MEMO TO: Michael Jordan
FROM: Peter Bart
NOW THAT YOU HAVE established yourself as Hollywood’s newest superstar, I thought it might be appropriate to review some of the ramifications of this lofty status. You see, Michael, your formidable success in “Space Jam” has shaken up not only the studios, but also your fellow movie stars and their handlers. Why the shock waves? For one thing, “Space Jam” has accomplished the unthinkable an animation hit that actually does not carry the Disney label. Apart from that, your personal deal on the film, encompassing a 10% stake in the merchandising, has startled the town. “Space Jam ,” after all, isn’t so much a movie as it is a merchandise mart. There areat least 200 “Space Jam” spinoff items out there, and at least 78 bearing your imprimatur, ranging from shower curtains to temporary tattoos to cake decorations. Indeed, your total take from “Space Jam” conceivably could reach $ 100 million quite a score for a first-time star. In Hollywood, as in the sports world, Michael, money translates into macho. Hence, you’ve got a whole bunch of ego-driven actors out there who find your fiscal achievements downright threatening. Let’s face it, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 10% of the gross in “Jingle All the Way” pales in comparison to your “Space Jam” take, and that means his agents and managers will be sweating a lot more than you do during a Chicago Bulls game. Which brings me to my first recommendation: I think it would be appropriate were you to hold a little seminar for your fellow superstars to instruct them not only in dealmaking, but also in the other accouterments of stardom. The truth of the matter is that your press relations are superior to those of most stars, your interviews more interesting, your demeanor more impressive. You’ve got charisma, Michael, and you don’t even have to smack photographers around or look sullen like Brad Pitt. You could also shed some light on what to do with all that money. In this era of megastars, a number of players in Hollywood fret about their investments, but their largesse is dwarfed by yours. The way I figure it, you should be able to cover your household expenses and the drinks you buy reporters with your basic pay of $ 30 million from the Bulls. Add to that another $ 50 million you make from random endorsements. Then comes the money from “Space Jam.” All told, there’s no way you could make less than a tidy $ 100 million to $ 150 million this year alone, which is pretty good for a 34-year-old guy who only a couple of years ago had resigned himself to minor league baseball.
JUDGING FROM YOUR CHEERFUL demeanor and your extraordinary focus on the basketball court, you seem to handle all this very casually, Michael. One can only imagine what meetings with your investment advisers and David Falk, your manager, must sound like.
FALK: Now, Michael, we want to diversify your holdings by adding a little more real estate. We were thinking about acquiring a ranch in Montana adjacent to Ted Turner’s million acres
MICHAEL JORDAN: Yes on the real estate, no on Montana. I don’t like shooting game. Bad for the image.
FALK: Good point. Perhaps we could consider constructing a new casino on Paradise Island.
MICHAEL JORDAN: I was thinking of Maui. I would like to buy Maui.
FALK: Good thinking, Michael. We’ll examine that. Moving on, we think your stock portfolio is a little lean. Since Warners has done well by you on “Space Jam,” it would be politically correct to pick up, say, a hundred thousand shares of Time Warner.
MICHAEL JORDAN: DreamWorks.
MICHAEL JORDAN: I want to buy DreamWorks. I met that Spielberg dude at a game. I think he’d be a loyal employee. I could even help him with the animation stuff.
FALK: We’ll look into that, but frankly the music business represents a sounder investment. Margins are four times higher than in movies. Michael Jackson did very well buying the Beatles library.
MICHAEL JORDAN: I don’t want libraries, I want Beatles. Let’s buy them. There are only three of them left.
FALK: Well, uh, McCartney may be a bit pricey, but anything’s possible.
MICHAEL JORDAN: Aim high and life’s a slam dunk. That’s always been my motto. That’s why marketing surveys show I am the best known American in the entire world. To which I, too, say, “Good thinking, Michael.” If you could spread the gospel according to Michael, it would really help morale in Hollywood. Meanwhile, good luck with your next hundred million.