I'm in Hollywood - Chapter 68

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 10:13:40]
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Eric checked his memories of Pixar: a world-renowned leader of 3D animation, and producer of the Toy Story franchise.


But before 1995, Disney 2D animation movies were still dominating the animated film market, and no one was optimistic about the future of 3D animation. It was to the point that Jobs himself started to lack confidence in it.


Before Toy Story was released, he had tried to sell this unfortunate ugly duckling at all cost, and had even contacted his good ol\' rival Microsoft to this purpose.


During the meeting with the Microsoft executives and in order to curry favor with their CTO at the time, Nathan Myhrvold, Jobs had even went so far as to deliberately place on his desk, a laptop running Windows.


Unfortunately, Microsoft\'s offer was not to Jobs\' liking, and without anyway to extricate himself from the muddy swamp he had gotten himself into, he was left with no other choice but to bite the bullet and bid his time.


That was rewarding, since once Toy Story was released, its North American box office grossed 192 million $, and its global box office reached an astounding 373 million $, while the general production cost had only amounted to 30 million $.


After that, Pixar\'s market value shot through the roof, reaching 7.4 billion $ when it was acquired by Disney in 2006.


Time-wise, Steve Jobs should be in the middle of his \'sinking ship\' project[1]. Eric immediately thought about buying Pixar, but soon shook his head.


Although right now Jobs only demanded 50 million $ for it, even if the price was halved, Eric had no way to pay.


He didn\'t have enough money yet, Home Alone had been screening for so long, but he still hadn\'t received his final dividend.


He reckoned that he would have to wait until Home Alone\'s final grossing was out to get his share. In his past life, it wasn\'t uncommon for directors or actors to go straight to court to get theirs.


It\'s millions of dollars we\'re talking about, with the annual interest percentage, even if it sat still in the bank, it would grow impressively. So even if they had a clear agreement, Columbia would certainly find a way to drag it all out.


Eric shuddered at the thought of what they could do. Once Home Alone was at the end of its screening period, they could choose to add a few more screens all over the country, making sure the movie kept running for a little longer, and Eric would only be able to helplessly look on.


Thanks to their fallout over the gambling agreement, the possibilities of cooperation with Columbia in the short future where near nil. Scratch that, it was probably 100% nil. With Columbia using petty and devious tricks to try to get ahead, he didn\'t even want to bother with them, especially with Blount Cohen still at the helm.


After much deliberation, Eric felt he should prioritize Pretty Woman right now. If history didn\'t change too much, then Toy Story\'s release wouldn\'t happen until six years from now anyways, and he\'d surely have enough to buy Pixar by then.


…..


Before Pretty Woman\'s shooting had started, the preparatory work had been conducted perfectly, so Jeffrey didn\'t need to be here all the time, they could just use other producers in his stead.


Eric and the man had talked it out for about an hour, and Jeffrey had hurriedly flown to New York to discuss advertising issues with NBC.


Advertising segments\' sales for the Super Bowl had started six months ago, and NBC had already sold 80% of them. Jeffrey had to fight for the remaining 20%, and a lot of time had passed since, which meant the prices had risen.


Three days later, Eric had just gotten up when he received Jeffrey\'s phone call. The man had scored them their 60 seconds of time.


"What, 1.5 million $ ? Didn\'t you say it was 1.2 million before ?" In the bathroom, a cordless phone nuzzled between his neck and his shoulder, Eric was in the midst of brushing his teeth when he asked.


Jeffrey helplessly said: "If no one else had wanted it yeah, but a New York fashion company suddenly got interested in the ad and made an offer for it. Since you told me I had to get it at all cost, I offered 300,000 $ more. I\'m pretty sure that fashion company is owned by NBC by the way, but I don\'t have any proof."


It was only 300,000 $, Eric didn\'t want to dawdle on it, he finished brushing his teeth, rinsed his mouth and went back to the living room.


"Well alright, 1.5 million $ it is." Eric sat on the sofa and poured himself a glass of water: "Sign the contract as soon as possible. Ah right, tomorrow\'s the Golden Globes, will you make it ?"


"The way things are now, probably not." Jeffrey regretfully said, "The one they want to see is the prodigious director anyways, doesn\'t matter whether I go or not."


"Ha ha, don\'t sweat it, even if you miss it this time, there will be plenty of opportunities in the future."


