I'm in Hollywood - Chapter 27

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 10:13:27]
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November 18th, Eric flew to New York the next day, while Home Alone and 17 Again had officially premiered. Home Alone was projected on 1000 screens, while 17 Again had 1279 of them. It was being screened in 279 more screens than Home Alone since the Fox hadn’t signed any gambling agreement and could just put all its efforts in making it a success.

They were released simultaneously along with Universal Pictures’ Land Before Time and its 1395 screens, and Disney’s Buena Vista International Release animated Oliver & Company with its 952 screens.

Three children-oriented movies were released at the same time, and this made the media feel that Eric’s chances to win the bet were getting thin, but the concerned party wasn’t worried at all. These two might overshadow Home Alone a little at the beginning, but they wouldn’t be able to compete on the long-time run. His past life’s Home Alone had screened for ten consecutive weeks.

After attending the two premieres, when Eric and the crew came back to the hotel, it was already past eleven pm. This era’s technology wasn’t really advanced, so they could only wait until next week before getting the Home Alone and 17 Again box office data.

Back in his room, Eric took a bath and was planning to go to sleep, when the phone suddenly rang. Calling him so late, it could only be Annie.

“Hey, Eric, were you sleeping ?” The lass asked with a tinge of excitement.

Eric sat on the bed drying his wet hair with a towel, he said: “No, I just showered, Annie did something good happen ?”

“Guess ?”

Eric quipped: “Oh, I know, you must be pregnant, don’t worry, I’ll take responsibility.”

“Bah, you big bad wolf, talking about those dirty things !” Aniston followed: “I just went to see Home Alone, and encountered a very interesting thing, hehe.”

Eric smiled: “Tell me ?”

“Well, I came out from the cinema earlier, and there was a five-year-old boy shouting that he wanted to see Kevin again, the parents refused, saying that they had just went to see him, and the result was that the kid lied on the ground and started to cry. Some people mistakenly thought that his parents were child-traffickers, the poor parents were beaten up, and several police cars came, it was really funny, haha.”

Aniston was just viewing it as a funny anecdote, but Eric could see the bigger picture. They chatted for a while before hanging up, and Eric lied on his bed, slightly excited.

Things were going in accordance to the past. Home Alone had been able to achieve such an amazing box office thanks to a big wave of naughty children who begged to watch it over and over, they imitated Kevin’s every move, and ultimately, helped promote the movie like never before.

Indeed, things were as Eric had guessed, the first day of release of Home Alone, nothing major really happened. But with its reputation spreading at an alarming rate between children, Home Alone’s entries doubled on the next day, and on the third, the growth was such that some popular theaters were having a queuing situation.

The children had seen comedies before, but nothing like Kevin’s weird encounters. Home Alone, from a child’s perspective, portrayed what the majority of them couldn’t or didn’t dare to do in reality.

Groups of children in North America stirred up a wave of imitation of Kevin, a San Francisco newspaper even reported on a real Home Alone event; a nine-year-old boy who had seen the movie, secretly locked himself in a room when the family got ready to go on a Hawaii vacation.

When the parents of six children realized they couldn’t find him, the whole family had already flown to Hawaii. The boy’s parents had to give up on their vacation to go back to San Francisco, only to find out that the boy had made a mess of the house as he was prepared to battle the ‘robbers’ but was met with his anxious parents instead.

A week later, the box office’s numbers were finally out, and although the various spikes in popularity had prepared some people psychologically, when they saw that Home Alone had reached a staggering 27,550,000 $ in its first week of running, everyone was shocked.

Perhaps more than 20 million $ at the box office in its first week was nothing compared to those blockbusters from Eric’s past era, but in this day and age, this result had completely overshadowed all the movies in recent years, even Spielberg’s E.T hadn’t had such a stunning start ! Only George Lucas’ Star Wars could compare to Home Alone, but its production cost was a hundred times more than the latter !

Meanwhile, 17 Again had also achieved good results with 13,120,000 $, landing second place. Land Before Time and Oliver & Company, had however respectively only made 7.12 million and 3.98 million $, far below the two film companies initial estimates, which was no doubt caused by Home Alone miserably pressuring them. Universal and Disney executives deeply regretted releasing their movies at the same time as Home Alone while also feeling envious of Columbia’s good fortune.

Columbia Pictures’ luck was indeed really good, but when he received the first week’s data from the box office, president Blount Cohen’s mood hit rock bottom, and his cup would also often fall out from his hands.

Columbia reassessed Home Alone again according to the first week of box office data, the result was that the North American box office alone would certainly reach 200 million $ and was even likely to exceed the three hundreds. Blount Cohen was bitterly regretting, if he had kept trying to buy Home Alone’s copyrights rather than signing that dog shit gambling agreement, then Columbia’s profits this year would have been in the hundreds of millions.

But now, according to the bet, if Home Alone made a box office of 300 million $, Columbia would have to pay Eric 120 million $, while they would only receive 45 million $ if you took the cost of distribution into account, what Columbia would earn might only be a fraction of Eric’s share. (TL: No freaking idea how this was calculated, don’t ask me, blame the author.)

Blount Cohen had wanted to tear the agreement apart many times, however, the whole nation now knew about the bet, if he hastily tore up the contract, not only would Columbia have a difficult lawsuit on its hands, they would also become the laughing stock of the country. As the president, he himself would definitely become the scapegoat.

“No, we must find a way to recoup our losses, we must ……” While Blount Cohen kept muttering, an assistant knocked on his door and said: “Mr. Cohen, everyone is in attendance, the meeting can start.”

Blount Cohen rubbed his temples, rose and left for the conference room.

After sitting down at his place, Blount Cohen directly asked the one responsible for the Home Alone project: “Lester, how was the data analysis ?”

Lester Reed had been about to return home alongside the Home Alone crew, but when he received a call from headquarters urging him to come back, he immediately took a flight back to L.A ahead of everyone else. Once he heard about the numbers for the movie’s first week of running, Lester had instantly felt bad.

He sweated as he looked at Blount Cohen, although the final decision to accept the agreement was his boss’, but he had been the first to voice his consent at the original meeting. According to Blount Cohen’s headstrong character, nine times out of ten he would vent his anger on Lester.

“Mr. Cohen, according to the data department’s analysis, and in accordance to the gambling agreement, we can only get about 50 million $ out of the estimated 225 million $ of the North American box office.”

Blount Cohen took the analysis file, and looking at the red curve going down that represented Columbia’s profits, as well as the green one who was going all the way up representing Eric’s, his temples started to jump.

Bang –

Another one of Blount Cohen’s cup fell on the mahogany floor with a dull thud, everyone else in the room was slightly startled, they subconsciously looked down and became silent.

Under normal circumstances, making 50 million $ at the box office was enough to let those old foxes laugh out loud even in their dreams, after all, even for the six giants, the best yearly box office profit was about 200 million $.

However, when compared to the over 100 million $ that Eric might receive, Blount Cohen couldn’t bring himself to be excited in the slightest.

“Well, you were in charge of signing the gambling agreement, so what now ?” Blount Cohen coldly glanced around the room, and his eyes finally fell upon Lester Reed. (TL: Man, that guy is the worst boss ever.)