Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Company Town | REPORT FROM CANNES

Nude Bathing, Oui; a 40-Foot Howard Stern, Non

May 14, 1997|MARK SAYLOR | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Howard Stern has an uphill battle selling his movie "Private Parts" to foreign audiences. The radio talk-show performer, best-selling author and self-proclaimed "King of All Media" is scarcely known outside the United States. But Stern and Rysher Entertainment, which produced the movie, have had some early success here by both usual and unusual methods.

The usual, and predictable, was to surround Stern with bare-breasted women at his Cannes introduction Monday. The less-than-usual occurred Sunday when Rysher inflated a 40-foot Stern balloon on a barge near the shore.

The balloon somewhat resembles the movie poster, which shows a giant Stern standing naked in New York City behind a jutting Empire State Building. This apparently was regarded as an affront to French dignity on the day that President Jacques Chirac was making a visit. (Why Stern's balloon was more offensive than the hundreds of blood-and-gore movie posters lining the Croisette is unclear.)

In any case, French security officers sped to the barge and--armed with automatic weapons--threatened to shoot the balloon. Rysher deflated it, then reinflated it after Chirac had left town.

One public relations expert noted that having the French puncture Stern's balloon with gunfire would have had vast promotional value--not to mention being just the kind of thing Stern would love.

Rysher desperately needs "Private Parts" to succeed overseas. The company took a huge dive in the movie business last year when it produced 10 films in what Chairman Keith Samples now wryly calls a "suicide mission."

Samples says it is a "total fabrication" that the movie venture lost parent company Cox Communications more than $100 million. He said the numbers aren't certain yet because revenue is still coming in on many of the films.

*

Sony Didn't Understand: Samsung Electronics Co., known primarily as an electronics and manufacturing company, said this week that it intends to become one of the top entertainment companies in the world and entered the international marketplace here for the first time as a seller of movies.

Meeting with international film distributors at a lunch at the Hotel Gray d'Albion on Monday, Wan Choi, president of the film division of Samsung, said the company would start selling both Korean and other movies.

Contrasting the approach taken by Sony Corp., the Japanese electronics conglomerate that bought an American studio in 1989 and has lost billions of dollars, Choi said in an interview that Sony "did not understand Hollywood. . . . They did not know the [Japanese entertainment] market."

*

Cyber Cannes: A San Francisco company, ITV.net, is cybercasting live and recorded video from Cannes. The Web site is http://www.itv.net

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|