After 16 years of South Park and winning nine Tony Awards for The Book of Mormon, creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are starting their own production company. The New York Times reports that the $300 million company, Important Studios, “will have the power and money to approve television, movie and theater projects, including a big-screen version of The Book of Mormon.” Stone says he hopes DreamWorks or Lucasfilm will serve as a model, but then explained, “In some ways it’s a stupid comparison because they are gargantuan. We want to be a smaller, more humble version of that.”
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Important Studios has a good source of revenue streaming from South Park and The Book of Mormon. According to The New York Times, Parker and Stone “cut a sweetheart deal with Comedy Central [in 2007]: a 50-50 joint venture on all revenue not related to television. That meant the two men have had a huge stake in the all-important digital rights to South Park as well as movies, soundtracks, ‘Oh my God! They Killed Kenny!’ T-shirts and other merchandise. That deal was said to be worth $75 million for the two men.” As for The Book of Mormon, the show is making $4.7 million per week combined from the New York production, touring version, and Chicago production. Parker and Stone are the largest shareholders, and a Book of Mormon movie is likely since it would probably be a huge hit for a fledgling studio. Back in September, Parker said they had no plans for a movie, but they thought it was possible to adapt their hit musical to the big screen.
I always wondered what Parker and Stone did for the 37 weeks of the year when they weren’t making South Park. I assumed that they went back into some kind of Lazarus chamber since doing the show pretty much kills them. I’m also a bit surprised it’s taken so long for Parker and Stone to make a production company. The creative duo are highly independent, and as seen in 6 Days to Air, they enjoy living outside the Hollywood machine since it allows them the freedom to take shots at whomever they wish. I’m excited to see what Parker and Stone will do with more power. Presumably, they’ll make kids eat their own parents.