Get ready i-bankers, traders, greedy aholes and big dreamers, a new futures market is coming. I predict there will be insurance and selling futures against Hollywood movie flop in the next two years. I smell lobbying for this one, more than likely its being brought to DC already.
HERE’S one for “The Hunger Games” crowd: What if, in that blood-tingling climactic scene near the Cornucopia, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) had skewered poor Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) with a wayward silver arrow?
In the real world of Hollywood, questions just like that nag Paul Holehouse.
Mr. Holehouse, 63, isn’t some oddball “Games” fanatic. But he does play an unusual, and unusually high-stakes role in modern moviedom. His job is to ensure that, as they might say in “The Hunger Games,” the odds are ever in his company’s favor.
He is a longtime risk consultant for the Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, the go-to insurer for the American entertainment industry. This 149-year-old company is best known for workaday automobile and homeowner’s insurance. But it has also carved a lucrative niche for itself in Hollywood and beyond.
The Fireman’s Fund, part of the German insurance giant Allianz, won’t insure against box-office losses — the Hollywood equivalent of a six-alarm fire. Not that “The Hunger Games,” which opened on Friday, is expected to fall flat. On the contrary: the movie, which cost about $80 million to make, could have opening-weekend sales of more than $100 million, far more than the first “Twilight.”
Mr. Holehouse’s job is to assess the risks associated with actually making movies like this — risks as varied as the health and habits of the actors to the dangers posed by the stunts, sets and locations. Even in the best of circumstances — a sweet romantic comedy, say — figuring out what might go wrong is daunting. But with “The Hunger Games,” a dystopian drama involving a futuristic fight to the death? Come on.
Lions Gate Entertainment hopes that “The Hunger Games” will vault it into the Hollywood big leagues. But even before the director, Gary Ross, began shooting the film, Mr. Holehouse had to do some serious risk analysis. (Neither Lions Gate nor the Fireman’s Fund would discuss the cost of the insurance, which for action movies accounts for as much as 4 percent of a movie’s total production costs, say studio heads and insurers.)
Mr. Holehouse traveled to North Carolina to check out the location, deep within DuPont State Forest. He took into account bugs, poison ivy, falling trees — anything that might pose a threat to the actors or the production schedule. He considered a chase scene across fast-running water, as well as the dangers posed by abandoned warehouses that were used as part of the set — and, of course, all swords, arrows and other weaponry.
Then there were the bears. When the movie’s location manager spotted a bear heading toward the set one day, the cast and crew were told not to bring food to the set.
“Over time, bears do find food and people,” Mr. Holehouse says. “We all had to drive off out of the property to have our lunch and dinner.” A park ranger helped keep the bears away.
OF course, insurance has been part of the motion picture business since the early days. Ben Turpin, a cross-eyed comedian remembered for his work in silent film, is said to have bought an insurance policy with Lloyd’s of London, payable if his eyes ever uncrossed. Betty Grable insured her legs for $1 million. Jimmy Durante took out a $50,000 policy on his nose.
After calling off their engagement last year, but convincing the public they’re still a couple, Laker baller Matt Barnes and Basketball Wife Gloria Govan have called it quits.
Matt emailed out a statement today about the split:
“I’d like to address the rumors surrounding mine and Gloria’s relationship. We have reached the difficult decision of ending our relationship and will be going our separate ways at this time. We will work together to raise our sons and wish each other only the best.”
And Gloria just tweeted her statement saying:
“I’m sure you guys are hearing a ton of buzz about Matt and Me breaking up, sorry to say… its true!!! But the most important thing is focusing on my kids and continuing to have a good relationship with their father, thanks for your support!!!”
The L.A. Times reports a heated twitter exchange between Matt and a fan was a tell-tale sign: That person suggested Barnes should marry her or else someone else will.
Responded Barnes: “He can have her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Meanwhile, Govan retweeted the following message on Saturday:
“If someone is dumb enough to walk away, be smart enough to let them go. Your destiny is never tied to anyone who leaves you.”
The two share 3-year-old twins Carter Kelly & Isaiah Michael, as well as a home in Palos Verde. Well the next season of Basketball Barely Wives should be interesting….
Cudi returns to the cover of Complex for their October/November 2011 issue. Mag hits newsstands October 4th, but the entire thing is available to read now. Excerpt from the cover story below.
Is that drug hangover why you disappeared after you released your second album?
“I wanted to clear my head, besides detox. I had to look at the root of the whole problem, and that was work and the business.”
“I wasn’t trying to hear it from nobody. I’m not even going to attack the people in my life that didn’t step in and try to stop it, ’cause I was just so bullheaded. There’s no way to slow somebody when they’re speeding down a path of destruction.”
“I thought I was dealing with it in the proper way. I was in the moment. And when you’re that young, with that opportunity, all that money, and all that respect and power, sometimes you run with it. ’Cause I was like, Man, you don’t know if this shit’s gon’ be here tomorrow.”
1 Billion Meals, 50 Cent, Allhiphop.com, Black Magic, Child Hunger, Chris Clark, Chris Lighty, Energy Drink, Energy Shot, Fifth Studio Album, Hudson Hotel, Initiative, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Launch, Poverty, SK, Street King
Rap star 50 Cent celebrated the launch of his new energy drink, Street King last night (September 14th) in New York.
