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The Hollywood Economist 2.0

The Hidden Financial Reality Behind the Movies

In The Hollywood Economist, veteran investigative reporter Edward Jay Epstein goes undercover to find the answer to a puzzling question: Why is it that even the biggest grossing new movies, raking in millions at the box office, rarely break even during their theatrical release? How does Hollywood make money?

Epstein penetrates the dazzlingly complicated economics of Hollywood to uncover what he calls the studio’s “invisible money machine”—the bizarre financial schemes behind the hits and the flops:

  • Studios harvesting silver from the old film prints
  • Incredibly complicated auctions to sell foreign rights
  • The manipulation of outside investors
  • Filming in bizarre locations to get subsidies and avoid taxes

Along the way to understanding this dizzying world of finance, we also learn much about the star system and what makes Hollywood tick. Why is Arnold Schwarzenegger a contract genius? How much does it cost to insure Nicole Kidman’s knee? Why is Lara Croft: Tomb Raider considered a masterpiece of studio financing? What really gets a movie made?

EDWARD JAY EPSTEIN, who wrote the “Hollywood Economist” column for Slate, is the author of The Big Picture: Money and Power in Hollywood, as well as many other books. He has written for the Wall Street JournalVanity Fair, The New York Times Magazine, and The New Yorker, and he lives in New York City.

His website is edwardjayepstein.com

Gawker excerpts

PRAISE FOR THE HOLLYWOOD ECONOMIST

”Mr Epstein tells some good stories.”—The Economist

”The answer to [the] mysteries of modern-day film financing can be found in The Hollywood Economist, Edward Jay Epstein’s latest foray into the seamy underbelly of Hollywood spreadsheets.”—The Wall Street Journal

”Thanks to Edward Jay Epstein’s brilliant Hollywood Economist 2.0: The Hidden Financial Reality Behind the Movies, we are now in a much better position to understand why—to paraphrase the first sentence above—Hollywood does not fulfill the wants of its audience.”
CounterPunch

PRAISE FOR EDWARD JAY EPSTEIN’S THE BIG PICTURE

”A rich adventure that will change the way you look at movies.”BusinessWeek

”Edward Jay Epstein is here to tell us that when it comes to Hollywood these days, we’ve got it all wrong.”The Washington Post Book World

”One of the virtues of The Big Picture is Mr. Epstein’s astonishing access to numbers that movie studios go to great lengths to keep secret….A groundbreaking work that explains the inner workings of the game.”The Wall Street Journal

”Hollywood has needed one of these for a long time—a user’s manual. This one could not be more complete….[Grade] A.”Entertainment Weekly

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