Monday, May 04, 2009
In Theaters Everywhere! Now!
Dante's Flaming Inferno is a popular baroquishly ornate cocktail lounge located off the main track in Vatican City. It's quiet now in the early afternoon, the only action is a few off duty Swiss Guards hanging out at the bar trying to pick each other up but in the smoke filled rear booth, over the third round of extra dry martinis, the action is getting pretty heavy.
Monsignor Whitefang and Cardinal Blacktooth, the Vaticans ace media sharks are deep in negotiations with Leonard Plumkin and his legal assistant, Cassandra Philbert who represent Columbia Pictures and specifically, the legal end of Ron Howards new film, the adaptation of Dan Browns novel, Angels and Demons.
Cardinal Blacktooth is jabbing his Montecristo in the air emphatically, "Not a point less than 15%! Go ahead, release the film and we'll ignore it and we'll laugh at the box office numbers as they go straight to hell!" He laughs at his own little joke.
The Monsignor adds, with an ironically twisted grin, "I'd like to see what would happen if we kind of had Benny endorse the film! We don't want to play hardball, but you have to realize who you are dealing with here. Benny doesn't mess around. I'm sure you've heard about his background...."
Leonard smiles soothingly and gulps his martini and stalls and calls over the waiter for another. Cassandra, curtly says, "Gentlemen, I'm sure we can come to an agreement that is satisfactory to all parties here. The potential earnings of this film guarantee something for everyone! Lenny and I have drafted an agreement here that you might find very interesting."
Lenny fumbles in a folder and produces a sheath of documents.
"Uhh, yes" he unctuously sighs, "We understand the importance of Pope Benedicts concerns here and we have come up with an entire line of marketing tie ins. Of course, we will have to market them correctly and they will be worth nothing if we can't get the agreement. The earning potential is infinite! You know what I mean?"
Cassandra continues, "We have the flavored communion wafer dispensers with the Angels and Demons logo ready to go. Do we want to go with crispy nacho flavor or the sweet-tarts? It's up to you.
The Angel and Demon holy water purse size personal atomizers could be really big this summer! This is just the tip of the iceberg, but you understand, we have to start producing this stuff now!"
Leonard stares at Cardinal Blacktooth with his famous deal closing intense mind melting grin, "Cardinal, you got your 15%. We can negotiate the merchandising rights and have our teams work together on further creative marketing, but we have to have the Holy Father's signature on this document in the next 12 hours!"
The Cardinal and the Monsignor are grinning conspiratorially. They are already figuring out how to take a cut off the top.
Cardinal Blacktooth beams and says, "Lennie, Cassandra, you drove a hard bargain, but as of today, you can tell the world that this movie has been officially condemmed by the Catholic Church!"
Leonard grinned effusively and queries, "Perhaps if we could work something like a Fatwah" You know like the Rushdie thing...when the mullahs proclaimed the fatwah, The Satanic Verses went through the roof! I mean who was Rushdie before the Fatwah? A nebbish, nothing, zilch!"
Monsignor Whitefang gleamed and said, "Well, Lenny, The catholic church doesn't do Fatwahs, that's a ...uuhhh...moslem thing, but" suddenly brightening with an idea, "We did have the Inquisition! Perhaps, something could be arranged...we'll get our guys working on it!!"
Cardinal Blacktooth orders another round of martinis all around and they all stand and toast, "THIS MOVIE HAS BEEN CONDEMNED BY THE CATHOLIC CHURCH! WE HAVE A DEAL!"