Don’t Kill the Messenger welcomes veteran producer and studio head, Bill Block.

In the latest episode of “Don’t Kill the Messenger,” entertainment research expert Kevin Goetz engages in an insightful conversation with Bill Block, a renowned agent, executive producer, and former studio head.

Block’s journey in entertainment began as a secretary at the Irv Schechter agency, but his talent and drive quickly propelled him to become a successful agent. His keen eye for opportunity led him to acquire Live Entertainment, later transformed into Artisan Entertainment, where he played a pivotal role in the groundbreaking success of The Blair Witch Project. As a producer, Block has been involved in bringing numerous acclaimed films to life, including District 9, Bad Moms, and Fury. His tenure as CEO of Miramax from 2017 to 2023 saw the studio’s resurgence, with Block overseeing the production and distribution of critically acclaimed films such as Guy Ritchie’s The Gentlemen and Oscar-nominated The Holdovers.

Kevin Goetz on Bill Block:

“Bill Block has been a tremendous advocate of the audience. He has listened to them, he honors them. And he truly will not do a project or won’t defer to a filmmaker if the audience at large is saying something to the contrary. And I say this to so many of you out there regularly, which is, avoid the audience at your own peril.”

Bill Block’s background and early career

Block’s journey in entertainment began as a secretary at the Irv Schechter agency, but his talent and drive quickly propelled him to become a successful agent. His keen eye for opportunity led him to acquire Live Entertainment, which later transformed into Artisan Entertainment.

The acquisition of Live Entertainment and the success of The Blair Witch Project

Bill Block shares the fascinating story behind the success of The Blair Witch Project, a film that defied traditional marketing strategies and became a cultural phenomenon.

“We went outside and then one other buyer walked out. It was a lengthy start. Two others were passing in the lobby, and we looked at each other and Phil Raskind, who was the agent, was walking out, head down a little bit on the street, no auction. And we went up to him and said, we like this one. We want to make a deal. We want to make a deal now.”

Using audience research to make decisions on the Halloween franchise reboot

Kevin Goetz and Bill Block discuss the pivotal role of audience research in the decision-making process for the Halloween franchise reboot. They emphasize the importance of Jamie Lee Curtis’s involvement in the project, as revealed by the research data.

Kevin Goetz on the Halloween reboot:

“I ran it with and without Jamie Lee Curtis. And I think it was David Gordon Green as director. There were other elements that were already attached to it. I absolutely said this movie should be made. On a Sunday morning, the phone rings and it’s Jason Blum and Charles and maybe Cooper. And they said, hold on, we want to get Bill Block on the line as well. And we got Bill Block on the line. So now we’ve got a three-way conversation going. And we need to make a decision on Jamie Lee right now. I think she wanted several million dollars. And I said, pay the lady.”

Navigating the complexities of film financing

Goetz and Block delve into the intricacies of putting together financial packages for film projects. Block shares his experience with both challenging and straightforward deals. When asked about the toughest financial package he’s ever put together, Block points to Oliver Stone’s W., a controversial film that came out during an election year.

Block on Oliver Stone’s W.:

It was coming up in the election year. Oliver had a balanced view of George W. I mean, he’d gone to school with him. He knew him. So that, but that was a stretch ’cause he’s a brilliant filmmaker. By the way, I call him Roger Clemens. I’ve never seen anybody operate quite like him. He threw a no-hitter. He started the picture in April and delivered it before the election and just was flawless in terms of his shooting and post.

Bill’s insights on packaging and financing independent films

Block discusses the importance of attaching talent, securing presales, and finding the right equity partners to fill the financing gap. Block touches on films he has been involved with like Bad Moms, Fury, and Guy Ritchie’s The Gentleman.

The potential impact of AI on the entertainment industry

In this forward-thinking segment, Bill Block shares his insights on the rapidly advancing world of artificial intelligence and its potential to revolutionize the entertainment industry. He predicts that within the next 2-3 years, AI will significantly reduce production costs and timelines by generating high-quality scripts, visual effects, and even actor performances.

“A complete reduction in costs. So the image generating capability, a text-to-image generation now is going to take an action picture, and this is going to be interesting for stars. I’ve talked to Jason [Statham] about it a little bit. You’re taking a $70 million Jason Statham picture that I project could do for maybe seven to 10, you know, within that time span. Because all the stunts and all the action should be, you’re going to see it in here by Metaphysic this fall, generated, the image generation, at that cost where the star will only have to work for a week. The movie will get done in two weeks.”

Bill Block’s extensive experience, combining financial expertise with respect for the audience, makes him an invaluable voice in the entertainment industry. His insights into the evolving landscape of film financing, distribution, and the integration of artificial intelligence demonstrate his ability to navigate the complexities of the business. His stories and observations, shared in this engaging conversation with Kevin, offer a fascinating glimpse into the future of filmmaking.

For the full conversation, check out the podcast episode here. And let us know your thoughts on the episode in the comments!


Don’t Kill the Messenger, hosted by movie and entertainment research expert Kevin Goetz, brings his book Audienceology to life. This bi-monthly podcast takes a peek behind the filmmaking curtain as Kevin talks with famous filmmakers, studio executives, stars, and other creatives about movies, filmmaking, audience test screenings, and much more.

For more information about Kevin Goetz:

Audienceology Book:
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Screen Engine/ASI Website: