Thursday, March 29, 2007 03/28/07-How to Pick a Hit

In today's encore excerpt, Oscar winning screenwriter Bill Goldman reveals how hits are picked:

"...did you know that Raiders of the Lost Ark was offered to every single studio in town--and they all turned it down?

"All except Paramount.

"Why did Paramount say yes? Because nobody knows anything. And why did the other studios say no? Because nobody knows anything. And why did Universal, the mightiest studio of all, pass on Star Wars, a decision that may just cost them...over a billion dollars? Because nobody, nobody--not now not ever--knows the least g*dd*m thing about what is or isn't going to work at the box office. ...

"David Picker, a fine studio executive for many years, once said something to this effect: 'If I had said yes to all the projects that I turned down, and no to all the ones I took, it would have worked out about the same.' "

William Goldman, Adventures in the Screen Trade, Warner Books, 1983, pp. 40-1.


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