Entertainers with uncertain futures
Francis Ford Coppola
After 10 years of spectacular flops and mild successes, The Godfather Part III is his chance to write a new chapter to his best work, and his career. If it stinks, even his most ardent fans may not forgive him.
Vin Di Bona
He created two of 1990’s biggest TV hits, America’s Funniest Home Videos and America’s Funniest People. The problem: They don’t get no respect. Is he prime-time’s shrewdest entrepreneur, or just the new Allen Funt?
Peter Guber and Jon Peters
It cost Sony three-quarters of a billion dollars to lure these producers-turned-studio chiefs to Columbia; their 1991 releases (ready for Return to the Blue Lagoon?) should begin to determine whether Sony got its money’s worth.
After years as Brandon Tartikoff’s No. 2 man at NBC, Littlefield was finally named programming chief this summer. Whether he has his mentor’s deft touch will become clearer next year, as will his degree of autonomy, since Tartikoff is still very much a presence at NBC.
As the force behind the Star Wars and Indiana Jones trilogies, he can do whatever he wants, so why doesn’t he get back to work? An all-black production about WWII’s Tuskegee Airmen, Red Tails, may return him to the spotlight next year.
He commands an eight-figure salary for movies and has a TV production deal, but Another 48 HRS. was a disappointment, and a sequel to Harlem Nights isn’t exactly in high demand.
He’s launched one spectacularly good idea (MTV) and one spectacularly bad idea (The Morton Downey Jr. Show). Now, as president of Time Warner Enterprises, he’ll soon offer gavel-to-gavel trial coverage on the American Lawyer cable network. The jury’s still out.
Until 1989, the director-producer ran the production house Morgan Creek (Young Guns, Major League). Now, as head of 20th Century Fox films, he’ll approve up to 25 movies a year. The latest, Steven Seagal’s Marked for Death, opened strongly.
Called ”the Gaddafi of publishing” for his hard-ball tactics (he commandeers an elevator, and rides alone), the Simon & Schuster CEO is stumbling through the expansion of America’s largest publishing house — and facing interference from parent company Paramount.
He made $63 million in the past two years, but at 44, the box-office champ is getting too old to strap on machine guns or boxing gloves. Rocky V: The Final Bell is just weeks away — will it mark a graceful exit from the ring and into more human-scaled roles?
The MCA chairman is no longer Hollywood’s unofficial behind- the-scenes power broker. But far from surrendering his post at the entertainment conglomerate, he’s trying to bring off the deal of his lifetime: the sale of MCA to Matsushita Electric Industrial Company for an estimated $7 billion.