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In The Hollywood Economist, veteran investigative reporter Edward Jay Epstein goes undercover to find the answer to a puzzling question: Why is it that even the biggest grossing new movies, raking in millions at the box office, rarely break even during their theatrical release? How does Hollywood make money?
Epstein penetrates the dazzlingly complicated economics of Hollywood to uncover what he calls the studios’ “invisible money machine”--the bizarre financial schemes behind the hits and the flops:
•Studios harvesting the silver from old film prints.
•Incredibly complicated auctions to sell foreign rights.
•The manipulation of outside investors.
•Filming in bizarre locations to get subsidies and avoid taxes.
Along the way to understanding this dizzying world of finance, we also learn much about the star system and what makes Hollywood tick. Why is Arnold Schwarzenegger a contract genius? How much does it cost to insure Nicole Kidman’s knee? Why is Laura Croft: Tomb Raider considered a masterpiece of studio financing? What really gets a movie made?