I'm in Hollywood - Chapter 29[Updated at: 2021-01-11 10:13:28]
Eric looked around through the dense crowd, and his sights stopped towards the west, where the empty Runkle’s house was. Home Alone had been released for less than three days that the couple had hurriedly take Stuart and left the promotion tour, as someone had apparently offered them a high price for an advertisement.
When Eric was still in New York, he had seen in the newspapers that thanks to Home Alone’s popularity, Stuart had made several successful commercials and earned a few millions in endorsement, which lead to the Runkle family moving into a mansion in Beverly Hills.
Although Eric had initially hoped that Stuart’s parents wouldn’t only be concerned about profit like Macaulay Culkin’s in his past, that was obviously just his wishful thinking. He could only pray that Stuart wouldn’t go down the same path as Macaulay instead, as Home Alone’s sequel still needed the smart little guy. In the past, the third Home Alone’s box office directly plummeted from the second’s 170 million $ to 18 million $, because Culkin hadn’t been a part of it.
While he was still in his thoughts, ten minutes had passed and the surrounding reporters were getting more and more agitated. Some people had discovered Eric’s difficult position and decided to call the police, and Eric was then led away by them once they arrived.
Ah, God bless the people !
Eric drove to the headquarters of Columbia, and once he arrived, the two receptionists- eyes lit up when they saw him. They didn’t know anything about the Columbia executives’ complex emotions towards Home Alone’s box office, what they knew was that this young man in front of them would soon become the youngest millionaire in Hollywood. So after notifying the president’s office of his arrival, the two girls started flirting with him; if this stud fancied them, that would be equivalent to reaching heaven in one step.
Eric was also joyfully teasing those two flowers, he made some casual jokes to which the girls giggled endlessly, and two perfumed contact cards had unwittingly made their ways to his hand.
“Hey, Eric.” While he was still in midst of chatting at the reception, Blount Cohen’s voice suddenly sounded nearby. Turning around, he found the CEO with his arms opened wide, so Eric stepped forward and warmly hugged him.
“Mr. Cohen, why did you personally come down, you could’ve just sent someone.”
Blount Cohen laughed: “Why, is this old man bothering you young people in your flirting ?”
“Of course not.” Eric quickly denied.
Blount Cohen said: “Home Alone made a pretty good box office, so I personally picked you up, let’s get down to business first, you young people can flirt later.”
Eric nodded, pocketed the two girls’ cards, and followed Blount Cohen in the elevator.
Looking at the two people boarding the VIP elevator, the petite receptionist girl asked the one next to her: “Emilia, do you think Eric will contact me ?”
The tall and blonde Emilia leaned towards her ear and whispered: “Who knows, he might even contact the two of us at the same time, how would you like that ?”
“Ah ? That…… Um…” Imagining that possible scene, the petite girl’s face flushed slightly.
Emilia suddenly laughed, and said: “Lisa, stop your wishful thinking. Judging by our conversation with Eric Williams just now, he didn’t seem interested at all. He was probably just humoring us.”
“How can he only be eighteen ?” Although she had just met him, Lisa had a very good impression of Eric. If another guy had flirted with them, he would have been beaten up flat by Columbia’s security. But Eric was a stud and he was about to become filthy rich, so him flirting with them flattered the girls instead.
“Let me correct you; he’s a millionaire eighteen-year-old. To be able to achieve success at such a young age, he is in another league. Also, when Mr. Cohen left just now, he glared at us, so just be realistic Lisa, alright ? Let’s go to a club tonight, I’ll introduce you to some handsome guys.”
Lisa nodded in disappointment, she couldn’t help but glance at the VIP elevator not far.
Columbia Pictures’ president office, Blount Cohen enthusiastically let Eric sit down on the sofa, before taking out a bottle of wine from his personal stash, and saying: “Eric, let’s celebrate a little bit, when Home Alone is done screening I’ll throw a grand celebration for you. This white wine is from the Burgundy region in France, it’s my last bottle of it.”
Eric held his wine glass, gently swirled it, and took a sniff as a fresh breath of pineapple overflowed from the amber-colored liquid.
Blount Cohen knew about Eric’s upbringing and understood that the young man had probably never had access to that kind of top-class wine, he thought Eric was going to bumble so he asked with interest: “How is it ?”
Eric nodded and exclaimed: “Great Burgundy wine, to get a pineapple fragrance after the brewing process is not an easy thing.”
Blount Cohen was surprised: “Eric, I didn’t think you had some understanding of wine.”
“Heard about it by chance.” Eric told the truth.
