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Friday, Sep 30, 2022
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COLUMNS & FEATURES–Show Biz



NEWS, NOTES AND TRENDS ON L.A.’S ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY

Timing is everything in Hollywood, and the timing could be right for Phoenix Pictures and Chairman Mike Medavoy. He’s got a deal with J.R. Moehringer, the Los Angeles Times reporter who just won a Pulitzer Prize for feature reporting.

The film, titled “The Champ,” is based on a 1997 article Moehringer wrote for the Times about down-and-out ex-boxer Bob Satterfield, and the reporter’s own soul-searching while working on the story. Medavoy, who has been involved in more than 300 films, also has a new Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, “The Sixth Day,” that is slated to be released later this year by Sony Pictures Entertainment. It’s a chiller about a man who wakes up to find he has been cloned and someone wants to kill him. Medavoy scoffs at the notion that Schwarzenegger’s career is fading.

“It’s ridiculous,” he said. “His last movie (‘End of Days’) did $220 million abroad and $69 million domestic. He’s not too old. He’s one of the top five movie stars in the world. In Europe, he is one of the top three, and in Japan he is probably No. 1. He is an enormous presence.”

Medavoy is in the final stages of a five-year deal with Sony, and the future of the relationship is in doubt. Phoenix has yet to produce a blockbuster, although many of its films like “The Thin Red Line” and “The People vs. Larry Flynt” have received critical praise.

“Our deal is up in another year,” Medavoy said. “We don’t know where it is going to end up. We own all these movies now. It is certain to me we will need additional financing for the company, and we are always looking for partners.”

Medavoy, one of the first Hollywood players to discover Bill Clinton, said the two presumed nominees for the 2000 presidential election, Vice President Al Gore and Texas Governor George W. Bush, have both stumbled in their bids for the White House.

“Both campaigns have made mistakes,” he said. “An example for Bush was getting into a conversation with someone, and he asks you if you know who the prime minister of some country is, and he doesn’t know. I thought the stance that Gore took on Elian Gonzalez (offering residency to the boy and his family) was wrong.”

Though Hollywood is said to be in the pocket of the Democrats, Medavoy says that’s not true.

“Hollywood will go with any winner at any time, anywhere,” he said. “Earlier in the year a lot of guys were coming out to say hello to George W. Bush, and I don’t say this in a denigrating way, but when he starts to look a little pale, they will disappear. That will be true about Al Gore if he starts to falter. (Hollywood supporters) will disappear.”

Movers & Shakers

Sylvester Stallone is off to Canada this summer to begin shooting a drama about the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART). The film, directed by Renny Harlin and written by Stallone, follows the drivers who push the envelope on and off the track. The untitled film is being produced by Franchise Pictures.

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