As I thought about Deseret Book’s acquisition of Excel Entertainment last night, I began to write a post for today that would express my concerns about what this would mean for the world of LDS film. Some of the films distributed by Excel (most notably Richard Dutcher’s “God’s Army” and “Brigham City”) came under fire from some LDS upset about their content — especially that Dutcher depicted LDS rituals (a baptism, and the blessing and passing of the sacrament [please note: as I understand it he never depicted the full ritual]) .
Considering Deseret Book’s retrenchment over the past 18 months, I was worried that they’d hamstring Excel’s film division.
Apparently, DB anticipated such concerns (I have to give pr props to whomever made this one of the talking points for DB’s spokespersons) because both the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune stories bring this up.
From the Deseret News story:
“Neither Simpson nor Dew expect the transaction to affect content of future films. Deseret Book has sold every Excel product so far.”
From the Salt Lake Tribune story:
“Dew said the purchase does not portend an end to pop-culture LDS films distributed by Excel. Some depictions of LDS life in past films drew negative comments from some viewers.
‘We’ll do as many good films as we can find,’ she said. However, how that translates into depicting Mormon-based films could show a new direction for the movie company. Simpson said Deseret Book won’t exert any ‘more control than we exercise on ourselves.'”
We’ll see. But at least they are aware of it as a pr issue. Hopefully it goes beyond that.
I don’t know enough about Excel’s other product lines to comment much on the acquisition. However, I do know that there are two novels based on characters from “God’s Army” that are in the works. I wonder if Deseret Book will go ahead with the plans to publish the novels.
I also know (this is just hearsay, but it’s good hearsay) that when Deseret Book acquired Bookcraft, several Bookcraft authors and projects were cut loose.
I will make one general comment: The DB/Excel people are talking about how the two companies complement each other and how we’re living in a world of media consolidation, etc. etc.
Sure. But the issue that comes up with DB, in my opinion, is that it is a publisher, distributor and bookseller. I’m not seeing major signs of problems — considering how small a field it is Mormon publishing is decently competitive — but such vertical integration does worry me.
ALSO: Mark Hansen has reaction at Mo’ Boy blog related to the music publishing side of things.