Money Talks: Sheila Johnson Helps Fund ‘The Butler’

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    Sheila Johnson may not  be the household name that Oprah is, but she’s also one of the few Black women worldwide who can call themselves billionaires. The co-founder of BET Networks with her then-husband, Bob Johnson,  added to her growing list of media, sports, and entertainment properties by helping “The Butler” get made. Johnson is one of a record 41 producers on the film. She gave The Tom Joyner Morning Show some insight into the business of movie making by explaining her participation in the movie, which topped the box office with $25 million in sales this past weekend.

    “When it comes down to money and trying to get a film financed, it comes down to this is a $30 million dollar budget. When this script was brought to me by [producer] Laura Ziskin herself, along with [producing partner] Pam Williams, they couldn’t get one studio to look at this script. So it then became an independent movie and that put us into a whole ‘nother ballgame. I read the script once or twice and I said ‘Look, this movie has got to be made.’ “

    Original producer Ziskin, who was behind the “Spiderman” trilogy died of breast cancer before “The Butler” went into production. She left money in her will to help get the movie made. Even while shooting the film, Daniels continued to seek financing. Johnson put in $2.5 million of her own money and personally helped Daniels seek investors for the rest.

    “I really wanted all African-American investors. And that’s the way I started out with this. I was able to get [former NBA player] Michael Finley, Earl Stafford, Harry Martin. What you have to understand – the 41 producers – there’s groups. You go outside the boundaries of the United States. You find Canadian investors. There are people who build companies around raising money for movies. And that’s where you get 41 investors. But the people I’m naming, including myself, are individual investors.”

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    4 thoughts on “Money Talks: Sheila Johnson Helps Fund ‘The Butler’

    1. I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do… http://goo.gg/Ij

    2. Well, I am very glad that she did, because it was a phenomenal movie. Very diverse audience when I went to see it on Friday, and was happy to see the non-Blacks standing and applauding when it was over. Very inspirational movie and a MUST SEE!

    3. Me my wife and inlaws viewed this movie. It is a great story of the injustice Black Americans had to and ares still facing everyday. GO SEE IT!

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