I'm in Hollywood - Chapter 31[Updated at: 2021-01-11 10:13:28]
CHAPTER 31 – STATEMENT
Eric straightened up slightly and said: “Mr. Eisner, please speak.”
When Michael Eisner was about to say something, his mouth froze in a slight gap as he hesitated. They had chatted for awhile, and Michael had a really good impression of Eric. He didn’t feel like he was talking to a kid, but more to a peer.
Thinking about how the young man was able to achieve so many amazing things in such a short period of time, Michael Eisner started doubting the agreement he had reached with Columbia. This young talent who was only eighteen, would definitely thrive, if Eric and him became enemies because of this, the probability of a future cooperation would be slim.
As a CEO, Michael Eisner was undoubtedly a decisive person. Thinking about Blount Cohen’s conditions again, he firmed his resolve.
Home Alone was a matter of its own, this young man could probably no longer achieve such dazzling success. And even if he did, as long as there were enough interests, the two sides were still likely to cooperate, those who were once enemies could always make peace again. Besides, in the end, wouldn’t Columbia be the one to become Eric’s main opponent ?
“Eric, Disney is really interested in Home Alone’s overseas distribution rights, our studio’s very brand is child and teen oriented, so we would be best suited to take care of your movie. If you let Disney handle Home Alone, I believe we can achieve better overseas than in North America.”
Eric calmly asked: “Mr. Eisner, can I know Disney’s offer ?”
“12% of the overseas’ box office profits, what do you think ?”
Eric looked slightly moved as he asked: “Doesn’t Disney wish to purchase the copyrights ?”
Michael Eisner shook his head, smiled and said: “Eric, you even signed a gambling agreement with Columbia because you wouldn’t accept the buyout, so I won’t waste time in this regard.”
Eric nodded his head: “If that’s the case, the price is very reasonable, Columbia only offered me 8% of the overseas share…”
“Disney is very sincere, we also hope we can cooperate in the future.” Michael Eisner smiled and then said: “So, Eric, if you agree, I want to sign a licensing agreement as soon as possible. Releasing the movie overseas might not be so easy, after signing the agreement, it would at least take a week for the movie to appear in the theater of a foreign country. With Home Alone’s level of popularity, releasing just a day later could make us lose out on millions of dollars.”
Opposite Michael Eisner, Eric listened quietly while his mind was rapidly putting the pieces together. Suddenly, his mouth stretched into a meaningful smile as he began to understand Columbia’s trick. Although it wasn’t really clever, it was very effective, and with a little carelessness he might have fallen into the trap.
Once he had seen through their trick, Eric’s heart finally relaxed, he pick up the cup of coffee in front of him, and gently rubbed the fine ceramic before looking up to Michael Eisner and asking: “Mr. Eisner, if I were to agree, when would we sign it ?”
Michael Eisner, had noted Eric’s somewhat strange expression, but when he heard the youth’s words, his joy took over as he said: “Of course, the sooner the better, I’ll have someone draft the agreement quickly and we can sign this afternoon.”
Putting down his cup of coffee, Eric stared at Michael Eisner and said: “I’m afraid that’s not gonna happen, Mr. Eisner.”
“Huh ?” Michael Eisner was puzzled.
Eric said: “Columbia couldn’t accept my gambling agreement, so they fished you out. Perhaps they gave you conditions that you couldn’t refuse or perhaps it was just because you and Mr. Cohen are friends, either way, you agreed. Because they didn’t know when you could persuade me, to be safe, Columbia only added 500 more screens instead of the agreed 1000, and also didn’t hesitate to write a compensation agreement stating that they would add 100 screens more than the initial number from the third week on.”
When Michael Eisner heard Eric, he was first stunned, before bitterly smiling. He had underestimated this young man.
