If I were a studio, I'd forget gambling on box-office blockbusters. I'd finance a bunch of independent-style movies for $500,000 or $1,000,000. If they earned a "measly" $2,000,000, I'd have doubled or quadrupled my investment. If they made as much as Fireproof or My Big Fat Greek Wedding, so much the better.
Advice for gaming tribes
This should be part of the long-term thinking of gaming tribes, if you ask me. Instead, they've put billions of dollars into one basket--casinos--that are now losing money. Some tribes have diversified their business portfolios, but many haven't.
It's possible tribes might be worried about the political fallout. "We gave you gaming to help you, and now you're spending the money on movies?" But there are ways around this. For instance, dedicate any profits from filmmaking to charities such as NARF or the American Indian College Fund.
Gaming tribes have backed a couple of Native films before, but they could do much more. As I've said before, this would be smart of them. It would be a great way to get their message into the popular culture and remind people of their continuing existence. And it would help them diversify out of the gaming industry, which may be reaching a tipping point.
For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies.