LOS ANGELES -- Producer Jerry Bruckheimer was inducted into the Video Hall of Fame this month together with Warner executive David Mount and distributor Tim Shanahan, both credited as pioneers of the video business.
Bruckheimer, who is responsible for such films as "Flashdance," "Top Gun," "Con Air" and "Armageddon," credited top studio executives for creating a "superb creative environment," and also lavished praise on the home video trade. "The video industry deserves much thanks and praise for providing another marketplace for movies. This is a tremendous contribution," he said.
"Today, only two decades since video was introduced to the public, it's hard to imagine the film business without that exciting second wind that, in some cases, is its only wind," Bruckheimer said.
"When I was growing up in Detroit, all I ever wanted to do was make movies. To me they are the universal language that unites people of all races, colors and creeds, that fill our lives with excitement and emotion, and create memories that stick with us forever," he said.
In inducting Bruckheimer, Richard Cook, chairman of the Walt Disney Pictures Group, Burbank, Calif. said, "Jerry epitomizes a rare breed of brand-name producers whose films bear an unmistakable cinematic signature in the grand Hollywood tradition, with larger than life characters, sight and sound spectacles that fly us to fantastic worlds, and spin engrossing tales."
Addressing the many video industry executives in attendance, he added, "many of you in this room have come up winners thanks to his Midas touch." The combined total gross for Bruckheimer's films, including theatrical and video, is more than $11 billion, Cook noted.
David Mount, chairman and chief executive officer of Warner/Elektra/Atlantic (WEA), Burbank, has a long career in the video business that included a stint as president of the home video division of Live Entertainment, which is now Artisan Entertainment, Santa Monica. In that role, he produced secondary titles that performed well on video, like the "Silent Night, Deadly Night" sequels.
"We made these movies for virtually no money, but the video business in the '80s was expanding so fast, you could sell anything. We were proof of that," he joked. "The independents (filmmakers) really were the backbone of the growth of the video business," he said.
"Sometimes we had lightning in a bottle and sometimes we turned out some quality films, too," he said. For example, the company produced Quentin Tarantino's directorial debut "Reservoir Dogs."
Tim Shanahan, president, Video Products Distributors, Sacramento, pointed out that some recent distributor inductees into the Video Hall of Fame are now comfortably retired, and joked, "it became clear to me that, as a distributor, once you've been inducted into the Hall of Fame, you are supposed to get out of this business." Again in jest, he suggested that the honor was a conspiracy by his competitors.
He noted that one of his chief accomplishments was staying employed through his entire career. "I'm very proud to be here tonight to accept this award in recognition of my survival skills, because survival has always been what video distribution was all about," Shanahan said.
The Video Hall of Fame Dinner, in its 19th year, is a benefit for Variety -- The Children's Charity, the Samara Jan Turkel Foundation and Fast Forward to End Childhood Hunger. Leonard Maltin, movie reviewer on "Entertainment Tonight," was the master of ceremonies.