I'm in Hollywood - Chapter 25

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 10:13:26]
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CHAPTER 25 – PROMOTION IN FULL SWING


“Yesterday, a shocking gambling agreement was signed at the headquarters of Columbia Pictures, between the recently famous author of Jurassic Park and 17 Again, eighteen-year-old prodigy Eric Williams, and Columbia Pictures of the Coca-Cola Group.”


“It was reported that, after Eric Williams completed filming 17 Again, he relied on the paycheck he received as a starring actor, as well as his royalties fees from Jurassic Park, to, in only fifteen days of time, write and direct a low-budget comedy of one hundred and forty minutes titled Home Alone. Leaving aside what the quality of the film will be like, for eighteen-year-old Eric Williams to accomplish this feat makes him worthy of the word ‘genius’.”


“After seeing Home Alone and deliberating, the Columbia executives became unanimously optimistic. According to insiders, Mr. Blount Cohen, president of Columbia had originally wanted to buy the entirety of the Home Alone copyrights for 10 million $, however, Eric Williams straightforwardly refused this offer, which would have been enough to make him one of the youngest multimillionaires in Hollywood, and instead proposed a completely insane gambling agreement.”


The article was detailing the two sides of the bet, and analyzing the possibility of Eric winning it. The author was obviously an insider, he had included a series of data of similar past box office comedies, and estimated that with Home Alone, Eric’s chance of losing was more than 80%.


Because Home Alone didn’t star a celebrity, and hadn’t had any investors, for this type of good but low-budget comedy, only a few could make 2 to 3 millions at the box office, most would just make a million. Therefore, the possibility of Home Alone breaking the 50 million mark was very low. The author even concluded by saying that Columbia would most likely never ‘allow’ Home Alone to pass that mark.


Most people liked to talk about all kinds of things, but their favorite topics would be; geniuses -the ones that were so out of their reach that they couldn’t even feel envy-, tragic heroes, and conspiracy theories.


The Los Angeles Times article, had explicitly or implicitly, more or less broached about these three subjects, stirring the public sentiment. Even before the 20th Century Fox’s 17 Again publicity stunt, people had already begun to develop an eagerness towards Eric, this could be seen by the sudden increase in Jurassic Park’s sales.


Now, the appearance of Home Alone was like a bomb, the public’s interest in Eric had exploded, which meant that sales and the ratings would too, and soon, in a few days of time, he had already received a dozen requests for interviews. Jeff, who hadn’t contacted him in a while, suddenly called him to tell him that some people had come to inquire about him at the restaurant. Eric realized that the paparazzi had started to pay attention to him.


Meanwhile, after the publication of The Los Angeles Times article, the 20th Century Fox and Columbia Pictures seemed to form a tacit understanding as both the promotion of 17 Again and Home Alone started in full swing.


Although Carter Hunt, the head of the Distribution Department on the Fox’s side had some regrets about refusing to watch Eric’s Home Alone, as a professional, he quickly got over his mood, and after some negotiations with Columbia, launched a simultaneous publicity stunt. With those two giants joining forces, the results could well be imagined.


……


“Annie, how’s the situation, can I go home ?” When he saw his girlfriend open the door, Eric quickly asked. He had been hiding at Annie’s and hadn’t gone home in a week.


Aniston shook her head, she put the groceries bags she had in her hands on the coffee table and said: “I drove past your home, there was at least seventy-eight paparazzi keeping watch on your neighborhood. Fortunately they didn’t know that the car I drove was yours, otherwise they would have certainly come after me, that would have been terrible.”


Eric sighed. Thanks to the two giants united publicity campaign, Eric had become one of the most popular figure in North America, and even across the Atlantic, British newspapers had started to pick the subject up. Eric was knowledgeable about how things worked in this industry, so after receiving Jeff’s phone call last week, he immediately hid at Annie’s place. The two studios promoting the movie was enough, the rest would be to just rely on the quality of the film itself, so he didn’t bother going out and get interviewed by the paparazzi, not to mention that he wasn’t certain they would write things as he stated them.


Although Eric promptly went into hiding and the paps hadn’t been able to interview him, they had still dug around and his whole life was laid out for the public to feast on: his immigration from England, his school’s grades, and even his time passed at Jeff’s Italian restaurant. Aniston was relishing in it all, teasing him from time to time.


Then, a tabloid published about his alleged love triangle between Drew Barrymore and an ‘unknown actress’. They apparently got this from some members of the 17 Again crew, and the story was vividly written, even stating that Drew’s turning a new leaf and joining a rehab center was all for Eric’s sake. Once that article came out, a certain ‘unknown actress’ had made Eric sleep on the sofa for two full days in a fit of jealousy.


……


Michael Klaus was so excited recently he could barely sit still. Because the two giants had involved Eric in their propaganda stunt, Jurassic Park’s sales that had already gone over 100,000, started to soar once again in the second week of November, and finally passed the 250,000 mark. According to estimates, breaking the one million mark this year wouldn’t be a problem.


After calling him a few times to no avail, Michael Klaus learned of Eric’s whereabouts from Penny Marshall, and directly went to Aniston’s place.


“Hey, Michael, how did you know I was here ?” Eric asked curiously as he let Michael in the house.


“You, seriously, I even thought of calling the police since I couldn’t find you anywhere, and turns out you’re hiding here ……” Michael Klaus was about to say something, but when he saw Aniston coming out of the bedroom in pajamas, he was surprised and shut his mouth.


“Michael, this is my girlfriend, Jennifer Aniston. Annie, this is Mr. Michael Klaus, the manager of my book.”


Michael and Aniston greeted each other, before Annie left for the bathroom.


“Hey, Eric, this is the actress that was mentioned ? I still like Drew though, she was really cute in E.T.” Once Aniston’s figure disappeared, Michael started gossiping.


Eric gave Michael a cup of coffee and whispered: “Michael, if you want Annie to throw you out, then keep talking about this topic, even I don’t dare to mention Drew’s name now.”


Michael Klaus realized Eric wasn’t kidding and very decisively changed the subject: “Look, Eric, Jurassic Park is now selling so well, don’t you think you should start writing a sequel ?”


Eric shook his head without hesitation, the Jurassic Park copyrights were already in his hands, although he had used it as collateral in the bet, he wasn’t worried about that. He didn’t have any time to waste on writing a sequel.


“The fiction is already a complete story, and I think there is nothing else to write about, Michael.”


Michael Klaus wasn’t discouraged and quickly followed: “Well, do you have any other work ?”


Eric shook his head again. Some time ago he had been incredibly busy, and once he had finally completed Home Alone and signed a gambling agreement with Columbia, he had directly given himself a break. But because there was only a few days before the release of the movies, he had to follow the crew around during the promotion. Fortunately though, the two companies had reached a compromise and decided on a uniform promotional tour schedule, so Eric wouldn’t have to cut himself in half.



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