But this time, it’s not just a matter of boardroom egos. There are a number of specific factors in play. At the top of the list is the fact that even as most of the studios have cut back on the number of movies they make, while also inviting in more investors to share the risk, the big tentpole bets have just become too risky. “The studios have gotten into a rut — they’re making Iron Man 65 and Superman: Version 18,” says analyst Harold Vogel. “And when you have the budgetary collapse of these large films, as you did this spring and summer, it puts the execs under added pressure. Those kinds of films give a kick in the pants to the people who watch budgets and assess risk.” Universal chairman Adam Fogelson endured last year’s Battleship and had enjoyed several 2013 successes, but when the brass at the Comcast-owned NBCUniversal turned their attention to Universal, he was out and Ron Meyer and Donna Langley were paired with Jeff Shell, whose experience is mostly in television. Sony’s Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal could have found themselves on the hot seat for recent misfires, but instead they moved quickly, declaring change at the studio was needed as they fired their marketing president Marc Weinstock. STORY: Executive Firings: Which Perks Are Lost With The Job Digital technologies already have impacted music and TV and are just beginning to hit the film industry, as going to the movies now competes with streaming media and video-on-demand. When analog-bred execs are ushered off the lots, jobs often are being given to those versed in digital distribution, like Tsujihara, or digital marketing, like Sony’s Dwight Caines, who inherited part of Weinstock’s job. “We’re coming out of a 20-year period where there was a degree of stability, but the technology has gradually changed. Many of the studio heads are not as young as they used to be, so a generational shift is inevitable,” adds Vogel. But another problem plaguing Hollywood is a dearth of strong executive talent. Which is why Alan Horn, eased out of Warners in 2011, was soon scooped up by Disney’s Bob Iger.
Hollywood: ‘You’re Fat!’ JLaw: ‘F–k You, I’m Fabulous!’
In fact, it’s routine for Hollywood to alter the content of its overseas prints to placate China. Sometimes, it’s a question of outright censorship. For instance, all of Chow Yun-Fat’s scenes in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End were cut because Chinese censors considered his pirate character an offensive ethnic caricature. Chinese censors also found offensive all the Chinese-American characters who were secretly alien invaders in Men in Black 3 , so they ended up on the cutting-room floor. The funniest example is the recent Titanic 3D , which cropped out Kate Winslet’s famous nude scene out of fear that the 3D effects might inspire moviegoers to reach out and try to cop a feel. Sometimes it’s adding scenes, as in Iron Man 3 , whose Chinese prints include spliced-in scenes of popular Chinese actor Wang Xueqi as a doctor who helps Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark. He’s also shown drinking the Yili brand of milk, in a blatant scene of product placement . The scenes were so superfluous that even Chinese audiences practically hooted them off the screen. And then there are movies that undergo more fundamental content changes for releases in all countries in order to please China. Wonder why the Mandarin in Iron Man 3 wasn’t Mandarin at all ? Or why the martial art practiced in the recent Karate Kid remake wasn’t karate at all but kung fu, with the movie set not in America but in Beijing?
Forget the fact that she emerged as the second-youngest Best Actress winner of an Academy Award (Silver Linings Playbook, 2012), and the highest-grossing action heroine of all time (The Hunger Games, 2012) in the same year, at only age 23. She’s “fat,” and she’ll risk losing future opportunities if she doesn’t first “lose a certain amount of weight.” Um, right. “It was just the kind of shit that actresses have to go through,” Jennifer said — that is, the shit of an industry that’s exceptional at finding fault where there is none. “They brought in pictures of me where I was basically naked, and told me to use them as motivation for my diet,” she added. In reality, it’s early in JLaw’s career, and “the most talented young actress in America,” according to Rolling Stone, has as much professional success as she has men drooling over her — without having to diet — not to mention all the women who look up to her and want to be her BFF. Truth is, she looks like a woman who’s conscious of her health and feels good in her own skin. Look at her! Exactly where could she shed the pounds? Her face is filled with color and she carries herself with a confidence that rises well above Hollywood’s weight obession. She is a mega babe! “If anybody even tries to whisper the word ‘diet,’ I’m like, ‘You can go fuck yourself,'” she summed up. That’s the vibrant, foulmouthed warrior we know and love. Better than beautiful, Jennifer is realistic in both image and attitude. Like this? Want more?
INSIGHT-Little-known Hollywood investor poised to score with Twitter IPO
Although Rizvi indirectly owns some shares of Pinterest, Rizvi failed to purchase a significant stake when the online scrapboard site raised $100 million in 2012 and $200 million this year. It was unclear what stymied his attempts. “He fought tooth and nail for an allocation” but failed, an angel investor in Pinterest recalled. “He was willing to pay.” It also remains unclear whether Rizvi’s Internet investments other than Twitter will pan out. Some industry insiders note that he missed out on the huge gains that were made with very early investments in social media, and companies including Square and Flipboard remain unproven. Rizvi was able to buy only $100 million in Facebook shortly before its IPO, thus limiting his returns, according to people with knowledge of the matter. FROM IOWA FALLS TO SILICON VALLEY Rizvi, who owns a sprawling three-home compound in Greenwich, Connecticut, and a 1.65-acre Palm Beach, Florida, estate near Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg, was born in India but moved to Iowa Falls, a town of 5,200 people, when he was five. Along with his older brother Ashraf, a hedge fund manager, Rizvi graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton business school. Both now serve on the undergraduate school’s executive board. Rizvi worked as a real estate analyst while at Wharton, then he started and sold a telecom company. With the proceeds, he financed his first big buyout in 1995, when he bought the electronic manufacturing business of a Puerto Rico phone company. Refocusing it on making higher-cost equipment, he spent the next four years boosting the company’s annual revenue from $10 million to $450 million.