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You Just Can't Stop Uwe Boll

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Over the last couple weeks, hopeful gamers the internet over have been pointing to various theories suggesting that the reason the infamous Uwe Boll is making his maddening video game movies--and the reason he inexplicably seems to keep getting increasingly well-known casts and crew--is not out of some genuine love for the collision of video games and film but rather to take advantage of a German legal loophole that does not tax film investments that have not returned a profit. This basically acts as a tax haven for wealthy German investors, who can sink a given amount of money into a Boll project, confident that it will make very little profit, and basically have a place to store a few million dollars where the government can't tax it. If the movie makes back enough--but not too much--they just earned themselves a big fat deductible.

However, the big news now is that as of January 2006, German tax law will be revised to make these financial feats impossible. Many have taken this quite optomistically, suggesting that perhaps Boll will abandon his Ed Wood-like filmmaking aspirations, as he will no longer have the leverage he once did with deep-pocketed German investors. Others, however, aren't so sure. GameSpot's rumor control took a look at the issue, pointing out that much more profitable loopholes can be found by way of distribution deals in various countries such as Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Britain, and Japan. A Slate article from April points out that due to these distribution deals, the film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was essentially able to secure a $95M distribution deal by artificially inflating the budget on paper--for a movie that cost under $8M to make. Boll's films too are international productions, so it seems reasonable to assume that even without starting with the German tax break step, if he really is such a clever businessman he should be able to keep exploiting the system in an investor-friendly manner. He was surely aware of the law change before any of us were, and if it was going to be so devastating to his business model it seems unlikely he'd have so much on his plate, with more projects announced by the month.

What projects, you ask? Well, a two part (yes, two part) Dungeon Siege epic mind-bogglingly starring names like Burt Reynolds, Ray Liotta, and John Rhys-Davies, is currently wrapping up for a 2006 release, and Boll has more adaptations such as Far Cry, Postal, Hunter: The Reckoning, and Fear Effect lined up for release all the way until 2008. So get used to him, folks. He's not going anywhere.

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