Mike Judgeʼs latest film, Extract, stars Jason Bateman as beleaguered business owner Joel Reynold. Joelʼs built his own business from the ground up, to become, as his best friend calls him, “The Extract King,” whose factory has become so successful that heʼs poised to play with the big boys of business.
To some extent, the story of the movie itself isnʼt so different. Made for just $8 million, Extract is the product of Ternion Pictures, Judgeʼs indie house that he founded with longtime writing partners John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky. Since Extract opened September 4, the scrappy little ﬁlm has found itself on box ofﬁce top-ten lists, among studio behemoths like G.I. Joe and Inglourious Basterds. The ﬁlmʼs executive producer Glenn Lucas (and King of the Hill alum) chatted with RadarOnline.com about how Extract could change the face of ﬁlm ﬁnancing, why it took ten years to make and which surprising demographic is seeing it in droves.
RADARONLINE.COM: How did Extract get off the ground?
GLENN LUCAS: [It] was written by Mike Judge right after the 1999 ﬁlm Ofﬁce Space. When [that movie] got out of the gate slowly in theaters, Fox only had the conﬁdence in the ﬁlm to keep it there less than two weeks. Mike put Extract away for a while. Over time, when Ofﬁce Space took off, it became one of Foxʼs most successful DVD releases of all time. … After that, Mike had more conﬁdence in Extract. He brought it to John [Altschuler] and Dave [Krinsky]. They thought it was brilliant and ready to shoot.
RADARONLINE.COM: What was your approach to funding the ﬁlm?
GL: From the outset, Ternion decided to go about it a different way. We set out to make ﬁlms in the lower budget range and maintain more of an ownership stake. We set a goal to raise private equity [for] Extract, most of which came from investors in Manhattan Beach. [Investors included] friends of mine, business acquaintances… .
After this was accomplished…we brought in…Miramax. Theyʼve been an amazing partner throughout the process. They got Mike [Judgeʼs] humor, and understand how to market to his fan base…Extract is a ﬁlm like Ofﬁce Space. It will stand the test of time. Performances by the entire cast are very nuanced, and most importantly, theyʼre identiﬁable to the everyman. We see a lot of ourselves in the characters — which personally I think is Mikeʼs calling card.
RADARONLINE.COM: Of course, these are tough economic times. Were there particular challenges to ﬁnancing Extract?
GL: By keeping…quality high and budgets low you minimize risk…Weʼve got a new model, where you keep the budgets lower and you get quality distribution. Look at the budgets [of average studio ﬁlms]. Most of them are in the 40, 50 million dollar range… Ternion is going to develop a brand-name… and Mike Judge has a brand-name. Itʼs a formula that a lot of people are taking a look at. [Ternion has] a show called The Goode Family [and] there are more TV programs in development, and more ﬁlm projects, so itʼs an exciting time — challenging but exciting. Thereʼs a little bit of an underdog [mentality] there, competing against bigger-budget ﬁlms.
RADARONLINE.COM: Extract, like Ofﬁce Space, occupies its own niche. What do you think distinguishes Mike Judge from other ﬁlmmakers?
GL: Heʼs as close as youʼre going to get to Frank Capra, because he does champion the everyman. This isnʼt your typical Hollywood comedy formula… the humor is observational, like King of the Hill and Ofﬁce Space … We know these [characters] from our own lives… .
RADARONLINE.COM: Whatʼs been the most surprising aspect of working on Extract?
GL: The most surprising thing about the ﬁlm is that it plays extremely well to women… Mila Kunis is empowering, and women love Jason Bateman. Close to 45 percent [of its audience has been women]. Considering that most of our marketing early on had been directed toward younger men, thatʼs great!