|One of the
questions I am asked often is to explain the difference between a two and four wall deals
as it pertains to selling a show to a casino. In what I will refer to in the real world, a
four wall would begin with a landlord leasing or renting an empty space consisting of four
bare walls, thus the term. The person or business leasing the space would then pay rent
per square foot and/or a percentage of revenue. The lessee would then be financially
responsible for putting in all the improvements such as fixtures, equipment and furniture
they would need for their business, whether it is a restaurant, bar, gift shop, etc. They
would supply all the working capital necessary to run the business. A similar arrangement
usually occurs when a show plays in various theaters or none gaming venues, with the
exception of the theater usually already existing.
In the showbiz / casino world things are a bit
different. From a producers standpoint usually the preferred deal would be when the
casino buys the show. This would include an amount to the producer covering all costs
including the cast salaries, costume and set amortization and of course some built in
profit. The casino would also supply at its expense the technical crew, stage hands,
orchestra, maitre'd and captains, advertising and of course the theater rent free.
|A casino four
wall deal unlike a real world four wall comes in many variations, but usually means the
show gets the theater rent free but no weekly money guarantee. The shows producer
and thus cast works off either all or a percentage of revenue from ticket sales. The
casino may or may not pay for advertising, stage crews etc.
A two-wall deal is a variation on a
four-wall contract that means the casino pays the producer enough money to cover the cost
of the show (the cast) but no profit. They figure the profit on what is called a profit
override based on the success of the show meaning ticket.
Since most show deals involve negotiations between different producers, properties and
often changed management, there are variations that I like to refer to as one or three
wall deals. In fact I was once offered a deal so ridiculous that I jokingly referred to it
as a five-wall. I was to pay all the pre-production costs to mount the show, all running
expenses, stage crews, advertising and even rent. If the show turned out to be a success
and I had made what the owner thought was enough money, he had the option of owning the
show himself and kiss yours truly goodbye. Naturally I took the deal and got back on the
turnip truck I fell off for the long ride home.