Really great news out of the New York Times today for anyone who likes comedy and is dissatisfied with the slate of options major studios produce each year: "South Park" creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker are starting a $300 million studio that will have the necessary "power and money to approve television, movie, and theater projects, including a big-screen version of 'The Book of Mormon.'" It'll be called Important Studios, naturally.
From the Times:
On Friday, Mr. Parker and Mr. Stone were putting together the final news release to announce their studio. They settled on this quip: “Having worked with several different studios over the years, we came to realize that our favorite people in the world are ourselves.”
The pair will join a short line of Hollywood players who have formed their own studios as a way to gain control over the creative, production and distribution process.
Mr. Stone initially said he hoped Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks or Mr. Lucas’s Lucasfilm could serve as a model for Important Studios, then paused for a moment. “In some ways it’s a stupid comparison because they are gargantuan,” he said. “We want to be a smaller, more humble version of that.”
He continued: “If DreamWorks is Walmart, we are over here knitting sweaters.”
It's all kind of incredible: Parker and Stone—who have clashed with censors and bosses all throughout the years—are now in charge of their own independent studio partly built from the profits they've made from "The Book of Mormon" and "South Park's" 16-year run. They haven't been the punk kids of Hollywood for a long time now, but this news really does put them firmly in the establishment.
Which is a good thing. If "South Park" and "The Book of Mormon" have proven anything, it's that Parker and Stone don't care about pissing people off, and they never, ever aim at the safe, middle ground of comedy. Studios love this middle ground. It's why poop like "The Big Bang Theory" and "Two Broke Girls" exists. And while Parker and Stone found success early enough in their careers to be able to get away with, say, a film about f-bomb-dropping puppets, other creative types aren't lucky enough to try out their crazy ideas. They're forced to create dreck that is safe and that will sell to the lowest common denominator.
Parker and Stone can potentially create a studio that will be a destination for these creative types who want to something more ground-breaking than 22 minutes of awful rehashed nerd humor. Kind of like how Ryan Seacrest has made his studio a specific landing ground for stupid, spoiled whores, Important Studios has a chance be a specific landing ground for rising and edgy comedians and writers—a place with two bosses who get it. This is awesome news for anyone who loves "South Park." Or just good comedy in general.
[H/T: NY Times]