I wanted to share an interesting tidbit with all of you. It’s about Wicked Pictures.
For months and months we’ve been telling everyone that Wicked Pictures is owned by Manwin. No one is refuting this, but nobody has come right out and admitted it either. People say that they just own the internet division. It’s a politically convenient way of not lying, but not telling the truth. But by saying that Manwin owns the internet division, they’re saying that the only economically viable portion of Wicked is indeed owned my Manwin. So Manwin owns part of Wicked. The dying DVD division is still owned by Steve Orenstein. Okaaay…
I have said that Manwin bought Wicked Pictures the same way they bought Digital Playground. The only difference is Manwin learned from the DP episode that they need to keep their name on the down low. They have to create a facade so everybody doesn’t associate Wicked with what everybody says has been the scourge of the industry and that is Manwin.
Allow me to point out some parallels in the acquisitions of both Digital Playground and Wicked. When Manwin first purchased Digital, they kept everything intact. They kept the contract stars, the directors and for a period of time, the head brass stayed there. This all happened because they wanted a smooth transition. They wanted the appearance of Digital Playground continuing its level and status as a studio and also not to interrupt any potential business dealings that were going on. When there is an abrupt change, people might get panicky and want to withdraw from something they’re not comfortable with.
Something similar happened with my dentist in Rochester. He sold his practice to another dentist and for a period of time, the new dentist would sit in on patients that the old dentist was working on, so that the patients felt like they weren’t getting a new dentist and the same high quality of care they came to expect from the old dentist would continue, because people would associate the new dentist with the one they were comfortable with. They may have lost some patients, but the transition mostly was a smooth one.
This sort of thing happens in dentistry and it also happens in business. This is what is happening with Wicked and Manwin. They tried to do it with Digital Playground, but here was so much heat on Manwin, from Fabian Thylmann’s legal issues to their arrogance of coming in as the kings of porn, not to mention their ownership of all the major tube site operations. The Manwin brand was quickly tainted, which is why they refer to themselves as Mindgeek now.
Same thing is happening with Hotmovies now. They were bought out a couple of years ago and many of the employees who were there for years are no longer with the company. But it didn’t happen overnight. It was a gradual transition.
What is happening with Wicked Pictures right now is very similar to what happened with Digital Playground. Remember, Digital Playground had all of these contract girls. None of the DP contract girls or directors are there anymore. There wasn’t a whole lot of press about it, they were all just quietly let go. Contracts weren’t renewed and they all just slipped away. Stoya, Kayden Kross, Jessie Jane, all gone. Robby D isn’t directing anymore, but there was no big official announcement.
People who aren’t familiar with the industry just assume that it is business as usual at Digital Playground. They don’t know about all of the contract stars who aren’t there because there are still movies coming out with the stars in them. Same thing with Vivid. They are still releasing movies that Axel Braun did, even though he hasn’t been with the company for a while. People who don’t know will assume when they see the latest movie like X-Men that Axel Braun still directs for Vivid. A smooth transition.
So Wicked gets bought by Manwin and there is a transition period of two or three years. Steve Orenstein stays on in some capacity, Bonnie Kail, Brad Armstrong, Jessica Drake and others. People stay on because there are still contracts with some players and just because Wicked sells the company, the contracts still have to be honored. So people are slowly phased out. It’s a gradual process. Joanna Angel isn’t distributing through Wicked anymore, but it was never announced. She was phased out.
Remember, Axel Braun had a relationship with Manwin long before he went to Wicked. Axel would shoot content for Manwin. Of course, Manwin would want the biggest director in the adult business to work for them. When Axel went to Wicked, that wasn’t just to make Axel Braun parodies like he did at Vivid. It was to take over all of the production at Wicked. They shoot way more than what is announced to the press with their big movies. A lot of gonzo type stuff, because it’s what Manwin needs for their internet properties.
Axel Braun was brought there because Brad Armstrong is being phased out. Plain and simple. Jessica Drake is being phased out. Stormy Daniels just did a movie for Axel and a movie just came out that she directed a year ago. I’ll bet my left ball that Stormy does not have a contract with Wicked anymore. Her contract’s up and they don’t re-sign her, but she says, “What the fuck am I gonna do? I’m almost forty years old. I’m not gonna go from being a Wicked contract girl to being in Dogfart videos like Julia Ann doing interracial gangbangs.” So she plays ball and keeps her mouth shut and works for Wicked and is associated with Wicked without any legal ties.
