This Week in the Mercury


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Orson Scott Card Won't Make Any Money From the Ender's Game Movie

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Wed, Oct 30, 2013 at 5:46 PM

ENDERS GAME You look like an idiot, kid. You think Han Solo wore a cute little helmet?
  • ENDER'S GAME "You look like an idiot, kid. You think Han Solo needed to wear some cute little helmet?"

In this week's paper, I reviewed Ender's Game, the new movie based on the 1985 novel by Orson Scott Card. It's... not bad? It isn't great, either, but it's about as decent of an adaptation as we're going to get, once you make peace with the fact that that the filmmakers decided to (A) cram Ender's Game into two hours, and (B) soften the story so that it'll appeal to the widest possible audience. Anyway, read the whole review if you're interested, but here's the final paragraph:

While Ender's Game boasts stuff worth seeing (ZERO-GRAVITY BATTLES), here's a downer: Anti-gay activist Card is credited as a producer on the film, which means he'll likely be seeing some money once Ender's Game makes back its budget. I was going to suggest buying a ticket to another film, then sneaking into Ender's Game, but here's a better idea: Swing by Powell's. Pick up a used paperback.

TURNS OUT THAT'S NOT TRUE. According to TheWrap, Card sold his movie rights before authors realized they could have a much bigger role in the filmmaking process, let alone share in their films' profits:

Multiple sources from both inside and outside the companies that produced the Ender’s Game film—distributor Summit Entertainment, visual effects company Digital Domain and book-rights holder OddLot Entertainment—tell TheWrap that Card’s fee has already been paid through a decade-old deal that includes no backend.

If you really want to hit Card where it hurts, don’t buy his book: Card still profits handsomely from the novel, perched at the top of the latest New York Times Best Seller List for paperback mass-market fiction.

Though it was whispered early on that Card’s contract had “escalators”—built-in box-office milestones with cash bonuses attached—individuals close to the film say he has no such profit participation. (Via.)

So the good news is that if you want to see the Ender's Game movie and don't want your money going to Card, you're in the clear! That said, I'd still recommend picking up a used paperback of Ender's Game instead. The book's better than the movie—and while Card is no doubt making a ton of cash from sales of new copies of Ender's Game, authors don't see a dime when bookstores sell used copies.


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