Like it or not, Hollywood is going to have to deal with Howard Stern. The Betty Thomas-directed Rysher/Paramount pic “Private Parts” had its Gotham premiere at the Paramount Theater on Thursday, and it was easily the city’s largest since “The Lion King” preemed in Central Park in 1994.
Aside from the 9,000 who watched two screenings, West 31st Street was lined with bleachers filled with an estimated 40,000-plus Stern listeners who didn’t even get to see the film.
The diversity of Stern’s following was evident in a VIP party, where suits, celebs and Stern curiosities mixed in what could only be likened to the barroom scene in “Star Wars.” Par execs Jonathan Dolgen, Arthur Cohen and Sherry Lansing mingled among the corpse-look-alike members of heavy metal band Marilyn Manson, tall and tarted-up transvestites, chrome-domed Smashing Pumpkins lead singer Billy Corgan, Donald Trump, Henny Youngman, Eddie Murphy, Joey Buttafuoco, porn stars and even former pint-sized Spam pitchboy Mason Reese.
His pic’s expected to single-handedly revive the sagging fortunes of its financier, Rysher Entertainment, which is now getting competitive bids from UIP and Columbia over prime foreign territories. This, even though Stern’s radio show has no overseas penetration.
“I feel like I missed the lottery by one number,” said JF Lawton, the “Pretty Woman” scribe whose “The Adventures of Fartman” was once expected to be Stern’s film debut. “Fartman” went pffft at New Line in a dispute over merchandising. “I’ve been telling studio executives for years he could be a movie star and they’d say, ‘Yeah, maybe we should consider him,’ ” Lawton said. “Now I’m getting all kinds of calls from people desperate for ‘Fartman,’ but I fear Howard may be beyond that now.”
Stern as Scarecrow?
Stern is being talked up for other pic roles. There was even a rumor he was in contention to play the villainous Scarecrow in the next “Batman.” Warner Bros. labeled that “100% false.” But it will be interesting to see what kind of offers Stern scares up if his movie breaks $100 million domestically, which Paramount insiders are now guardedly predicting.
“Parts” producer Ivan Reitman, who has mentored Stern’s film career for six years, said “We’ll probably do something together again. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished, and the question is, ‘what next?’ … We’ll see how the film opens, how it plays in cities he doesn’t broadcast in and how it does foreign. It’ll be easier to decide at that point.”
Rysher CEO Keith Samples said Stern’s a free agent on his next pic, “and that we’ll be in line with everybody else trying to get him.”