We talked about Brad Armstrong and the movie he did last year Underworld. That movie was the last movie of the era of Brad Armstrong big budget epics. It was the final episode of the Steve Orenstein/Wicked regime. I told you of all the people who will not be around in 2015. People try to deny it, but I say take a look at the writing on the wall. He did a huge movie with costumes and special effects called Underworld. Over six months go by and he announces a low budget couples movie called Aftermath. It was shot in Chatsworth and part of it was shot in NYC during a convention. That is the only thing of any substance that Brad Armstrong has done this year.
In the same time period, Axel Braun has created a new line called Wicked Fairy Tales and has done Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and he is currently doing Cinderella. He also just released a parody of 24 that has gotten great reviews and a lot of press. He has many more projects slated for the coming year.
Axel also did a movie that was done quietly and has just come out called Hot for Teacher. What’s more telling is that Jessica Drake is in the movie. Jessica Drake. Not just doing a regular boy/girl scene. Jessica Drake did a gangbang. She did a scene with three guys -Tyler Nixon, Keni Styles and Eric Masterson. Jessica Drake did a mini-gangbang. When you do a scene with three guys and one girl, that’s a mini-gangbang. When the big contract girl does a scene with three guys while Axel Braun sits in his trailer and Eli Cross does all the shooting, that’s when you know the writing is on the wall. When a one day wonder vignette is being shot with Wicked’s top contract starlet, that means Jessica Drake owes them scenes and those scenes are being made up. Before they give her the boot, they want to recoup as much money as they can.
I told everybody months ago that Jessica Drake owes Wicked a bunch of scenes. She was getting paid steadily and the stipulation was for her to do X amount of scenes. Because Steve Orenstein is the nicest guy in the world, she was always paid, even though the scenes she owed piled up because they weren’t shooting her enough to do them. Jessica Drake owes so many scenes that she’ll never be able to pay them back. It was the old Wicked regime of Steve Orenstein and they were all friends and Brad would say my wife can only appear in my big epics like Underworld.
Well guess what? Steve Orenstein isn’t the boss anymore. Manwin owns Wicked. When Axel Braun took over production and they all sat in a meeting and looked at the books and said, “Do you realize that Jessica Drake owes us all these scenes? We gotta make this up. She’s gonna be outta here next year and she’s gonna be into us for 60-70 grand.” Then Axel said, “Don’t worry, I’ll put her in a gangbang in Hot for Teacher. I have some other scenes as well. We’ll put that bitch to work.”
Think about it. Axel Braun directed Hot for Teacher. Not Brad Armstrong. The new guy Axel Braun. The legendary Wicked director of almost 20 years isn’t directing this vignette. Axel Braun is directing a vignette with Brad Armstrong’s wife getting plowed by three dudes. This movie was done months ago. There was no press because it was a get er done filler movie so they could get back some of the money that Jessica Drake owes them before they fire her ass.
Getting the picture?
If you’re gonna tell me that Brad Armstrong and Jessica Drake are gonna be there past 2015, you’re fucking delusional. Axel Braun is ten times the director Brad Armstrong is. Axel Braun is twenty times the politician that Brad Arnstrong is. Axel Braun went to Elegant Angel a few years ago as a guy who was gonna do a squirt movie for Patrick Collins. Within a year, he becomes general manager and transforms that company back into a powerhouse and directs a huge movie called Compulsion that was shot in 35mm and wins every possible award and puts Patrick Collins back on the map. That is the type of master politician and maneuvering genius that Axel Braun is. He then goes to Vivid and runs long time director and Steven Hirsch’s lifelong friend Michael Bisco outta there. He directed movies that established him as such a commodity that when he left Vivid, they are still releasing movies and can’t find anyone who can do anything close to what Axel Braun did.
Then what did Axel Braun do? He went to Wicked Pictures. Do you think he went to Wicked to play with his dick? He went to Wicked because he told the Manwin people, “I will put this financial house in order. I will get rid of all of this dead weight.” They said, “But we still have contracts with them.” Axel said, “You had contracts with Digital Playground. But instead of letting them sit on a beach and talk shit about the company, I will work these motherfuckers and you will get your money’s worth of what’s left of their contracts before we show them the door.” And Manwin said, “You are the man. You are our Caesar. You can do whatever you want.”
And lo and behold, Axel has shot more movies in the time he’s been there than Brad Armstrong has. He’s doing vignettes with Brad Armstrong’s wife because she owes them money and they want to collect as much as they can before she’s gone.
In 2015, Jessica Drake will be doing high priced MILF scenes just like Lisa Ann. And Brad Armstrong will have no job just like Robby D.
Welcome to reality. Axel Braun is the man, he is the myth and he is the legend.
That’s the bottom line.
Follow Rob Black on Twitter @RealRobBlack Email: [email protected]