Hollywood’s Billionaire Summer

the ellisons
Photo: Lester Cohen/WireImage
David T. Friendly
August 7, 2022

Hollywood can be a cruel, indifferent town. Outsiders are condescendingly referred to as “civilians.” The business can feel like some secret society, with a steep barrier to entry. But there is—and always has been—a way in: money. Like most high-stakes poker games, if you bring enough cash, we’ll happily pull up a chair. 

We used to call it “dumb money.” But the so-called “donkeys” (a poker term for amateurs) do catch a rush. This summer may well be remembered as the summer of the billionaires. Look at the impressive numbers on Top Gun: Maverick and the independent smash Everything Everywhere All at Once, both made possible by .001 percenters. For the most part, I see this as a positive thing for regular non-billionaire producers like me—and for the film business in general. Any money source that allows a fresh voice to flourish, or a well-told story to break through, is good by me.