Sidney Kimmel is alive the Hollywood dream.
As administrator of Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, a Los Angeles-based wholly absolute accounts and assembly company, Kimmel has financed and produced about 40 affection films, including “9 1/2 Weeks,” “Blame It on Rio,” “Breach,” “United 93,” “The Kite Runner,” “The Lincoln Lawyer,” “Moneyball” and “The Abode Beyond the Pines.”
This adventure aboriginal appeared in the April 21, 2014 affair of WWD. Subscribe Today.
While his clue almanac doesn’t absolutely put him in Hollywood mogul status, he’s accepting the time of his life. About one third of his movies accept fabricated money or burst even, and his net account — which Forbes places at $1.3 billion — is none the worse for it.
Here, Kimmel talks about how he got into the cine business, parallels to the appearance industry, his affection for blur and art, why he loves bearing films and his absolute altruistic endeavors, to which he has donated added than $700 million.
WWD: Do you see similarities amid actuality in the cine business and alive a appearance company?
Sidney Kimmel: You’re starting a accumulating bristles times a year with fabrics and colors. [In movies] you’re starting with a adventure abstraction and a calligraphy and you beforehand it like you beforehand a line. [In fashion] you’re consistently bamboozlement to get it right. The cine business is not that way. I abandoned absorb time in developing material. We get locations, we aces our director, we achieve on the shoot, what tax rebates we’re activity to get. Already we go into production, cutting the movie, I actual hardly go out there. That’s the automated part. It’s not altered than my activity into a branch and watching them sew my garments. I get dailies every day. I accept 14 bodies in my office. I alleged a new woman, Carla Hacken [president of assembly at Sidney Kimmel Entertainment]. She developed some acceptable movies in her antecedent life. She did “The Devil Wears Prada” and “Walk the Line.”
WWD: How did you get your alpha in the cine business?
S.K.: I met this babe at a affair one night, Yvette Mimieux. I absolved her home. This is a babe I anticipation I could date. It was 1983. On the way home, she said, “My bedmate would like to accommodated you.” He was a acclaimed director. His name was Stanley Donen. He concluded up sending me the calligraphy [for “Blame It on Rio”]. I apprehend it, and I produced the movie. It was the aboriginal one I anytime did. I relied on Stanley for the best part. Producers, for the best part, will end up putting in the money or acquisition the money. If you accept a acceptable director, he doesn’t charge you added than the money. Some admiral will say, “Butt out and let me do my own thing.” Added admiral will booty administration because they appetite to baby to the boss. It depends.
WWD: What’s been your best acknowledged movie?
S.K.: “9 1/2 Weeks.” I couldn’t accept they came to me with the script. I got to do this cine [in 1984]. Why did everybody pass? They were abashed of it at the time. Women’s victimization. It did abundant in Europe. In 1987, we were hitting a roadblock [at Jones]. I straightened it out, and again in 1991 we went public. I apprehend the script, they told me the budget, what my accident was, and I went ahead. I aloof capital to get my anxiety wet in the cine business. We attack “9 1/2 Weeks” in New York. I formed all day at 1411 Broadway, and again at night, I’d booty off my clothing and put on a sweater and go to see the dailies and watch them shoot night scenes. I admired it. They were cutting some acceptable stuff. I didn’t apprehend “9 1/2 Weeks” would be a above hit. We attack that in 1984, and to this day, I’m still accepting checks. It’s on French television. It starred Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke. We authorization the blur to television. I fabricated a lot of money in it. Probably about $40 amateur over the years.RELATED STORY: In Conversation With Sidney Kimmel: ‘The Quiet Giant’ Tells His Adventure >>
WWD: Are you added absorbed in cogent a acceptable adventure or authoritative a bartering hit?
S.K.: I’m absorbed in aspersing my accident on a per-picture basis. My additional best acknowledged blur was “The Lincoln Lawyer.”
WWD: Does the cine business accelerate you added than fashion?
S.K.: I accept a altered angle today. I adulation the blur business because I’m not appropriate to assignment 10 hours a day. I don’t accept to go into the appointment every day. Aback the acclimate breach and it’s warm, every Tuesday I accept my agents appear out actuality [to Malibu] for a meeting. We serve cafeteria and we talk.
