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Industry Celebrates Hall of Fame Honorees

7 Dec, 2016 By: Stephanie Prange

Jon Favreau (Photo by: Rob Latour/Variety)

The home entertainment industry turned out Dec. 6 to honor actor and filmmaker Jon Favreau, Epix President and CEO Mark Greenberg, and Eddie Cunningham, president of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, who were inducted into the Variety Home Entertainment and Digital Hall of Fame.

Variety also honored Chris Milk, CEO of virtual reality studio/distribution platform Within and co-founder of virtual reality creative agency/production company Here Be Dragons, with the 2016 Deloitte Media and Entertainment Leadership Award, and Google Play with the Innovation Award, accepted by the service’s head of worldwide movie and TV partnerships Jonathan Zepp.

Favreau noted how many of his films had been discovered after their initial box office run, recalling his experience with the film Rudy.

“It didn’t do very well at all [at the box office],” he said. “But then something happened. People started to know the music and know the story. That was the first indication that there was another life to these films.”

He said the same thing happened with his film Swingers, which tallied a box office take that left him “crestfallen.”

“And then everybody started telling me I was money,” Favreau said. “It became a thing. It was part of the currency of the culture.”

He noted, “Home video, home entertainment and now digital have been a huge part of my career.”

As a director, he said he is always conscious of the repeatability of his films, and of the fact that commentaries and other extras were a kind of “film school” for him.

“When I finally got to be the guy who was directing movies, I said let me put everything I can into this,” said the director of such blockbusters as Iron Man and Elf.

Cunningham entertained the crowd with jokes about his homeland, Scotland, noting that perhaps it was time to “make America Great Britain again,” referencing the Donald Trump presidential slogan.

He thanked his team and noted how lucky they were to explore “our hobby that we’re getting paid for.”

Presenter Janice Marinelli, president of Disney/ABC Home Entertainment and Television Distribution, praised Innovation Award winner Google Play for building strong partnerships with the studios and its willingness “to push the envelope,” noting the service was part of the launch of Disney Movies Anywhere.

Honoree Milk said virtual reality is a “wholly new medium,” calling its development “the equivalent of the early days of cinema” and urging patience.

“It’s going to take us a while to figure this out and please bear with us,” he said. “A new language of storytelling is going to be required in this medium.”

The 36th annual Press Play: Variety Home Entertainment and Digital Hall of Fame gala dinner and awards show, held at the Beverly Wilshire hotel in Beverly Hills, benefited City Year Los Angeles for the fourth consecutive year. Deloitte and Dolby sponsored the event.

About the Author: Stephanie Prange

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