a limited March 21 release date.
*Thirteen producer credits on Blood Ties, a crime/thriller starring Mila Kunis, Zoe Saldana and Marion Cotillard from Lionsgate that is scheduled for release March 21 lists.
*Thirteen producer credits on Grand Piano starring Elijah Wood and John Cusack about a concert pianist who suffers from stage fright, The film opens tomorrow.
*A dozen producer credits on the Warner Bros. sword-and-sandal action film 300: Rise of an Empire opening tomorrow.
*Sixteen producer credits on The Quiet Ones, a film about a university professor who assembles a team to help create a poltergeist. Lionsgate plans to release the film April 25.
*Eighteen producer credits on Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return, an animated film featuring the voiceovers of Dan Aykroyd, Lea Michele and others in which Dorothy Gale of Kansas decides to return to Oz in order to help her friends. Clarius Entertainment is scheduled to release the film May 9.
By comparison, Paramount’s Noah, the sweeping Biblical epic starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson and Anthony Hopkins, and set for release March 28, has only four producers, two executive producers and a co-producer. The producers include director Darren Aronofsky, Scott Franklin (Black Swan), New Regency Chairman Arnon Milchan (L.A. Confidential) and Mary Parent, who oversaw production at Universal with Scott Stuber, with whom she currently runs Stuber/Parent Productions.