LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES
Interview with Jerry Bruckheimer
Aired July 10, 2003 - 20:55 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: The most successful producer in film history, that's what "Time" magazine called Jerry Bruckheimer. Seventeen of 20 movies he produced, hits such as "Top Gun" have each earned more than $100 million at the box office worldwide. His latest film, "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl," is now in theaters. Not only a likely box office hit it's getting some pretty good reviews. And what's more Bruckheimer is no longer content with blockbusters on the silver screen. He's brought his Midas touch to the small screen with TV hit such as, "CSI" and "The Amazing Race."
I am joined now by Jerry Bruckheimer, congratulations.
JERRY BRUCKHEIMER, PRODUCER: Thank you, it's a pleasure to be here.
ZAHN: When critics look at your work, they talk about the extraordinary financial success your movies have had. But they always talk about your having gone lowbrow, and finding the pulse of middle America.
When you hear that, aren't you offended?
BRUCKHEIMER: Yes, you know, I don't think the American public can be considered lowbrow.
ZAHN: Well that's why I'm curious.
BRUCKHEIMER: There -- They buy the tickets and that's why we make movies, for them. If I made movies just for critics, I'd think I'd be out of business. But look we make huge hit movies. "Pirates of the Caribbean," had an enormous opening last night. We did close to $14 million opening Wednesday night. We have "Bad Boys" coming out next weekend. And we have a wonderful movie with Cate Blanchett, called "Veronica Guerin" coming out in the fall. So, I'm doing fine.
ZAHN: I know what everybody's trying to figure out your formula. And maybe there is no formula.
But what is it?
Is there a common thread to all these movies you produced in what it is you're trying to tap in the American public?
BRUCKHEIMER: You know, Like individuals will make a difference. Like this woman, "Veronica Guerin." I like great movies, "Pirates of the Caribbean," which just take you away and take you on a ride. I say we in the transportation business. We try to transport you to other places, and other times and give you a thrill ride. That's the key to our success. Take you on a great ride.
ZAHN: In spite of the enormous success you've had, when a new movie comes out, do you get butterflies?
Are you worried about its performance?
BRUCKHEIMER: Always. I'm worried about what "Pirates," is going to do tonight. I am worried about "Bad Boys," next weekend. I am worried about all the pictures we do. I worry our television. Are the ratings going to be good tomorrow night or tonight.
ZAHN: So, you can never relax?
BRUCKHEIMER: I relax occasionally. I have this wonderful farm in Kentucky I go to. And I play hockey twice a week. So, that is my relaxation.
ZAHN: You can get your frustration out on the ice and very effectively.
BRUCKHEIMER: That's right.
ZAHN: Well us a little bit about what we've learned about sequels. This is the summer of the sequels. There's -- you know, media critics who suggest that's the sure-fire formula. People have gotten lazy. They're not going to roll out dramas in summer, they'll go with what they know works. What they know the American public will come back to.
BRUCKHEIMER: Well, you know, the executives are always on the hot seat. If they don't deliver, they're fired. A sequel has a built-in audience. People loved the original, they want to see another one. They see the same thing but a little different. Even though the sequels according to the press haven't performed well, I'll take any one of those. I'll take a "Matrix." I mean, phenomenal success on that. So, I'll take one of those.
ZAHN: You lost your long time collaborator, Don Simpson, a very dear friend of yours who died from drug overdose.
What impact has his loss had on you and the way you approach the business?
BRUCKHEIMER: Well, you know, I think it's -- it's when you lose a friend, he was more a friend than a business partner, it's a loss. You feel it. He stays with me. The good part of Don is with me. I hear him speaking to me occasionally on how to do things and how to do things better. And he taught me a lot. So I carry on the tradition he would like me to have.
ZAHN: Was he a critic?
BRUCKHEIMER: He was a terrible. He always used to say we're doing this wrong, we're doing that wrong.
ZAHN: Well, we're delighted to hear your voice in person for a change.
Jerry Bruckheimer, good luck.
BRUCKHEIMER: Thanks for having me.
ZAHN: What do you think you're going to do tonight?
$14 million Wednesday night. Thursday night?
BRUCKHEIMER: It drops a little bit. Hopefully will come back big Friday and Saturday.
ZAHN: Good luck.
ZAHN: Appreciate you dropping by on our roof here.
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