New Fraud Futures Market: “Insurance or betting against Hollywood Movie Flops”

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.




Matt Barnes & “Basketball Wife” Gloria Govan Are DONE

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….

:: JR§

Kid Cudi x Complex Magazine Cover

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.”

How so?
“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.”


:: JR§

50 Cent Celebrated Launch of ‘Street King’ :: Goal To Serve Over 1 Billion Meals

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.


:: JR§

Justin Timberlake Covers Esquire October 2011

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.

:: JR§