It seems production and distribution companies really like to pull some slimy stuff when you’re a young writer or director at the beginning of your career. For Richard Linklater, he got a taste of this when he made Dazed And Confused in 1993. When asked recently if he made any money off of his first studio-attached feature, Linklater response was a swift “Fuck no!”
Despite its cult success, Dazed And Confused only made around $7 million upon its theatrical release. However, according to Linklater, the film banked around $30 million in home video sales. He doesn’t know where the money went, but he says none of it went to him.
“I don’t know. Ask Universal! Hollywood accounting,” Linklater said. “I remember really asking for a piece of the soundtrack, because I picked all the songs, and they were like, ‘Oh no… First film, you know?’ N.W.A is still pissed off about that first contract. Everybody has that first story of getting screwed with their first project. That film was an indie success. It made more than it cost theatrically, and over the years it’s been everywhere.”
“That’s such a cliché to bitch about. But I did go through the Hollywood experience,” he added.
However, despite the financial woes, Linklater still expressed his gratitude. “Here I complain, but they did greenlight the film, and they wouldn’t greenlight the film today. Cast of unknowns? Period film when not much happens, riding around? One film out of Sundance? I don’t think there’s a pitch for that movie today, so I sit here very, very blessed that I came along at a time when studios were going, ‘Hey, we’ll make this and this and then throw some chump change over to these guys.’ I’m still grateful I got the film made, and got it made the way I wanted it to.”