Blount Cohen didn’t take it to heart as he held his glass up and said: “Cheers, to Home Alone.”
After drinking, Blount Cohen let his assistant pack up the wine, he returned to his seat and said: “Eric, let’s get down to business, this is Home Alone’s data for its first week at the box office, take a look.”
Eric opened the file, there wasn’t only the Home Alone box office data, there was the data for all the movies and Home Alone’s 27,550,000 $ was hanging at the top. 17 Againwas in second place with its 13.12 million $, and although it was quite good, the results for Home Alone had left it in the dust.
“It’s as you’ve seen, Eric.” Blount Cohen straightened up, his face a little ashamed, he said: “There’s something we need to bring to your understanding, it’s about Home Alonefor this week.”
Looking at Cohen’s expression, Eric had a foreboding feeling, he nodded, indicating the man to continue.
Blount Cohen said: “According to our gambling agreement, Columbia should increase the screens to 2000 this week, but unfortunately, because Home Alone’s success was out of our expectations, we didn’t make adequate preparations, and were only able to liberate 500 screens.”
Although the reason that Blount Cohen had brought up was reasonable, Eric felt something was off.
“So, Mr. Cohen, what does Columbia intend to do about this ?” Eric calmly asked.
“Eric, although Columbia will do everything to uphold its part of the agreement, this matter took everyone of us by surprise, we’re just unable to get more screens at the moment, so in the meantime, Columbia has prepared a compensation agreement instead.”
Eric warily asked: “A compensation agreement ?”
“Yes, Eric, don’t worry, there will be no change in the original gambling agreement. Because our lack of preparation has caused you a loss, starting from next week, we will add an additional 100 screens to the original number decided in the bet, and this until the movie stops screening. I think this is enough to show Columbia’s sincerity.” Blount Cohen smiled.
Eric subconsciously nodded, but even if this compensation agreement was acceptable, he still felt something was strange.
Seeing Eric nod, Blount Cohen took out the contract and pushed it in front of Eric as he said: “This is the compensation agreement, Eric. You can look at it, and if there’s no problem, then just directly sign it.”
Eric picked it up and began to read, the agreement was very short, only a handful of word and the terms of address were also very straightforward, it didn’t look like there was any trap on the surface. But Eric was still cautious and stated: “Mr. Cohen, I’ll take this to my lawyer to have a look, and if there’s no problem, I will send you back the signed contract.”
“Sure, no problem.” Blount Cohen generously nodded, then said: “Well then, let’s talk about the Home Alone overseas’ distribution rights. Eric, since the movie’s popularity is at its’ peak, the sooner we release it overseas, the higher the box office we’ll obtain. If we miss that window, we might only get half of what we originally could. We want to give you 16 million $ or 8% of Home Alone overseas’ box office, what do you think ?”
“Mr. Cohen, 8% ? That’s too low.”
Blount Cohen shook his head and said: “Eric, releasing a movie in overseas’ theaters brings about a lot of taxes, in the end we’ll only get about 20%, but you don’t need to do anything and still get 8% of the profits, that’s very reasonable.”
Eric coldly snorted in his hear. What ? Reasonable price ?
If there was no Home Alone, perhaps in an entire year, each of Columbia’s movies could only make about 50 million $ at the North American box office, and those films probably didn’t exceed ten. Relying solely on Home Alone, Columbia, who had been the last amongst the ‘Big Six’* in performance, would directly rise to the top three. So the truth was that Columbia really hit it big this time.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Cohen, I need to think about it.” He shook his head and rejected Cohen’s proposal. Eric wouldn’t just give up what he deserved just because he had made a lot with the gambling agreement. Sure they had help him put the movie out, but that was it, what was his was still his.
Eric’s answer seemed to have been foreseen by Blount Cohen as he nodded and said: “Alright, Eric, you go back and think about it, but please give me a reply as soon as possible.”
The young man was just out of the office, that he met the responsible of the Home Aloneproject, Lester Reed.
“Hey, Lester, good morning.”
Lester didn’t expect to coincidentally bump into Eric, he somewhat unnaturally said: “Hello Eric, congratulations on Home Alone’s success.”
“You too Lester, with you being responsible of Home Alone, your year-end bonus will probably be huge, right ?”
Although Lester started cursing and swearing in his heart, he only displayed an awkward smile on his face.
“Right, Lester, can you tell me where Ms. Pascal’s office is ? If she hadn’t helped me recommend Home Alone, I wouldn’t be here today, so I want to thank her in person.”
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* ‘Big Six’ was a term used in the past, it refers to 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Warner, Disney, Columbia and Universal. The order is random.