I'm in Hollywood - Chapter 22[Updated at: 2021-01-11 10:13:25]
Amy Pascal showed a very direct interest in Eric: “Eric, you’re younger than I thought. I had just entered college when I was your age.”
“You look very young, Ms. Pascal.” Eric complimented.
Amy Pascal laughed: “Thank you, Eric. Calling me Amy is fine, I read Jurassic Park, and I really like your writing, so I wanted to ask, are the movie rights still in your hands ?”
Eric jolted slightly: “Of course.”
This time, with the Jurassic Park fame growing, numerous film companies contacted him for the movie rights, but all of them were turned down by Eric. Before he had enough power to fight fairly for his interests, he didn’t plan on selling them.
“Well, I wonder if you’d be willing to sell those rights to Columbia ? We won’t be stingy when it comes to the price.”
Eric said: “Amy, we didn’t come here to discuss about this today. Also, technology hasn’t matured enough when it comes to special effects, so I don’t plan on selling Jurassic Park’s rights any time soon.”
“Ah, that’s a shame. Well, let’s talk about Home Alone then, it’s my understanding that Jeffrey has watched and appreciated the movie. Right, I heard that you originally intended to release it through the 20th Century Fox, how did it go ?”
Eric shrugged and told her the truth: “The head of the 20th Century Fox Distribution Department, Mr Carter Hunt, didn’t even watch the movie, and just bluntly refused.”
“Carter Hunt, huh, I know him, one really arrogant man.” Amy Pascal smiled and said: “Well then, I think I’ll take a look at that movie first.”
Eric nodded, then the three of them went directly to an auditorium at Columbia Pictures’ headquarters, gave a copy to the projectionist, and sat on the leather seats.
“Eric, you don’t seem to be really looking forward to it ?” Before the film started screening, Amy Pascal caught a glance of Eric’s face, and quipped.
Eric helplessly smiled: “Amy, you know, I made the movie from start to finish, my mind is filled with every shot, and I’ve also seen it a lot of times, however, I believe you will definitely not be disappointed.”
The theater lights dimmed, Amy Pascal nodded, and looked back. She had mixed emotions about all this, Columbia Pictures was lacking a good movie project, that was true, but thinking about how they were even reduced to turning their sights towards a high school student’s movie, she couldn’t help but sigh in the dark.
As one of the top management, Amy Pascal was familiar with Columbia Pictures like the back of her hand. This years profits weren’t good, if it weren’t for the accumulated earnings of their past few years, the company would have certainly faced huge losses.
Compared to the thriving Disney and 20th Century Fox, as well as Paramount when Barry Diller was still there, Columbia was like a very old, almost lethargic man. After Ghostbusters got the second place in the box office in 1984, Columbia hadn’t been able to squeeze a movie in the top ten in three consecutive years, and this one was no exception. This old giant of the movie world, had become a disgrace.
Columbia’s parent company, Coca-Cola, had suffered heavy losses last year, and if Columbia still couldn’t make any profits for them, it would likely be sold. In fact, the Sony consortium had already made an offer.
Amy Pascal had some understanding of Eric, this boy had just graduated from high school, and in only a few months, had published the science fiction novel Jurassic Park,wrote the 17 Again script and startled the entire 20th Century Fox with his acting. If not for him giving people so many surprises, perhaps Amy Pascal would have also dismissed him like Carter Hunt had.
Columbia Pictures had also received the 17 Again script, and several producers in the company had been interested, when they saw Eric’s condition to star as a lead, they had ultimately given up on it, they just couldn’t afford to take the risk.
She had heard that Barry Diller had personally approved of 17 Again, comparing him to the mediocre CEO of Columbia Mr. Blount Cohen*, Amy couldn’t help but sigh. If the company was in its current situation, it was because of the higher ups lack of boldness and vision. (TL: Name that the author made up, I did some research and couldn’t find anything about him.)
With the start of the movie, the interesting plot and Stuart Runkle’s pranks, Amy Pascal’s thoughts scattered as she focused on the screen.
Once the movie was finished, Amy Pascal was stunned silly, she couldn’t believe that such a great comedy was the work of an eighteen-year-old boy.
She excitedly stood up as she faced Eric with a grin and said: “Eric, can you wait here while I make a phone call ?”
Seeing Amy’s expression, Eric was sure of one thing; it was in the bag.
After half an hour, the president of Columbia, Mr. Blount Cohen, and seventy-eight other Columbia Pictures executives gathered together in the theater, and Home Alonewas screened once again.
They watched the movie in a cheerful atmosphere, and although commuting time was near, no one was eager to leave. After 45 minutes of screening, the higher ups had already started whispering together.
Columbia Pictures, in the president’s office, Eric and Jeffrey were sitting opposite Blount Cohen, as the latter sipped leisurely a few times on a cup of coffee his assistant had brought him, before saying: “Eric, to be honest, we are very optimistic about Home Alone, so we are willing to offer 10 million dollars to buy all the rights, what do you think ?”
Hearing the price, Jeffrey Hanson who was sitting next to Eric, became incredibly joyful. A one million dollar project and they were willing to offer ten times that, if the decision was his, he would have immediately nodded.
Blount Cohen noted Jeffrey’s expression and revealed a smile of satisfaction, the company estimated the movie’s box office at 50 million $ and they could easily shoot a sequel, so after some deliberation, they had decided to directly give a high price and buy the copyrights.
Buy Home Alone for ten million dollars ? Your uncle, I would rather go bankrupt ! Eric couldn’t help but swear in his mind.
“Mr. Cohen, you must have made your preliminary estimates on Home Alone’s box office, right ? Do you mind telling me what the results were ?”
Seeing Eric not immediately agreeing, Blount Cohen was a little disappointed, but he still said: “Of course, we feel that, if done properly, then Home Alone’s North American box office should do around 30 million $. In accordance with established practice, you, as producers*, can get twenty percent of the benefits, a 10 million $ buyout price is very reasonable. The cost of making the film shouldn’t have been that high, so Eric, what are you hesitating for ? Just sign the agreement, and you’ll become one of the youngest multimillionaire in Hollywood.”
_ _ _ _
* As in, those who made the movie, not the name of the job, in case you’re confused.