"Be Afraid": Trey Parker And Matt Stone Are Starting Their Own $300 Million Production Studio

Don’t look now, but Trey Parker and Matt Stone just went and got powerful. The South Park creators announced over the weekend that they would be using their own money, along with a sizable chunk from some big-wig Hollywood investors, to create their own production studio.

The new company is to be called Important Studios and hopes to be just that. With an estimated value of $300 million built on revenue from South Park, now in its 16th season on Comedy Central, and the Broadway megahit The Book of Mormon, the studio will have the power and money to approve television, movie and theater projects, including a big-screen version of The Book of Mormon.

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 move was probably a long time coming, since the two now have television shows, movies, and a smash-hit musical under their belts (not to mention a lucrative-as-hell 50-50 deal with Comedy Central for all non-TV revenue), but that doesn’t make it any less of a positive development. I’m all for putting power in the hands of the people who are actually making things, not just the people who count the beans, and this does exactly that. Creative types being in control doesn’t always lead to financial success, but given Parker and Stone’s track record there’s no reason to believe they’ll falter here, and it will give them the heft they need to make (and bankroll) more projects they’re passionate about — which, for those of us whose interest in this venture consists mainly of pointing our eyes at the things they’re creating, is not a bad thing at all.

Or, to put it another way:

Important Studios’ balance sheet will also probably give Mr. Stone and Mr. Parker more leverage when negotiating with other studios. Doug Herzog, president of the MTV Networks Entertainment Group, who brought South Park to Comedy Central, said of the new studio: “Bringing money to the table goes a long way. Money talks.” He said the studio would allow the two men “to pursue their vision in as pure a way as possible. Matt and Trey with a lot of money. Be afraid.”

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via NY Times

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