The Quest For Fraggle Rock Continues

I’m sure many of you read this news item last week:

New Regency Lands ‘Fraggle Rock’ Feature Rights Auction – Deadline.com

The short version is that Weinstein Company’s rights to the Fraggle Rock movie have finally expired and Henson has made a deal with New Regency — a deal to start… all… over. Thanks for all the emails and Twitter messages about it, but it has very little to do with me. Everyone wants to know if this is good news for me, or if I will be involved with the rebirth of this project, or what the next step is.

The simple answer is, I don’t know.

All I can tell you is this: For the past year, Weinstein Company sat on the rights to Fraggle Rock until they expired, then quietly let the project die — without telling me, of course. I’ve found that, in this business, no one ever actually FIRES you. You just stop getting information. Projects don’t ever get killed, they just slowly evaporate (like Yoda dissolving away as his little robe just sinks to the floor) — peacefully, calling no attention to their demise. Well, I noticed its demise, believe me. For any Fraggle fans out there, please know that I was pushing and pushing and doing everything I could to get that studio to see the value of the movie and the value of my vision for it. I cut storyboard sequences together, I had a lead actor secured, I had a top music artist ready to produce the soundtrack, and from what I was told, I had a script that everyone liked. But as the studio experienced a regime change, new execs had other plans for Fraggle Rock. If you read my blog, you know that the number one request was to make the Fraggles “edgy.” Yaaaaay. The funniest part of that era was that once “The Smurfs” came out, I saw that they pretty much did everything to that movie that I was being pressured to do with the Fraggles. There was even a Guitar Hero scene. I kid you not. We were headed towards a very, very Smurfy version of Fraggle Rock, kids. So perhaps everything happened for the best. (And “Smurfs” has made a Smurf-pile of money, so what do I know?)

At the end of the day, I wasn’t meant with so much opposition as I was with quiet indifference. I was ready to bring in a new writer, hear the studio’s concerns and even start from page one, all over again. But I was told, “We don’t know what we want to do… we’ll let you know.” After hearing nothing for a year, I was finally able to confirm a rumor that Weinstein Co. had finally let the project die and Henson was going elsewhere. To be clear, while Henson was very supportive of my script, my deal to write and direct was with Weinstein. So as Henson takes the project to New Regency, they are starting over. I have no deal in place. No one owes me anything. But I sure would like to put my three years of energy, research and vision back to good use if they want to talk. I’m doing my best to be available to Henson and I will reach out to the folks at New Regency. But these new players will do what they feel is best for the Fraggles. I’d love to share what I think and I’d still love to be the one to make it happen. Only time will tell.

Thank you again for all of your support and encouragement over the course of this project. I’ll let you know any news if I have it.


5 Responses to “The Quest For Fraggle Rock Continues”

  • John A. Ardelli Says:

    Why am I not surprised…?

    This is why I’m not interested in getting into “show business.”

    To clarify, I love making films; I produce a series on YouTube. I would love to write, produce and direct my own features. I am, however, reluctant to work with a studio.

    Simply put, I am not a businessman. Indeed, I hate the whole concept of money (check out the episode “Money” on my YouTube series; the website is on this post). I’m not interested in making a film where making money is a consideration.

    Therein lies the problem, however, and why I don’t want to work with studios. Studios MUST make money on their films or they cease to have the resources to continue as studios. I understand this; it’s a necessary evil (at least in a money based economy). The problem is whenever you’re working with a studio (“you” meaning people in general, not you personally Mr. Edwards :)) you are dealing with someone else’s money. That, in turn, places you in a difficult position creatively if the studio “bean counters,” who may or may NOT have any idea what they’re doing creatively, insist that you make changes to your project. Since it’s their money chances are you’ll have to use their ideas, whether they be good OR BAD, or you lose their money, and that in turn flushes your project down the toilet altogether.

    Now, since we DO live in a money driven economy and there’s nothing I can do to change that, I should clarify that I don’t have any problem with making a film that makes money. What I’m saying is that how much money a film will make should, ideally, not be considered until after the film is FINISHED. That way, the creative process is kept pure; no creative decisions in making it are influenced by the thought, “How can we ensure this film makes money?”