The rapper, along with business manager Chris Lighty and Street King executive Chris Clark, hosted an intimate event for about 50 music executives, journalists and other movers and shakers at the Hudson Hotel.
50 Cent came up with the concept of the Street King energy shot, in order to fight world hunger. For every shot that is purchased, a meal is provided for a child in need.
The rap star’s goal is to serve over 1 billion meals, through the Street King energy drink initiative, which has already gather support from superstars like Justin Bieber, Drake, Lady Gaga and others.
“These are some of the most influential people in the world,” 50 Cent told AllHipHop.com. “It’s hard to find a guy Justin Bieber stage, who can compete with him in terms of influence.”
50 explained he decided to launch the initiative, after traveling the world is witnessing the conditions of people who are less fortunate, and were struggling with extreme levels of poverty.
“It’s very exciting I’m looking forward to being able to move forward and do bigger and better positive things,” 50 Cent said. “I’ve said in the test work in progress and I feel like I am progressing.”
In related news, his 50 Cent said that upcoming album Black Magic is completely finished. The rapper is waiting to confirm a release date for his fifth studio album.
No stranger to magazine covers, Justin Timberlake is featured on the front of Esquire Magazine’s October 2011 issue.
Here’s what the 30-year-old entertainer and In Time actor had to share:
On taking Esquire’s Chris Jones to Comic-Con dressed as characters:
“Dude, this is going to be awesome. Let’s do Bert and Ernie. I think it’ll make for better bonding.”
On finding moments of anonymity:
“I can sometimes walk around New York if I dress the right way, but that’s it.”
For more, pick up the new issue or visit Esquire.com.
Entourage wrapped up its run on HBO Sunday night with a final episode that saw big changes, and none at all. By which I mean, right to the very post-credits moment, the series remained what it was from the start: a fantasy of wealth, success, love, and arrested development.
The saga of Vincent Chase, young actor on the make as a movie star, was never meant to be anything more than a lighter-than-air sitcom, with HBO freedom to show more of the skin available to a star like Vinnie and allow Ari Gold to scream more explicitly than he could on most other sitcoms.
Early on in its life, Entourage did a pretty good job of making you care whether Vince could retain his sense of integrity while being the star of an Aquaman hit and the auteur of the flop Medellin. After a while, however, we came to realize that Vince had slowly, steadily lost any sense of the division between idealism and success. In this, the series mirrored what was going on in the pop culture, the politics, and the economy of America over the years in which Entourage existed.
Entourage remained one of HBO’s most popular shows, with a loyal fan base, not because it remained funny — sometimes whole seasons passed without a real laugh-out-loud moment — but because its audience had really bought into the brotherhood of Vince, Eric, Johnny, and Turtle. The real attraction of Entourage wasn’t its jokes or its guest-star cameos, but its suggestion that a group of buddies could come up from nothing and become little kings of their worlds. It was like Scarface, without the chainsaw and blood: Every week, we said hello to these leetle friends.
If fans identified with and fantasized through Vince and his pals, they vented vicariously through Ari, the venal, foul-mouthed agent who made millions for himself and others, and almost never let an enemy slip away without the mortal wounds of profane insults. The other actors had to remain likable; Jeremy Piven had the toughest job: He had to render Ari over-the-top cruel, realistically cynical, and likable. No wonder he’s the one who won the awards.
I’m guessing that if you remained a regular viewer of Entourage, there were probably very few surprises in the finale. You just knew these guys were going to remain loyal bros to the very end. You could have guessed the series would want to marry off Vince — what could complete the show’s fantasy of the man who had it all more than a beautiful blonde to whom he could give a $1.4 million dollar ring and fly off to marry in Paris? You just knew E was going to win over Sloan. Really, the only person who experienced real change was Turtle, and that was only because Jerry Ferrara lost some weight.
One thing that kept Entourage from being a great show — aside from its highly uneven quality from season to season — was that it never really made up its mind who its central character was, Vince or Ari. Creator Doug Ellin, who wrote the final episode, settled that question once and for all on Sunday night, by giving the final scene to Ari. The whole is-Ari-going-to-divorce plot this season was a waste of time: You just knew he and Melissa would reconcile. But after promising the wife a full year in Italy, the cliffhanger of whether he’ll take over the offer of running his own studio seems like a no-brainer. No matter how fetching that long, lingering shot of Perry Reeves’ bathing-suited backside was meant to be, we just know what Ari’s decision is going to be, don’t we?
What’s next in the Entourage universe? Probably a feature film, as the show follows in the footsteps of its HBO sister-show, Sex and the City. I can’t say I’m looking forward to paying money at the box office to see an actor as flyweight as Adrian Grenier try to actually be what Vince supposedly was — a movie star — or watch Ari scream while running a movie studio. But I’ll bet there’ll be enough Entourage junkies itching for a fix of brotherhood ‘n’ fame to give it a big opening weekend. It may not turn out to be an Aquaman, but it probably won’t be a Medellin, either.