Legion M brings Hollywood investments to the mainstream
Startup production company takes Hollywood shareholders by storm
When Paul Scanlan, CEO and co-founder of Legion M Productions, set out to create a new production company, he intended to end the assumption that Hollywood has to be run solely as a business.
By taking advantage of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups [JOBS] Act, Legion M uses equity crowd-funding in exchange for stock in the company. This structure allows everyday movie fans to work with and be a part of high-budget film projects and the community. Unlike traditional Hollywood production companies, Legion M begins its investment at $100. This is how the company draws in the average moviegoer.
Legion M’s longterm goal is to unite one million movie fans as shareholders, which would result in hundreds of millions of dollars to be put toward developing projects.
“We want to unite passionate entertainment fans,” Scanlan said. “We want the people at Comic-Con, we want the people at Sundance [Film Festival], we want university students.”
Despite the financial risks of investing, the company provides perks to their shareholders. Investors are invited to join the company’s online community. The community votes on which projects it feels it should financially back, and occasionally holds votes on different production components. These votes range in significance from wardrobe to filming location to casting.
Investors and community members are also invited to exclusive premiere parties for the production company and are entered into giveaways for theater tickets.
“We’re fans of the existing industry but by uniting fans together we can add value back into the industry. We want to give it permission to not just be a business,” Scanlan said. “When all films are backed by Wall Street, they start losing their creative aspects. The industry is going to put all of their money into Marvel and Star Wars because they’re a guaranteed success.”
The film industry has supported the company’s concept, according to Scanlan. He says Legion M has received an influx of project opportunities and A-list celebrities that are interested in being involved with the company.
The support from within the film industry also impacts the company's global investment network. Although the network is predominantly made up of lower level investors, the company reaches established professionals within the industry. Big names like producer and director, Dean Devlin support the company.
The two ends of this spectrum collide during their frequent meetups and premier parties. This gives the fans and those involved with the industry a unique opportunity to interact with established professionals.
“It’s always been about the fans. Even the Wall Street-owned studios know it's the fans, it’s the value the fans place in us that matters the most,” Scanlan said. “We have something that Hollywood is dying for but money can’t buy. Something that we can create organically.”
It is with the guidance from Legion M’s community that its newest film “Mandy” hit theaters on Thursday for a one-day release. The film stars Nicolas Cage as Red, as he is sent into a spiral of revenge following the upheaval of his quaint life. The film was screened at the Regal Elmwood Center 16, Regal Transit Center Stadium 18 and Regal Quaker Crossing Stadium 18.
Despite the eccentricity of the film, it was admitted into the Sundance Film Festival and received a four-minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival.
The company is currently taking reservations to become a part of their investor network. Once admitted to the network, an approved photo will be added to the mosaic of investors within the company’s production credit, appearing before their films.
“We want to focus on producing quality films and critical acclaim,” Scanland said. “We’re really happy with every investment we’ve made. We believe ‘Mandy’ is going to have a long timeline of monetization. From what we’ve seen it’s becoming a cult classic already.”
Samantha Vargas is the asst. arts editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @SamVargasArts