I’m advantageous to accept a additional career, contrarily I would accept gone crazy. I would never accept gone aback into the accoutrement business.
WWD: If you weren’t this wealthy, would this business be too risky? Are you accepting so abundant fun because you accept a banking cushion?
S.K.: I apperceive in beforehand that I’m not activity to accomplish money in the cine business. I apperceive that I’m activity to lose money in the blur business. It’s my golf game. It’s an big-ticket golf game, but I can allow it. As continued as I’m authoritative added money than I’m losing, again I’m happy.
WWD: Is your aggregation accepted for a accurate blazon of movie?
S.K.: I’m told I accept a actual acceptable acceptability for authoritative acceptable movies. I don’t accomplish any crank movies, or bloodthirsty or bleeding movies. Last year, I fabricated “The Abode Beyond the Pines,” with Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper. It did well. I apprehend all day long. I apprehend scripts, I apprehend abomination thrillers, and I apprehend biographies. I aloof apprehend the best absurd book, “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand. Universal best it up and is authoritative a movie. It’s about an Olympic runner, attack bottomward and captivated captive in Japan. I heard that Angelina Jolie is activity to absolute it.
WWD: Do you associate with the Hollywood crowd?
S.K.: I don’t. I didn’t mix and admix with the appearance crowd. I don’t accept to mingle. Some of my aing accompany appear to be singers or composers, Paul Anka, Burt Bacharach and Frankie Valli.
WWD: Accept you anytime had any aspirations to accomplish yourself?
S.K.: Aback I was in the Army, I sang for the Armed Forces Radio Network. I was a ham. I admired to sing. I accomplished my admiration in 2010. Paul Anka offered to aftermath an anthology for me. He took me to Capital Records, area my idols — Frank Sinatra, and guys like that — acclimated to record, and I fabricated an album. I did 14 songs.
WWD: What aggressive your absorption in films?
S.K.: I consistently admired movies. Aback I was a kid, I acclimated to go to the movies and see Tom Mix and the cowboy movies, Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, Clark Gable and Carole Lombard. I anticipate it’s a admirable art and a abundant craft.
WWD: As a producer, do you booty a lot of meetings?
S.K.: While we’re shooting, I watch dailies. We accept a account development affair area four or bristles of us sit about and altercate a script. We all apprehend the aforementioned scripts over the weekend. Monday or Tuesday we accept a affair and adjudge what we liked, what’s account considering. Is there a director? Is anybody attached? That’s the key phrase: “Is anybody absorbed yet?”
WWD: Is the cine business a lot harder than you anticipation it would be?
S.K.: It’s a lot harder to be in profits. There are some statistics out there. I would assumption that about 550 movies are fabricated every year, at the most, 10 to 15 percent accomplish money, 10 to 15 percent breach even, and the blow lose money. Some of them lose big money. In studios, there are guys who get accursed because they absent $65 amateur on one movie.
WWD: Was there annihilation you got complex with that you anticipation would be a huge success and it was a absolute flop?
S.K.: I don’t anticipate annihilation will be a huge success. I will explain what our cerebration is in authoritative our movie. You accept to admeasurement what your accident is. I can accomplish a cine that costs $30 amateur to make, but my accident ability abandoned be $4.5 amateur because I’ve got tax rebates, depending on area you shoot. Each accompaniment has its own tax rebate, and you can get as abundant as 25 to 30 percent of the cine amount for cutting the cine and employing bounded talent. You get all-embracing money. Afore I accomplish any movie, I accord it to my all-embracing sales abettor to read, and he can acquaint me, “I can accompany in $15 amateur [on a $30 million] movie”; the $30 amateur has been bargain by the tax abatement by 20 percent, which comes bottomward to $24 million, and again he gets $15 million, and the antithesis is $9 amateur and that is alleged the gap and that’s what your accident is. If I booty in a partner, I’m risking $4.5 amateur on a $30 amateur film.
WWD: Does it bother you if a cine loses money?
S.K.: Abiding it bothers me — no agent wants to lose money. Maybe one third of my movies fabricated money or bankrupt even.
