Hollywood uber-producer Jerry Bruckheimer is famous for his almost uncanny ability to recognize a potential hit movie.
Once described as “the man with the golden gut,” Bruckheimer’s movies have earned more than $15 billion in box office, fueled by a potent mix of fast-moving action, big bangs and even bigger stars. Over the span of almost four decades, Tinseltown’s reigning king of action has credits including, 1980s classics “Top Gun” and “Flashdance,” high-octane action movies “The Rock” and “Con Air” in the 1990s, and most-famously the wildly successful “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise starring Johnny Depp. That “Confessions of a Shopaholic,” Bruckheimer’s latest movie, which stars Isla Fisher, has absolutely no explosions, not a car chase in sight and includes gratuitous references shopping and designer high heels should signal to everyone that chick flicks have well and truly arrived. “The Screening Room” caught up with Bruckheimer to ask him about the growing power of the female cinema audience, taking risks and his ability to spot movie gold. TSR: You’re thought of as the Hollywood action king. Do you think the fact that you’re moving into chick flicks with “Confessions of a Shopaholic” is a sign that Hollywood is taking the female audience more seriously Jerry Bruckheimer: I think we’ve always taken the female audience very seriously, but with the success of “Sex and the City” and a number of other movies … we know that there’s a big female audience out there, we just need to figure out the films that they really want to go see. Which is hard, you don’t really know. Hopefully, they’d want to go and see “Confessions of a Shopaholic.” TSR: How do you know that a film is going to be a hit With films like, “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Top Gun” you resurrected genres that were dead. Is it instinct or experience JB: I think it’s just films that I really want to go and see. I really don’t know what’s going to make a picture successful. I know what a good drama is, and what good characters are, and that you should populate your film with good characters. It’s all about what audiences will be captivated by. I really don’t know. I just know what I like.
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TSR: You’re one of the most successful producers in Hollywood. What does it take to be a great producer JB: I love movies and I love making movies. It’s not about the money, it’s about can you make a good film can you entertain an audience and do you have good taste in casting and are you a good storyteller It’s all about story-telling. The better the story, the more popular the characters, the bigger your chance is of having a successful film. TSR: And how about taking risks Do you need to take risks JB: Well, I do take enormous risks. Making a pirate movie and movies like “Top Gun,” and “Beverly Hills Cop” with African-American actors in it when that wasn’t in vogue. You know, I do it everyday. TSR: How does it affect you JB: When they are a success, it makes you feel good. But not all films can be successes, so you’ve to roll with the punches and just get back up and start all over again. TSR: How has the current economic crisis affected your work JB: Well, it affects everybody. You know, budgets are tighter and stocks are down a lot for companies. But box-office fortunately for the movie business has been up. Advertisers aren’t spending as much on TV, which is not good for television products, but movies are still cheap entertainment. When people can’t go away and take vacations, they always can spend a few bucks and go to a movie. TSR: Remakes of 1980s films seem to be becoming more popular — especially horror remakes. Any thoughts on remaking some of your old films from that era like, maybe, “Top Gun” JB: Not yet, but you never know. I mean “Top Gun” was one that was a one-off it’s hard to remake that or make it a different way. TSR: Do you think long-form TV, shows like “The Sopranos” or “The Wire” with hour-long episodes and high production values have stolen audiences from the movies JB: Not at all. I think people still want to get out of their house. I mean you have a kitchen in your house I assume and you do go out to eat, right It’s the same thing. We have TVs in our homes and we watch television and we go on computers and if there’s something we want to see [at the movies] we are still going to go out because it’s an experience. TSR: And finally, I have to ask you, are there any plans with Johnny Depp to make another “Pirates of the Caribbean” JB: Yeah, we are talking about making another one. We have Johnny certainly interested and we have him interested in another one of our projects called “The Lone Ranger” so that’s two films that we hope to make with him.