"Too true." Jeffrey laughed along, "Well if there\'s nothing else I\'ll hang up now. It should only be seven in the morning in L.A but I just had to let you know about the extra 300,000 $ as soon as possible."


"It\'s alright, I didn\'t stay up yesterday, I went to bed right after coming back."


They said goodbye and Eric hung up the phone.


Leaning against the sofa and gently tapping his finger on his knee, Eric did a mental inventory of his income and expenses: he had received a 25 million $ check from the Fox, had bought the Beverly Hills mansion for 1.9 million $, paid Drew\'s mother 1 million $, acquired UTA for another million, acquired the Firefly Studios, the dubbing room, the editing room as well as all the professional equipment for 3 million $, Pretty Woman\'s production cost was 7 million $ and the Super Bowl segment was 1.5 million $. In total, he had spent 15.4 million $.


Although he had never been a prodigal person, he had been spending a lot lately, and since his rebirth in the United States, Eric would be soon faced with one of the two things a U.S citizen couldn\'t flee from: taxes. With what he had earned, no doubt he\'d be taxed the highest possible amount: 35 %. Meaning he would owe nearly 10 million $.


While he profusely cursed the damned capitalist system, he regretfully realized that he would probably not have enough by the 15th April, which was the tax deadline.


"Right, I don\'t have to pay it myself, I can take a loan instead[2]." Eric, who was massaging his temples, soon smiled. After all, he wasn\'t originally American, he felt no patriotism at all, and was therefore very reluctant at the idea of paying taxes.


He filed the matter at the back of his mind, and had breakfast before driving to the set.


Perhaps it was because Eric had promised them the day off tomorrow, the crew was in high spirits, and at the end of the day, they had wrapped about 6 additional takes.


After ten days of shooting, 60% of the movie was already completed, and if things went well after the Golden Globes ceremony, they should be done in about a week.


The reason they were able to go so fast was mainly thanks to Julia. Since the beginning, Eric hadn\'t worried about Al Pacino; for the man to have obtained so many Oscar nominations spoke for itself.


However, as a newcomer, Julia was another matter. At the start there wasn\'t much to say, she did well, although she NGed several times. The real problem started when she had to play opposite to Al, and the number of her NG\'s multiplied. In comparison to Al\'s, Julia\'s acting could be considered to be in its childhood stage.


However, after a few days of shooting and Eric\'s roars, Julia gradually narrowed their gaps in performance. In some shots, she even appeared to be the one pressuring Al (but well, it was a romcom, and not exactly Al\'s specialty in first place, so it wasn\'t that difficult to achieve).


"Okay, that\'s it for today." After one last take, Eric called it a day, and the crew members loudly cheered before packing up and leaving their separate ways.


Eric stopped by the trailer where Al was removing his makeup and asked: "Al, how\'s your practicing of the piano going ?"


In the original movie, Edward\'s solo piano performance at the restaurant was personally created and played by Richard Gere. Eric used his memory as well as his company\'s music-oriented employees to recreate the 40 seconds tune, before handing it over to Al Pacino.


Al\'s piano skills were average, but since he insisted on personally playing it, Eric had to postpone that scene.


"Eric, give me one…. no, two days, I still need to practice a little more."


"No problem." Eric admired the man\'s dedication, but he still added: "However Al, we can\'t drag it out too long, the shooting will only go faster from now on, and if we don\'t shoot that scene soon, you\'ll get lost in the development of the plot and lose the mood."


Al Pacino was pensive for a bit and reckoned Eric had made a point. Realizing that whether he did it or not, it wouldn\'t impact the movie\'s quality, he reluctantly nodded in compromise: "Alright Eric, let\'s shoot that scene the day after tomorrow, if it doesn\'t work out, you\'ll just have to post-dub it."


_ _ _ _


[1] He\'s referring to Pixar Image Computer.


[2] Okay so I am no American, and although I have some knowledge of their lifestyle, their taxation system is completely beyond me. I skimmed through Wikipedia but I\'m not really sure what he is talking about. Is he referring to the "credits" section ? If anyone knows, please do leave a comment!


_ _ _ _


On a side note, I’ve received looooots of email so thanks guys for the support, I’ve taken the time to thereby update the page and (finally) add an one, so check it out before you send me another email (please, I beg you).



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