Larry Vaughn with Mentora Vaughn Gratrix
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Archive for the ‘Film buying’ Category

The Harvest Show

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Tomorrow morning we will be on live television at 9:00 am at The Harvest Show / WHME, channel 46. We are excited to share our story and our passion behind the writing of Hollywood’s Chosen. Hollywood’s Chosen is my story of how I grew up poor in a single parent home. The movie theatre was my babysitter for so many years. I went to work at my neighborhood theatre as an usher when I was a teenager. My love for movies and Hollywood led me to spend the next thirty-two years in the film industry. I worked my way up from being a projectionist, to a theatre manager and to later becoming Vice President in charge of film buying in Miami, Florida. I met with studio heads, directors, and movie stars, but a crucial decision changed my life forever. I had severe obstacles clouding my vision, but God did the miraculous in my life! …

Find out more of my story on The Harvest Show tomorrow.

Notre Dame Book Signing This Thursday & Friday!

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Our very first book signing is this Thursday, October 9, starting at 6:00 pm and on Friday, October 10, from 1:00-3:00 pm at Notre Dame Hammes Bookstore located on campus.

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On Thursday evening we will share stories from Hollywood’s Chosen. We look forward to seeing you there!

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What You Don’t Know About Forrest Gump…

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My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
—Tom Hanks, Forrest Gump

In 1994 Paramount’s top picture for the summer was the much anticipated Eddie Murphy action comedy Beverly Hills Cop III. After all, Cop III was the third in a series, with the previous two Cop movies being two of the most successful action comedies ever made. Scheduled to open in primetime for the Memorial Day weekend, most film buyers wanted Cop III in all of their theatres. Paramount Pictures demanded a hefty deal from those exhibitors fortunate enough to play Cop III. However, I had a hunch—and that is all it was, just a hunch—that maybe, Cop III wasn’t going to be the big picture that everyone was expecting it to be. Instead I had a gut feeling about Forrest Gump, Paramount’s number two movie in their summer lineup.

Now, in hindsight, most of us know Forrest Gump won six Academy Awards, including the coveted Best Picture of the Year Award. However, what is important to remember is that before it opened, Forest Gump was an unknown film, and it was a big question mark film as for as its grossing potential.

Even the so-called experts out in Hollywood didn’t know what do with Forrest Gump. Gump started out over at Warner Brothers. Warner wasn’t too excited about making Gump, but they kept looking at the success of the Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman’s 1988 film, Rain Man. The executives at Warner Brothers felt the stories were similar enough, each have a simple-minded man as the main character, and that maybe Gump, like Rain Man, could perform at the box office. However, after several failed attempts to come up with a screenplay, Warner decided to pass on making Forrest Gump. Then the producers of Gump shopped the idea to Sherry Lansing, the President of Paramount Pictures; she liked the story but was fearful that her studio would see little, if any, return on the $55 million investment to make Gump.

To make a long story short, what turned everything around and got the picture in production is when Tom Hanks, literally, came into the picture . . . and the rest is history. Sherry Lansing made a fantastic deal for Paramount: she green-lighted the $55 million to make Forrest Gump, and to date it has grossed a whopping $677 million worldwide.

Film buying is a risky business: I’ve picked winners and losers. I chose Forrest Gump because I looked at who was directing Gump, where many film buyers focused on actors or the safer bet of playing a sequel. When I saw Robert Zemeckis was directing Gump, that got my attention as Zemeckis had made my former companies a ton of money with two other films he directed: Back to the Future and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. So, which movie would have you gone with, the safe bet or the risky one?

More on Forrest Gump in Hollywood’s Chosen, available on Amazon or Kindle today!

Trivia:

1. What was one of Eddie Murphy’s most disappointing films?

2. What was Tom Hanks’ salary for Forrest Gump?

3. Who won the coveted Academy Award for Best Actor of the Year in 1994?

 

Answers: 1. Beverly Hills Cop III; 2. $70 million (his contract was salary plus percentage of the gross); 3. Tom Hanks for Forrest Gump

 

 

 

Hollywood’s Chosen Launches Video

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The only way to achieve the impossible is to believe the possible.
—Alice in Wonderland

We are so thankful to introduce you to Hollywood’s Chosen! What seemed like an impossibility is now a reality. We are thankful for the loving encouragement from our friends and family through this long journey. Hollywood’s Chosen is not just a story about movies and movie stars, but it is also a story of strength, God’s grace, and triumph.

Hollywood’s Chosen is available today on Amazon/Amazon Kindle, and available for pre-order at Barnes & Noble, Notre Dame Bookstore, and your local bookstore.

A special thanks to Classic Image Photography. They are wonderful to work with! Check them out at http://classicimage-photography.com/.

Meet the Man Who Saved Paramount Pictures…

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It’s not really about the movie business, it’s about staying in the picture.
—Robert Evans

One of my fondest memories with the man who introduced me to Hollywood, Heyward Morgan, was my first movie screening. I not only met movie stars that evening; I had the opportunity to meet a producer for the first time, Robert Evans.

Excerpt from Hollywood’s Chosen:

To top off that grand day, that evening Mr. Morgan and I went to the movie screening. When I walked into the theatre, I felt like someone had just dropped me into a fantasy world. Celebrities were everywhere. I whispered to Mr. Morgan, “There are the stars of Love Story: Ali McGraw and Ryan O’Neal. And there is Robert Evans, who is married to Miss McGraw.” I noticed that Mr. Evans and I had something in common: we were both skinny and had long dark hair.

Mr. Morgan added, “Robert is also head of production at the studio. I will introduce him to you later.”

Mr. Morgan seemed to enjoy my being star-struck. He commented, “Larry, you had best get used to the Hollywood crowd.” He winked at me as he commented, “These folks are no different than you and me. They put their pants on one leg at a time.” Smiling, he said, “Tonight is just the beginning.”

Mr. Evans is the man responsible for taking a struggling studio and turning it into the most successful studio in Hollywood—Paramount Pictures.

Despite his inexperience, this talented man had the gift of knowing what the public would pay to see. While at Paramount, he was responsible for films that are still household names today: The Godfather, Chinatown, Love Story, Marathon Man, True Grit and Rosemary’s Baby—just to mention a few.

Moive Trivia: What “A” actor got his first part in Robert Evan’s 1970 mega hit, Love Story? None other than Tommy Lee Jones.

Robert Evans has written two books: The Kid Stays in the Picture and more recently The Fat Lady Sang.