Chainsaws, Slackers, and Spy Kids: Thirty Years of Filmmaking in Austin, Texas

By Alison Macor | Go to book overview

The point of regional filmmaking is
to get filmmakers to stay where they
are and not move to Hollywood.
GEORGE LUCAS


Conclusion
Outside the System, Inside the System

When the list of top-grossing films for the first weekend in October 2003 was released, it was the first time in Austin’s history that three of the city’s filmmakers all had films in the Top Ten. Richard Linklater’s School of Rock, made for $35 million and distributed by Paramount, grossed an impressive $19.6 million on its opening weekend and landed in the number-one slot. Tim McCanlies’s Secondhand Lions, budgeted at $30 million and distributed by New Line, had opened on September 19 and was still in fifth place at the box office two weeks later. Robert Rodriguez’s Once Upon a Time in Mexico, released by Sony on September 12 and made for $29 million, took the ninth spot.1

For Linklater, the success of School of Rock was especially sweet. Five years had passed since the disappointing release and reception of The Newton Boys. In 2001 Linklater had rebounded with the back-to-back releases of two smaller films, Waking Life and Tape. Linklater and a few other crew members shot Waking Life over twenty-three days in August 1999, and he spent six days making Tape that same year. Both productions marked Linklater’s first foray into digital filmmaking. “Rick is so not Robert Rodriguez. He was a luddite. He didn’t even use e-mail. But I think he very much waited until he had a project that could use the technology and was appropriate for the technology,” recalls Cathy Crane, Linklater’s assistant at the time and the sound assistant on Waking Life.2 That film’s multiple locations and large ensemble

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