WWD: What affectionate of movies do you aspire to make? Annihilation you’re dying to do?
S.K.: We’re in assembly appropriate now on a cine alleged “The Age of Adaline,” with Blake Lively and Harrison Ford. We’re cutting it in Vancouver. It may be appear ancient in the fall. Aback November comes around, you’re aggressive with the big covering holders. Movies that studios paid $150 amateur to make. So it may accept to go into the bounce of 2015. And I’m prepping addition cine that we alpha cutting in New York in June alleged “Sleeping With Added People.” It’s a ablaze ball with Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie.
I accept the final say [on the cast] depending on the partners. I sometimes do it alone, and sometimes with a partner. Sometimes a actuality will alarm me, and I will become a partner.
WWD: Are there added honchos from Seventh Avenue who fabricated the about-face to the blur industry?
S.K.: If you appetite to go aback 150 years, Louis B. Mayer was from fashion, Sam Goldwyn was from fashion, and Adolph Zukor. All these guys started out in New York in the appearance business and again apparent talkies. Bob Evans fabricated a brace of movies, and ran Paramount Studios. Max Raab did “A Clockwork Orange.”
WWD: How abounding movies will you do a year?
S.K.: One year I did six, and one year I did none, and I boilerplate two or three a year.
We accept eight or 10 things [we’re alive on at once]. It’s actual difficult, sometimes we’re absorbed in a project, and the aing affair I know, Fox came in and swooped it up and paid a college price. I couldn’t outbid the studios. They’re alive with added people’s money. I’m alive with my own money.
WWD: Are there a lot of bodies like you out actuality in Hollywood?
S.K.: Beneath and beneath because it’s actual adamantine to accomplish a lot of money and be an absolute producer. I charge the studios to administer my movies. It’s a difficult balance. You charge to bazaar a film, contrarily it gets lost. It’s absolutely a claiming to be assisting in the blur business aback you accede that 60 to 70 percent of the movies that are fabricated in America don’t compensate their investment. You attending for one acceptable one that will awning the losses on two or three others.
I’ll do a cine for $5 amateur or I’ll do a cine for $40 million. It depends what the bottom-line accident is. How abundant I get international, how abundant I get out of tax rebates. Sometimes if you accept a actual acceptable script, you can get an amateur to comedy for about nothing. Matthew McConaughey did “Dallas Buyers Club” that amount $5 million, because he was accommodating to assignment for scale. Now he can command whatever he wants on the aing movie.
WWD: Is Sidney Kimmel Entertainment profitable?
S.K.: No, it’s not profitable, but I accept a blur library. Eventually it will get sold, so it will compensate a acceptable allotment of what I’ve invested. We accept a library of old movies. Movies accept advancing amount because of TV about the world.
WWD: Which cine do you adulation the best of what you’ve done?
S.K.: I’d accept to say “9 1/2 Weeks,” because it was such a abundant experience. “The Lincoln Lawyer” and “The Abode Beyond the Pines” are two that I’m absolutely appreciative of.
WWD: I consistently got the consequence that Ralph Lauren capital to be in the cine business.
S.K.: Last time I saw Ralph we went to the Barbra Streisand concert in the Barclays Centermost in Brooklyn. He consistently asks me, “How’s the cine business?” I say, “Stick to your day job.”
WWD: Acquaint me about your advance in the Miami Heat.
S.K.: I own a allotment of the Miami Heat. At the time aback I capital to advertise my interest, I acclimated to alive in Palm Beach with my wife. Aback we confused out of Florida and came actuality I didn’t go to the amateur anymore. I capital to advertise my absorption in the Heat. Aboriginal Calvin [Klein] capital to buy it. Again he backed out. Again Alex Rodriguez capital to buy it. I acclimated to accord him a brace of my seats to watch the game. The Heat has won two civic championships in a row. It doesn’t accomplish money. They spent a affluence architecture a new stadium, and they absorb a affluence on the players. Already I was cerebration of affairs the Sixers. Aback I saw this contract, I saw that if I buy this aggregation I’d accept to accord Allen Iverson a $35 amateur contract, I’m activity to pass.
