But as Hollywood power shifts more to Wall Street investors, financiers are starting to bypass studio bosses by dealing directly with successful producers.
Now, instead of deals being cut over lunch at Spago or the Grill, movies are increasingly being greenlighted in conference calls to New York.
The reason is a simple desire for more control. Wall Street financiers want a greater say over what movies they finance and who makes them; producers want more artistic independence and a larger share of the profits.
The studios themselves are nudging the trend along, too, since they are making fewer movies.
A result for moviegoers is that they could begin to see even more thrillers, comedies and horror movies at the multiplex — the types of movies Wall Street favors, because of their more predictable payoff.
Joel Silver, the producer of the “Lethal Weapon” and “The Matrix” movies, at his Brentwood, Calif., home. He is the latest and most important Hollywood figure to cut a big deal with Wall Street.