I'm in Hollywood - Chapter 23

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 10:13:26]
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Sitting next to Jeffrey Hanson, Eric felt that there was no room for bargaining, he still said: “I’m sorry, Mr. Cohen, I don’t intend to sell Home Alone, but we can still talk about a sharing agreement, right ?”


Blount Cohen frowned as he unhappily said: “Eric, if we’re going to share, I can only give you 18%.”


“Mr. Cohen, didn’t you just say you’d give us 20% ?” Jeffrey retorted.


Blount Cohen lightly said: “That was just under average circumstances, if we are to release Home Alone, then the cost of the release will certainly be much higher than the cost of production, so 18% is very reasonable.”


Jeffrey was about to argue, but Eric stopped him from acting on impulse and said: “Well, Mr. Cohen, I have another idea, how about signing a contract based on a bet ?”


Although gambling agreements were widespread in the industry, Blount Cohen laugh loudly in his heart, what made this brat think that he was qualified to gamble with Columbia ? However, he feigned interest and gestured to Eric to keep going, he’d like to hear what this kid had on his mind.


Eric acted as if he hadn’t seen Blount’s face full of ridicule, he smiled and said: “Columbia will use 5 million dollars, at the least, to promote the movie. If Home Alone makes less than 50 million $ at the box office, I will give up the entirety of the rights to you for free.”


After these words, if Blount Cohen said he wasn’t moved, he would be lying. The company had already estimated that Home Alone would make about 50 million at the box office, so if he signed an agreement on gambling, as long as the time was right, even controlling the box office so that it didn’t grow over 50 million was a very simple matter. Blount Cohen felt Eric was stupid, but he also admired the young man for his courage.


Jeffrey Hanson abruptly got up, and shouted in disbelief: “Eric are you crazy ?!”


Eric patted Jeffrey on the shoulder and motioned him to sit down, before saying: “If the box office is between 50 million to 100 million $, I want twenty percent of the share. If the box office is over 100 million dollars, then for every additional 10 million dollars, I want my share ratio to be increased by 1%.”


Eric finished, and calmly started to drink his coffee, no longer saying anything. Jeffrey Hanson was fidgeting, he kept sweeping his gaze between the two people, he was a bit worried Blount Cohen would agree to Eric’s ridiculous agreement, if he did, they would lose the 10 million $ buyout fee. 10 million dollars, ah, how many people had ever seen so much money ?


Unfortunately, Blount Cohen’s courage was really lacking, he hesitated for a full five minutes, before finally saying: “Eric, this is something I need to discuss in a meeting, can I give you my answer tomorrow ?”


Eric nodded, directly got up and left.


In the parking lot, Jeffrey didn’t get in his car, but sat in Eric’s passenger’s seat instead.


“Eric, you’re too impulsive. That was 10 million $ you know ? Looking at all these years, although comedy can generally get good box office, there are always exceptions. Tomorrow let’s just directly take their buyout offer, you may be able to fight again for the price, what do you say ? Listen to me, you’ll probably get this kind of lifetime opportunity only once or twice, if you miss on it, it will never happen again, with 10 million $, you can continue to shoot movies, you can do a lot of things.”


Eric was immersed in the deal he had proposed to Columbia Pictures, and his blood was slightly boiling. The past Home Alone’s box office had entered the Guinness Book of Records, and with his copy of it, he didn’t believe that with the help of the giant that was Columbia, the movie would fare much worse, so he had been worried about fighting for his own interests.


According to the way things should have normally progressed, his low-budget film could only get 20% of the profits at best. When Blount heard that Eric wanted to share the profits, he had lowered the share to 18% because he knew that the box office would be higher than what he had mentioned, and at that moment, Eric’s thoughts flashed as he remembered another agreement method: gambling.


In the film industry, betting on the box office was common, because under normal circumstances, this was a win-win situation; both sides could fight for their best interests while avoiding risks at the same time.


If you looked at the Home Alone from his past, the final North American box office count was 280 million $, so after signing the gambling agreement, Eric would eventually get a 38% share, which was 3% higher than what those powerful producers earned. Moreover, after seeing Blount Cohen’s reaction to his proposal, he felt that Columbia Pictures was likely to agree.


“Hey, Eric, I’ve been speaking so much, but in the end you weren’t even listening, were you ?” Jeffrey Hanson found himself nagging so much he became thirsty, but Eric hadn’t said a word and only reacted after he had nudged him on the shoulder twice.


“Look, Jeffrey, I know you are good to me, but however you think about it, a few months ago, I would have nothing if not for my guts. I’ll let you in on something, I believe that Home Alone is likely to break the 200 million $ mark at the box office, so with the agreement I proposed, how much do you think I can get ?”


Jeffrey looked at Eric as if he was looking at a mental patient.


Eric didn’t mind and laughed: “Jeffrey, have a little bit of faith in me alright, if I’m right, then you as the executive producer will receive a generous dividend that will help you redeem your Fireflies studios. Right now I need your help, so how about doing me a favor ?”


Although Jeffrey dreamed of getting back the film company co-founded with his wife, he didn’t take Eric’s words seriously, but seeing that he wouldn’t be able to change the guy’s mind, he asked: “Well, Eric, what do you need me to do ?”


“Help me contact a law and accounting firm, not surprisingly, Columbia will certainly agree to the agreement I proposed, and I’ll need someone to help me supervise and audit the implementation of the agreement, and if there’s a dispute I’ll also need someone to defend my case.”


Jeffrey said: “These are no problem, but Eric, do you still have money ? Those guys cost a lot you know.”


“Of course,” Eric opened his glove compartment, took out a copy of Jurassic Park, and said: “I still have the Jurassic Park movie copyrights that are at least worth a million dollars as collateral, if the gambling fails, then just take the novel to those firms, I don’t believe they’ll reject it.”


“Eric, you’re seriously…… insane !”


“The man of genius is he and he alone who finds such joy in his art, that he will work at it come hell or high water.”


Jeffrey threw his hands up: “… I see, not only are you crazy, you’re arrogance could even put Aristotle to shame.”


“Aristotle was busy, I stole this one from Stendhal.”


“……”


Jeffrey finally agreed to help contact the firm as soon as possible, at the same time, in one of Columbia Pictures conference rooms, several executives were in the middle of a discussion.


“Alright, you know everything, so let’s hear your opinions.” Blount Cohen described Eric’s conditions of the bet again while he looked at the several executives, waiting for them to express their views.


After hearing Blount Cohen’s statement a second time, the executives found it unbelievable; was that boy just foolishly stupid ?


Finally, an executive called Lester Reed took the lead and said: “Mr. Cohen, this is a good opportunity, according to our estimates, the highest potential box-office of the film is also 50 million $. Following the signing of the agreement, and with a little bit of tweaking, we could easily control the box office so that it wouldn’t go over the 50 million mark, and we wouldn’t even have to use 10 million dollars to buy him out.”


When Lester Reed finished, the others also echoed up.



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