WWD: Do either Caroline or you accept children?
S.K.: Neither one of us has kids. She afflicted my life. With Caroline, we haven’t had a day of accent in 15 years. I met her at a black-tie event. I was with Rena [Rowan] and she was with a brace of girlfriends. [Later] I was sitting in the appointment of Ronald Perelman and he’s consistently talking about girls [and I asked him], “Do you apperceive a babe alleged Caroline Tose?” He gave me Caroline’s number. She had aloof gotten afar and was alive in New York. I alleged her up for a date. I asked, “Why don’t we accept banquet one night?” She said, “How about tonight?” and I knew she was the babe for me. Except for one night, we’ve never been afar in 15 years.
WWD: Who accept been your admired admiral to assignment with?
S.K.: I’ve had several acceptable ones. Stanley Donen did “Blame It on Rio,” Adrian Lyne did “9 1/2 Weeks,” Marc Forster did “The Kite Runner,” Paul Greengrass did “United 93.”
WWD: Would you accede bearing TV shows?
S.K.: We’re accepting into TV now. We aloof optioned a accurate adventure that happened in Philadelphia. Two adolescent Jewish girls alive as reporters. They wrote a book, “Busted,” which is about badge bribery in Philadelphia. It would be a series. [As far as TV,] it’s beneath risky, and if you hit one you can accomplish a lot of money.
RELATED STORY: In Conversation With Sidney Kimmel: ‘The Quiet Giant’ Tells His Adventure >>
WWD: Why did you focus on blight charities and assuming arts?
S.K.: My aing acquaintance absent a daughter. She was 24 years old. He ran about the country attractive for hope, and he concluded up in San Diego at a little dispensary there area they anticipation they had beginning things that could possibly work. I acquainted so bad for him. I gave the dispensary initially $5 amateur to jump-start that thing. She eventually died. He told me a adventure that Harry Connick visited her in the hospital and she remembered it because he was a admired of hers. It aloof accountable me to do article with blight research. I knew that eventually the two above thrusts of my alms were activity to be blight and cardiac.
WWD: I accept you’re the better alone donor to blight research?
S.K.: I’ve been told that I’m the country’s better alone donor to blight research. I’m abiding that somebody will top me someday. I’d like to see Bill Gates or Warren Buffett address a analysis for $6 billion.
WWD: Do you anticipate they are aing to accolade a cure for cancer?
S.K.: I don’t anticipate there will anytime be a cure. Hopefully one day it will become a controllable abiding disease. They’ve fabricated assertive advances and strides. They’ve done admirable things.
WWD: How abundant money accept you accustomed to alms so far?
S.K.: All told, I’ve accustomed $700 amateur and there will be more. Aback I canyon away, all that money goes to charity. Except what I leave for my wife.
WWD: Why did you adjudge to accord to the assuming arts in Philadelphia?
S.K.: I’m a Philadelphian, and Ed Rendell, who was again mayor, is a aing acquaintance of mine. I went to him and asked him what I could do for Philadelphia. He said they’re planning article on Broad Street and they appetite to accomplish it a above avenue for the arts. And that’s aback we came up with the abstraction of architecture a above art center, the Kimmel Center. The Philadelphia Orra is there. The Kimmel Centermost controls the Academy of Music and the Merriam Theater. Our new architecture has abundant acoustics. They accept all kinds of things. Jerry Blavat, a bounded disc jockey, does the doo-wop shows there. I congenital it from the arena up. I’ve accustomed about $72 amateur to the Kimmel Center. It’s mostly symphonic music, Elton John, Paul Anka. I’m aggravating to get Burt Bacharach. He’s advancing over for banquet tomorrow night. He’s one of my admired guys.
WWD: Accept you fabricated any accommodating contributions in California?
S.K.: UCLA gave me a abstracted accolade a few years ago, but that was an attack to get me to address a big check. Out here, alike in New York, I’m a Johnny-come-lately. Whatever I do out actuality is activity to go unnoticed. Philadelphia is my place. I was built-in there, that’s area I’m activity to die, or at atomic get alive there. I accomplish added of an impact. I still feel I owe article to Philadelphia. I went to accessible schools there, and I didn’t do badly.
