Paramount Takes Massive Write-Down on ‘Monster Trucks’
In what might conservatively be described as a mildly discouraging sign, the Wall Street Journal reports that Paramount Pictures “took the unusual step Wednesday of announcing a $115 million impairment charge ‘related to the expected performance of an unreleased film.’” And that film appears to be Monster Trucks, which has an also mildly discouraging release date of early January, in which a teenager (26-year-old Lucas Till) discovers a monster who then hangs out inside his truck. Hence, monster truck.
According to the Journal, Monster Trucks “was conceived in 2013 by Adam Goodman, then the president of Paramount’s film group, off an idea he had bandied about with his then-4-year-old son.” Wait, a 4-year-old came up with the idea for a movie about monster trucks that are actually monsters in trucks? Who’d believe that? (I definitely would.) Here is the movie’s trailer.
This is not the first time a studio has invested heavily in an idea that was largely invented by the children of film industry insiders. In 2005, Miramax released The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl, a Robert Rodriguez picture about a pair of young superheroes created by Rodriguez’s kids. The movie had a reported budget of $50 million and made about $70 million worldwide, so it wasn’t an abject disaster, but not exactly a record-breaker either.
The key issue with ideas that were made by kids is that they tend to only appeal to kids. I could absolutely see very young children wanting to see Monster Trucks, but anyone over the age of, say 8? Not so much. And Paramount reportedly spent $125 million on this thing. $125 million on monster trucks and Lucas Till! Hence the possible write-down. Worst of all, this does not bode well for my spec script Fart Museum, which I just spent three years writing after overhearing two kids’ conversation on the subway. Monster Trucks opens on January 13.