Mel Gibson's Money Will Keep His Career Afloat
By Joel Keller Posted Jul 16th 2010 01:00PM
Pop-Ed: The folks at Radar Online have been doing a fantastic job keeping this Mel Gibson story alive, haven't they? For more than a week now, they've been doling out one crazy, racist, profane, violent-sounding rant after another, all directed towards Gibson's ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva. If that voice on the tape is truly his -- and the Gibson camp has yet to deny that it's Gibson's voice on the recording -- then it would seem like the career of the erstwhile Mad Max is toast.
Or is it?
In this particular story's news cycle, we're in the part of it where it seems the world is falling down around a celebrity and that there seems to be no way that he or she will ever recover from it. Indeed, speculation has abounded, with talking heads weighing in all over the news landscape.
But all of these folks are either forgetting or downplaying a big factor: Mel Gibson's got money. Lots of it. And he can use it to keep making the movies he wants to make.
Make no mistake: I'm not condoning any of Gibson's behavior. If he's the voice on those tapes, and if the physical abuse allegations that Grigorieva have made are true, then at the very least the man is in severe need of help. If this is true, then he has impulse issues, a tendency towards violent behavior, and an intolerance of other races that borders on full-on hatred. The physical abuse allegations could get him in serious legal trouble.
But, as far as Gibson's ability to make movies is concerned? He probably won't experience a hiccup. He's proven in the past that he can finance his own films and make oodles of money from them. The obvious example is 'The Passion of the Christ.' Gibson made the $30 million movie on his own dime, screened it for church groups, marketed it to religious folks who don't normally go to the movies, and turned it into a $600 million worldwide blockbuster.
It's the same marketing method that made Tyler Perry a multi-millionaire: bypass the major studios, self-finance, eschew advertising in mainstream publications, and market to a demographic -- churchgoers -- that has either been underserved or under publicized. Then, all of a sudden, you're making movies with Oprah and creating sitcoms for TBS.
All Gibson has to do is make another project that's near and dear to his heart and market it to the right people. 'Apocalypto,' Gibson's second self-financed film, wasn't a blockbuster; the topic of Mayan sacrifices likely didn't resonate with any underserved audiences. Gibson can take the lessons from that film and create a third film that will be more marketable. And, unlike the other two films, he could put himself in the lead if he wants. He could also make another inscrutable film like 'Apocalypto,' make a modest profit, and go back to his mansion to count his money.
Will anyone work with Gibson again, whether he's acting, directing, or producing? Sure. Every scandal, even one as heinous as this one, fades in people's memories. In fact, Gibson's drunken, anti-semetic DUI incident from 2006 had begun to recede, with Gibson back starring in movies once again, before the tapes from Grigorieva were released.
Given the right project, and the fact that Gibson likely still has a lot of friends in the industry -- like Whoopi Goldberg -- he'll be able to find people to act in his films. If people have been willing to work with Roman Polanski, whose transgressions are at least as bad as what Gibson is being accused of, people will be willing to work with Gibson.
So, the speculation on whether Mel Gibson's career is dead or not needs to stop. This isn't Lindsay Lohan. Gibson has the money and the smarts to keep his career going for many years to come, even if it's not at the same A-list level he was at before. Don't be surprised if he's back on everyone's radar in a few years.
See PopEater take a sampler of where people stand on Mel Gibson:
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