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Studios can learn to just say yes

March 01, 2009

Truly appreciated John Horn's take on the success of "Slumdog Millionaire" ["From a Mutt to a 'Millionaire,' " Feb. 22]. Sadly, the industry has a tendency to evaluate films such as "Slumdog" and "The Wrestler" as rare events that manage to slip into the system every few years.

Given the economic conditions and the desire for new product, films such as these can definitely become part of the norm in a studio's development and distribution slates. However, it involves the "system" to say yes.

We all love the big-event movies: "Benjamin Button" is a brilliant and beautiful film that will continue to entertain audiences for years to come.

On a different economic scale, it too required the tenacity and drive to stay alive for years until it made it to the big screen; even with bankable stars attached, it required an out-of the-box mind-set to achieve success.

Another out-of-the box film is Ron Howard's ["Frost/Nixon"]. Another example of how the drive of story and a vision got this picture made. I can only picture how some younger executives reacted when they heard the name David Frost: "Who?"

Perhaps when the morning-after effect is replaced with the sober reality of standard fare, the executives will reflect on these films and realize it does not take a specialty division to acquire and sell these gems, but rather for them to step up and say, "I like this story and I think the audiences will too."

Doug Warner

Los Angeles

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The untold story of "Slumdog Millionaire" is Fox Searchlight. In five years they have gotten three best picture nominations for good but hardly best picture-worthy films ("Sideways," "Little Miss Sunshine" and "Juno"). If any of the other best picture nominees had ended with a feel-good Bollywood musical number, they would have given "Slumdog" a run for its money.

Steve Barr

Los Angeles

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