Robert Rodriguez Changes Up the Way Business is Done in Hollywood – Again



After the success of Robert Rodriguez’s mega indie El Mariachi, Colombia pictures, the film’s distributor, offered Rodriguez the chance to direct the $65 million dollar budgeted The Mask of Zorro, a major step up from El Mariachi’s $6K budget.  What ensued was a major power struggle between Rodriguez, insisting on casting Salma Hayek in the lead role and Colombia Pictures refusing to hire the unknown.  Rodriguez would rather walk if he was not going to be given casting control and he did.  The thought then was that Rodriguez would never work in Hollywood again, and he doesn’t.  He choses to work in Austin, TX where he and his ex-wife and producerElizabeth Avellan founded their Troublemaker studios, bankrolled with the earnings from the global success of their movies.  It seems Rodriguez continues to want to work outside Hollywood, decided that Austin, TX will be home to his new venture the El Rey Network.

Just as he made cinematic history with El Mariachi, Rodriguez is once again blazing trails as he sets up shop for El Rey  in Austin, TX, the first time a general entertainment network will have a formal production home in the state and this signifies a major milestone in the history of Texas television and film production.  As announced on Tuesday morning, Austin, Texas will be home to the production and corporate headquarters for the new English-language cable network.

In just 3 short months since El Rey has been shaking things up.  First premiered its first original series,From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, which already has  garnered millions of fans and has given a second season re-up, which begins shooting in Austin later this year.  Two other original shows are currently shooting, Matador which is being produced in association with Roberto Orci (Hawaii-5-O, Fringe, Transformers) in L.A. and Cutting Crew which will be produced in association with Big Vida Entertainment.

El Rey Network is the only network that seems to have its target audience well defined and makes no bones about going after them.  The network proudly acknowledges that their target audience is men 18-49, but clarifies that the mission is to fully represent and be inclusive of a growing and important American and Texan demographic: second and third generation Latinos who live in English-speaking households.

Rodriguez joined forces with FactoryMade Ventures co-founders John Fogelman andCristina Patwa and, with Univision Networks & Studios, Inc., to launch the bilingual, bicultural network will invest approximately $1.5 billion over the next 10 years.  It is currently available to over 40 million homes in the U.S. and globally its content can be seen in more than 100 territories.

Having El Rey in Austin clearly identifies Texas as a beacon state for American Latino culture and entertainment.  This news is good news for the state of Texas, which hadGov. Rick Perry chiming in, “El Rey is an important part of our burgeoning television production community, helping build our long-term industry infrastructure and making Texas even more competitive for jobs in movies and television.”

“Austin is home to creative, talented people who do pioneering, game-changing work, and Robert Rodriguez exemplifies our creative base of talent. We’re pleased that the network has chosen Austin, which speaks volumes about our filmmaking environment,” said Mayor Lee Leffingwell. “The City of Austin works every day to support Austin’s creative economy sector, which has a $4.35 billion local economic impact, and having the El Rey Network headquartered in Austin will strengthen our creative sector for years to come.”


Categories: NGL News

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