    I think the biggest problem with studios is the idea they seem to have that it’s possible to make a film that’s guaranteed to make money. In my opinion there’s no such thing. No matter HOW you make a film you can never be sure how audiences are going to react to it until it’s actually finished. Oh sure you can try to figure out what the audience wants to see and try to structure your film to cater to that; the problem is if you try to shoehorn something into a film that doesn’t belong there to make it “appeal to more people” it’s still going to hurt your film. For example, if you have an action picture that works fine for action fans but then you jam in a bunch of scenes with cute kittens to try to appeal to the soft-hearted market you just end up damaging the structure of a film and it’ll end up not pleasing either the action fan OR the soft-hearted.

    In my opinion, a film needs to stand on its own for what it is before ANY consideration of money. AFTER ITS FINISHED you can think about what kind of demographic at which you want to aim it based on what it ultimately turns out to be.

    Yes, I know, that’s risky; that’s why studios meddle in films, in an attempt to limit their risk. In the final analysis, however, you CAN’T limit your risk; that’s the nature of film. In the end, it all comes down to whether the film is good or not. If it is, those it appeals to WILL go to see it and, if it’s REALLY good, they might even go for REPEAT VIEWINGS (and that makes just as much money as having a bigger audience watching it once). If it’s NOT good, NO ONE goes to see it.

    In this case, I think The Weinstien Company simply got cold feet considering the expense of producing a film like Fraggle Rock. The rights and talent alone are undoubtedly very expensive for such a well known and popular property and they weren’t convinced it would appeal to enough people to recoup those expenses.

    I haven’t read your script, Mr. Edwards (though I would love to) but I’m virtually 100% certain it was better writing than the aforementioned Smurfs. I’ve seen your films; you are an artist of integrity with exceptionally original, and wildly entertaining, ideas. I suspect Weinstein simply looked at your work and thought, “Well, WE enjoy this and Fraggle fans will probably like it but will it appeal to enough people to sell enough tickets to cover the millions of dollars we need to invest here? Maybe…” Paralyzed by the uncertainty implied by that “maybe” they decided to go the “safe” route and cut their losses…

    And THAT is why I’m not interested in show “business.” Or “business” IN GENERAL, for that matter.

    Money just makes everything more complicated than it should be. Personally, to paraphrase Captain Picard in Star Trek: First Contact, it would be better if money didn’t exist at all, if we all just worked to better ourselves and the rest of Humanity; if we just worked to take care of each other then the artists of the world, filmmakers included, wouldn’t have to worry about meeting their personal needs or about how much things cost; they could concentrate on expressing themselves.

    Expressing oneself is the ultimate goal of art; money should not be a limiting factor in a person’s ability to express themselves.

    • cory Says:

      It’s a wonderful dream world to imagine art with no consequences. But art needs money, and popular art needs commercial success to stay funded. It’s the double-edged sword every filmmaker must deal with. And a “money based economy” is the only real economy. It’s the one that gives us clothes, food, TV sets and cars to drive. As much as I’d like to do without the “bean counters,” we must find ways to appease and understand them instead of dismissing them as irrelevant. Yes, studios have super-dumb ideas, but they are still the ones with the most resources. And we must remember that the studios that crank out crap are also the same ones that have given us movies like “E.T.,” “The Godfather” and “Lord of the Rings.”

  • Matt Says:

    Hey Cory, I’m sorry that it didn’t go through with the Fraggle rock thing but who knows? Regency could hire you for the script. But that was last October though and now it’s March… I’m sincerely hoping that this project gets done, but it’s sad to know that you’re not going to be on it. I’ve loved Fraggle rock for a very long time. Heck- I even have a Gobo Fraggle puppet somewhere in my attic! But seriously, I think that this movie needs to be made. If they don’t do it, heh, then I will. I kinda wanted to get the basic story. I know this might be begging, but do you still have the script? I’d kill to see it. But I hope that Regency continues the project and does it well. (NO COMPUTER ANIMATION!) Well, here’s to Fraggle Rock! Truly Yours, Matt.
    DOWN AT FRAGGLE ROCK!

    • cory Says:

      Hey, just saw this… Sorry, I can’t say much about the Fraggle Rock project anymore. It is in someone else’s hands… I’m connected to the script and direction that went with the Weinstein deal, so I’m fairly certain New Regency won’t be considering me. Who knows, crazier things have happened and Phoenix’s do rise from ashes, but don’t hold your breath on this.
      Believe me, I’m disappointed too.

  • Becky Says:

    Corey!

    Becky from Ilovefraggles.com here… It’s been a long time (having a baby will do that to a person I’ve discovered)! This is troubling on many levels. I’m so glad that someone picked up the rights – but I truly hope that they decide to put your hard work and passion for this project to good use as well! I’ll fix some of my links for your blog :) The sites a mess these days.

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