1997's Men in Black is a perfect movie. Whether it's the chemistry of lead stars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, the score by Danny Elfman or Barry Sonnenfeld's wonderful direction, MiB is pretty much the ultimate '90s blockbuster - a gloriously creative sci-fi comedy punctuated by a banging track from the king of summertime himself. The film grossed over a half-billion dollars at the box-office and spawned three sequels (two of them good), an animated series, games, and plenty of merchandise.
Cumulatively, the four MiB movies released to date have grossed over $1.9 billion (according to Box Office Mojo). So why does its production company and distributor, Sony Pictures, insist that the first movie made a loss?
Yes, even though it was made for a reported budget of $90 million, the first Men in Black is apparently yet to turn a profit - strangely, it would seem, to the benefit of the film's studio, Sony Pictures. In numerous ways, Men in Black being a loss-maker is beneficial to Sony, paying off when it comes to taxation and the payment of profit points to creatives involved with its production - one of whom has highlighted the issue repeatedly over the last few years.
It shouldn't be controversial to say that writers are the backbone of the movie and television business. Without scripts, you don't have anything to shoot. Without writers, you get stuff like Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. And yet, consistently, over the years, writers have been mistreated by the Hollywood studios - exploited, overworked, and undervalued. It's little wonder that fresh strikes are ongoing at the time of recording, with the Writers Guild of America fighting for fair and equitable treatment for generating the ideas that makes Hollywood its billions.