Gross: The Hits, the Flops...the Summer That Ate Hollywood

Gross: The Hits, the Flops...the Summer That Ate Hollywood

by Peter Bart

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A genuine behind-the-scenes look into the new Hollywood by an insider. Bart puts the spotlight on the summer season of 1998, taking the reader through the entire cycle of would-be summer blockbusters.


A genuine behind-the-scenes look into the new Hollywood by an insider. Bart puts the spotlight on the summer season of 1998, taking the reader through the entire cycle of would-be summer blockbusters.

Editorial Reviews
In The Gross: The Hits, the Flops -- the Summer That Ate Hollywood, Peter Bart, editor-in-chief of Variety and a former movie executive, takes readers on a behind-the-scenes tour of the back lots and bottom lines that drive Hollywood. Focusing on a single summer season of blockbusters, he explores which films were hits and why, and how an atypical summer release like Saving Private Ryan succeeded while warm-weather fare like Godzilla was a relative failure. At once insightful and entertaining, The Gross will appeal to anyone interested in how the movie industry works.
Michael Sragow
...[O]ffers shrewd analyses of an industry on the verge of nervous collapse....probably the best guide around to "the way things are in the 90s" object lesson about an an insidious corporate culture. —The New York Times Book Review
New York Magazine
Bart's columns are very smart, very well written, and very quotable.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In 1969, William Goldman penned The Season, the quintessential insider's guide to the triumphs and failures of one Broadway season — but no author has since managed to do the same for Hollywood. Who better to attempt it than Bart, a former studio executive at Paramount, MGM/UA and Lorimar and currently editor-in-chief of Variety? Here Bart offers a savvy, gossipy, nuts-and-bolts look at the corporate machinations behind the summer films of 1998, a season of extravagant hype, box-office records and corporate disquiet that spotlighted what he calls the "dysfunctional economics of the movie industry." He divides his book into three sections: Genesis, a rundown of executives at the major studios and an outline of 11 hotly anticipated summer pictures, Armageddon to The X-Files; The Reckoning, a week-by-week listing of box office grosses for the 18 weeks of the summer season; and The Fallout, an assessment of why executives have grown increasingly wary of taking risks in a market dominated by blockbusters. Recounting how each film was put together and sold to the public, he relates chilling anecdotes of studio interference and moneymen making artistic decisions. As Bart shows little interest in the quality of these films, however, his book seems written primarily for the executives pulling the strings (for instance, the box office failure of Godzilla is largely attributed to a backlash against the mega-prerelease hype and rushed release date rather than the generic substance of the film). Whether or not the summer of 1998 marked a major turning point for Hollywood is debatable, but Bart has that rare bird's-eye view of the business that allows him to discern, even in this one fairly random crop of movies, the economic forces shaping American cinema.
Library Journal
In lively and instructive fashion, Variety's editor-in-chief examines a moviegoing season that seems like yesterday--because it was. Via interviews with actors, directors, studio executives, producers, and writers, Bart traces the genesis, development, and marketing of, in particular, The Truman Show, Armageddon, Bulworth, Godzilla, There's Something About Mary, Lethal Weapon IV, The Mask of Zorro, Small Soldiers, Deep Impact, Saving Private Ryan, and Six Days, Seven Nights. We witness the success or failure of these and other films during 18 summer weeks and learn how special effects, star salaries, cooperative ventures, and merchandising deals compromise studio profits. Cinema students as well as casual moviegoers will question some of Bart's conclusions--special effects movies are not a "distinct genre," and Anthony Hopkins and Antonio Banderas are major stars--and occasionally facts are wrong (e.g., Splendor in the Grass was released in 1961, not 1966). These caveats aside, The Gross is a fascinating inside look at filmmaking that leaves one wondering how anything cohesive is ever projected on the big screen. For public and academic libraries and performing arts collections.--Kim Holston, American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters, Malvern, PA
Steve Daly
[Bart has] a remarkably plugged-in perspective....[with an] insider's ability to get major players to diagram their game plans fairly honestly and, more deliciously, to trash one another in semi-anonymous remarks....[T]ime and again, he'll snap you awake with trenchant quotes from just the sort of bigwigs you want to hear second-guessing their own strategies. Entertainment Weekly
For the better part of 20 years, he roamed the corridors of power at Paramount, Lorimar, and MGM, green-lighting the big pictures as a bona fide and influential member of 'The Club.'...Peter Bart emerges as part muckraker, part mogul, a Hollywood player with a reservoir of insider knowledge.
Bart has turned Variety from a repository of dull facts into a hard-hitting investigative sheet.

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.55(h) x 1.09(d)

What People are saying about this

Liz Smith
Peter Bart knows whereof he writes...A former reporter for both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, he has been revitalizing that 'Bible' of showbiz, Variety.

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