Everyone has watched some wretched turkey of a movie — or its first 10 minutes — and asked in wonder: “Who put up millions of dollars for this?”

The stereotyped movie moneyman may be a cigar-wielding mogul in a silk smoking jacket, but the folks at online brokerage Civilian Capital (www.civiliancapital.com) hope to democratize the process, making it possible for the average investor to buy shares in a movie the way we now buy shares of Coca-Cola, Microsoft, and Intel.

Understand, we’re not talking about investing in a Pixar or a Walt Disney, where a handful of pricey shares gets you little more than one of Nemo’s bubbles. We’re talking direct investment in the movie itself. Ownership. Power. Check this website quote from actress Diane Keaton, one of the company’s advisors: “With Capital, greenlighting a film is in the hands of the filmgoers.”      

One of Capital’s offerings was a proposed murder mystery called Billy Dead, which, if greenlighted by investors, would star Ethan Hawke and be directed — or helmed, in starspeak — by Keith Gordon (The Singing Detective). Late last year, a first-of-its-kind initial public offering at $8.75 a share raised about $125,000 from some 50 investors, a long way from the estimated $7.9 million needed to begin filming. Apparently bailing on Billy, Capital later amended its filings with the SEC and returned investors’ money, but subsequently reopened the offering, which ended earlier this month.

In the words of the old show tune: “You oughta be in pictures.” But should you invest in them? We’ll stay tuned for a sequel.