WWD: Do you accounts scientists?
S.K.: What I absolutely adore accepting complex in is the Kimmel Scholars Program. I’m abiding my wife will abide with it continued afterwards I’m gone. We get about 180 applications a year from acceptance who appetite to go into their aboriginal labs, postdocs. We aces 15 of the best able submissions and we accord them $200,000. It costs me about $4 amateur a year. They appear to me, we accept a banquet and they are alive doctors. I’m giving the acceptance a jump-start. They accept no money and they charge to buy equipment. I accord them $100,000 a year for two years. I’ve been accomplishing it for 17 years. We accept about 270 doctors. The advance academician surgeon at UCLA is a woman alleged Linda Liau; she was one of the aboriginal recipients of the Kimmel Centermost grants. She adored my friend’s life.
WWD: Do you get a lot of bodies soliciting donations?
S.K.: Every actuality who is accepted to be accommodating gets letters. Everybody is asking. I get belletrist from bodies in jail. There are some bodies who don’t accord a penny and accord it all to their kids. I’m not a backer of affiliated wealth.
THE MALIBU LIFESTYLE
WWD: Acquaint me about your lifestyle.
S.K.: I adulation this house. I’m in this abode eight years. I absitively to buy it aural bristles minutes. It took addition brace weeks to negotiate. I said to my lawyer, “Tell Johnny Carson’s widow: Please can you leave the pictures and I’ll pay you for them?” It was 25 years of his guests on “The Tonight Show.” She wouldn’t leave them. My wife busy this house. She could accept been a abundant stylist.
Out actuality you don’t get dressed [up]. She got me complex in the gym. I do cardio and I do weights. I accept a trainer. We’re alive the acceptable activity here. I can allow it and why not? I acclimated to comedy schoolyard basketball until I was 50, but gave it up. I played tennis, but too adamantine on the knees.
She [Caroline] can cook, but we accept a chef here. I like banquet for eight, banquet for four. I like affectionate banquet parties. I don’t get to accommodated [the stars]. I don’t go on the set. I accommodated their agents. I knew Kim Basinger. I apperceive Mickey Rourke; I apperceive Michael Caine actual well. I’ve done two or three movies with Michael. He has a admirable wife, Shakira.
WWD: Are you digitally savvy?
S.K.: I don’t do e-mail to this day. I accept a secretary who does e-mail, and I accept a wife who does e-mail. I don’t alike backpack a corpuscle phone. I acclimated to backpack one, but it was too cumbersome. I like the acreage line. I’m consistently with Caroline or my driver.
WWD: Do you biking to Europe frequently?
S.K.: The abandoned abode I absolutely adore activity is Paris. I go already a year. I accept my own plane. I don’t like to biking as abundant as I acclimated to. You get a little bit conceited aback you accept a abode like this. We’ll do weekends in Vegas. It’s 50 account abroad by plane. We aloof came aback from Aspen for 10 days. My wife is a abundant skier.
WWD: What blazon of artwork do you like to collect?
S.K.: I aggregate acceptable stuff. I don’t buy bargain art. I’d rather buy one acceptable allotment than bristles little pieces aloof to adhere on the wall. I acclimated to be an alive collector. I don’t accept abundant bank space. It’s all glass. There are two Picassos, there’s a Giacometti sculpture, I accept a Henry Moore sculpture. The Man Ray artwork is blind up here. I like Impressionist, Matisse, Picasso, I adulation Giacometti. Aback you aboriginal appear in the driveway, there’s a Rodin of three men. Best of the art I bought afore I met Caroline. We accept some pieces actuality awash in May in Christie’s in New York. It came out of the accommodation in Beverly Hills. I’m affairs a Léger. I accept a New York home on Central Park South. If it wasn’t for the acclimate I’d absorb added time in New York. We acclimated to go to the South of France alert a year. I attending aback actuality [on the beach property], and it’s the South of France to me.
RELATED STORY: In Conversation With Sidney Kimmel: ‘The Quiet Giant’ Tells His Adventure >>
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