Los Angeles -- Imagine
Entertainment chairman Brian Grazer has won Oscars and raked in billions at the
movie box office. But he is way more upbeat these days about Imagine's TV
"The movie business has gotten worse and the TV business
has gotten better," he told CNN host Piers Morgan Thursday during a wide-ranging
conversation. "You have two directions to go -- movies that are under $20
million and movies that cost $220 million dollars. In television, you can break
every rule possible."
Grazer talked with Morgan at PromaxBDA
after receiving the show's Lifetime Achievement Award. Along with Imagine
partner Ron Howard, his films credits include Apollo 13, A
Beautiful Mind, Frost/Nixon and Liar, Liar. On
TV, he has produced hit series such as 24 and Felicity.
Netflix released the Imagine-produced, 15-episode fourth season of Arrested
Development in one batch, allowing fans to watch in one or two
sittings. Grazer said bulk releases offer a new experience to the consumer, and
binge watching has helped him as producer.
"It changes the way you physically make
the content in that you don't have to shoot the shows consecutively, and they
don't have to have the same sequencing in terms of the show's narrative
storytelling," Grazer said. The newly enhanced flexibility of the medium
has allowed him to do things the company couldn't previously do, he said, like
hiring proven film talent (Jason Bateman and Michael Cera in this case) and customizing
the shooting schedule to accommodate film windows.
The session yielded some unexpected
reflections. Most surprising success? Apollo 13: "I thought,
'Everyone knows the end of this movie. How could anybody care what the stakes
were?'" Favorite actors? Orson Welles, Meryl Streep and Helen Mirren.
Favorite movie he produced? American Gangster -- "It's about the American
Dream, even though it doesn't look like the American Dream."
Morgan pressed Grazer on his lack of social
media outreach. "You are a very lazy tweeter, Brian," Morgan jabbed.
"You've only tweeted 27 times in your life. Is that because you've made 13
billion dollars?" Grazer took the opportunity to explain how his ultimate
focus is establishing the "right" marketing campaign.
Morgan, rarely one to squander an opportunity
to plug his show, insisted that social media should be at the core of any
marketing effort. He recalled how, after tweeting about his interview with an
"uncensored" Charlie Sheen, it "led to half a million people
tuning in who wouldn't have otherwise tuned in. The power of social media can
be the most powerful marketing tool you have!"
Countered Grazer, "You had the right