Noting Michael Eisner’s reaction, Eric was very satisfied, he continued: “The reason why they were willing to do this, was because Columbia is trying to delay Home Alone from reaching 50 million $ at the box office, while also giving you more time to sway me. My agreement with Columbia states that, if the final box office is less than 50 million $, all the Home Alone copyrights will belong to them, however, now that amount hasn’t been reached yet. If I hastily signed a licensing agreement with Disney while the copyrights are still a part of the bet, that would be me breaching the contract, and Columbia would then have the perfect opportunity to tear up our gambling agreement. Tell me, Mr. Eisner, did I get it right ?”
If the whole thing had nothing to do with him, given Michael Eisner’s character, after hearing Eric’s wonderful analysis, he would have definitely applauded. Now however, he could only reveal a slightly embarrassed smile.
Eric stood up: “I think we’re done here, Mr. Eisner.”
Michael Eisner also got up and said: “I know you might not believe me, Eric, but I still have to say it, I was very happy to talk to you before, and I hope I’ll have the opportunity to cooperate with you in the future.”
“Maybe.” Eric nodded, since one of the six giants was humbling himself, Eric wouldn’t not give him face.
“Mr. Eisner, do you mind telling me what conditions Columbia offered you ?”
Michael Eisner shook his head: “I’m sorry Eric, this is a trade secret.”
Eric casually said: “Well, Mr. Eisner, will you allow your driver to take me back ?”
“Sure, no problem.” Michael Eisner beckoned his assistant not far, and told him a few things.
Eric was just out of the Hilton, that more than a dozen reporters outside quickly gathered around. They had learned through various channels that Eric had just met Disney’s CEO Michael Eisner, so they were looking forward to the two’s meeting content.
Seeing the reporters rush over, the Hilton’s security hurriedly surrounded Eric. Michael Eisner’s driver was about to led the youth to the parking lot, when the latter stopped in his steps.
The reporters who were separated by the security were disappointed, they thought that Eric would leave quietly again, they didn’t expect that he would suddenly stop, so they quickly raised their cameras and recorders.
“Eric, what did you and Michael Eisner talk about ?”
“Was it about Home Alone ?”
“Mr. Williams, your two current movies are targeted to young viewers, which is what Disney’s business is all about, are you going to join them ?”
Eric didn’t answer the reporters’ questions, he raised his hand, motioning the crowd to settle down, before saying: “I’d like to say a few words, would please listen to me ?”
Since Eric had taken the initiative to speak, the crowd was quick to quiet down.
“Mr. Eisner just invited me to dinner, we did talk about a few things, but the specifics are not things I can reveal. We talked very enthusiastically, and will perhaps even cooperate in the future.”
After hearing his words, the reporters realized they didn’t get what they wanted and once again got restless. Eric quickly added: “Alright, alright, don’t rush this, I would like you to help me make a statement.”
Some reporters were still suspicious, but a few clever ones keenly felt that Eric was about to give them something big, and so they hastened to lift their recorders a little more forward.
“First of all, I am grateful to Columbia Pictures for helping me release Home Alone. However…..”
Eric’s expression turned sharp: “I’d like to first say, that because we signed a gambling agreement, my share of the profits will be much higher than Columbia’s, but this is something I earned for myself, and my conscience is clear. Also, if the agreement is upheld conscientiously, Columbia will still get nearly 50 million $ out of the North American box office, which accounts for almost half of Columbia’s yearly profits, and is enough money to make a lot of people envy them. So, I’d like to solemnly warn certain persons: Please put away your greed, don’t try to find ways to null our bet, and continue to screen Home Alone in accordance with the terms stated in the contract. Columbia, if you violate those arrangements, I do not mind taking you to court. Although I might be nothing in your eyes, in the face of the law, we are equals. If you feel Home Alone and 17 Again’s success is not enough to prove anything, then I suggest you take a clear and good look at my next movie.”
Eric had just finished, that the reporters went into a frenzy.
“Mr. Williams, could you tell us the specifics ?”
“Eric, you mentioned a next movie, can you tell us what it will be about ?”
“Eric, did your meeting with Michael Eisner have anything to do with Columbia’s attempt to break the agreement like you stated ?”
“Mr. Williams ……”
Eric turned around amidst the uproar of the crowd.He was silently escorted by the security to the parking lot, and got into the car.