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Lights, Camera, Flop; Hot Summer For Athletes Who Behave Badly; What Legalizing Marijuana Could Do

Aired August 10, 2013 - 09:30   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN GUEST HOST: Lights, camera, flop! Welcome to YOUR MONEY. I'm John Berman, in for Christine Romans. Now, the film costs $100 million to make but nobody sees it will it change the way you watch movies for good?

Call it Hollywood's latest disaster epic, and no one in the film business wants to see a sequel, an avalanche of mega movies have fallen with a thud. Columbia Pictures "After Earth," Disney's "The Lone Ranger" and Universal's "RIPD" all failed, tens of millions short of their opening weekend expectations. With price tags exceeding $100 million, these productions will be lucky to make back half of what they spent. Steven Spielberg, director of the original summer blockbuster, "Jaws," says all these busts will change what you end up paying at the box office.

STEVEN SPIELBERG, FILM DIRECTOR: Eventually you are going to have to pay $25 to see the next "Iron Man," and you're probably only going to have to pay $7 to see "Lincoln."

BERMAN (voice-over): Like many other American industries, globalization has hit Hollywood and business abroad has helped the bottom line. The number one movie this summer, "Iron Man 3" made about $300 million at home but more than doubled that abroad.

It turns out the international market has a taste for the epic computer effect-heavy spectacles, and that's just one reason the big studios are shying away from riskier original storytelling. Each of the top five highest-grossing movies this summer were remakes or sequels.

"Star Wars" creator George Lucas knows a thing or two about sequels. And he agrees with Steven Spielberg's vision of the future.

GEORGE LUCAS, FILM PRODUCER: What used to be the movie business, which I think includes television and movies, now it's going to be the television business, which has nothing to do with television.


BERMAN: AMC's "Breaking Bad," HBO's "Game of Thrones" and Showtime's "Homeland" are drawing viewers away from the theaters.

So what does the future hold for moviegoers who prefer filmmakers with big ideas but perhaps smaller wallets? Spike Lee has been telling original stories for decades, from "Do the Right Thing," to "Inside Man," one of my favorites.

The question is, what does the future look like for directors who don't want to churn out 3-D remakes and sequels?

Spike Lee, what do you think about that?

What's the future?

SPIKE LEE, FILM DIRECTOR: Well, just see what the two guys who really invented the blockbuster, Mr. Spielberg -- what Mr. Spielberg said and Mr. Lucas said, I can't top that, they hit the nail. They hit it right on the head.

BERMAN: You have changed the way you are doing business. Explain.

LEE: Well, my newest film, I am raising money through Kickstarter, which is really about crowd funding. I like to say that I have been doing Kickstarter before there was Kickstarter.

My first feature film, which yesterday was the 27th anniversary of it --

BERMAN: Happy anniversary.

LEE: -- thank you -- "She's Gotta Have It," the budget was $175,000, so there was no Internet, so social media for me was writing letters, writing postcards, licking envelopes, licking stamps and making phone calls. So I have been doing this from the beginning, now I am just trying to use the technology to get the money.

BERMAN: The technology lets you do things, though, that may have not been available 27 years ago.


LEE: No, there is no may, it has.

BERMAN: People you never met, people you have never laid eyes on.

LEE: Exactly.

BERMAN: People you will never meet will be investing as opposed to people, friends, neighbors, the like, you're raising money for before.

There is a sense among some people, that Kickstarter is for the grassroots, for the small time inventor in their garage, or for someone out there making a film on their iPhone. That's not you, I mean, you've directed big Hollywood movies before. You have courtside seats at the Knicks.

And you know, you have a Rolodex with A-listers out there.

Is there a difference between what you are doing and the guy making a movie with his iPhone? LEE: No, because we are both appealing to people to make pledges to get our work. And I went to the co-founders of Kickstarter, Yancey (ph) and Perry (ph), and asked about it. They said, Spike, we made this for everybody.

So the co-founders of Kickstarter said that, then I'm OK with it. And also we are bringing people to Kickstarter that never even heard of it, who never even heard of crowd funding, and they are going to invest; they're going to pledge on my films and invest in others, too.

BERMAN: Is there a difference between pledging and investing? What do I get if I kick in the 1,000 bucks to the next film?

LEE: Let's talk about, well, when you pledge, there are rewards for every pledge. So it's not really an investment. So on Kickstarter, you can only -- $10,000 is the limit. So for me, at $10,000, 10,000 bucks, I take you to dinner, and you sit courtside with me, my wife's seat -- thank you, Tonya -- at the world's most famous arena, that's what it got. And we should not move in 10 years, that's BS.

BERMAN: I can see the next moves on TV.

But still, it would be an honor --


LEE: No, no, no, sir.

BERMAN: -- it would be an honor to sit next to you at a game.

LEE: Sitting with me, maybe you don't know basketball, but sitting with me courtside in my seats, that's an experience.

BERMAN: You can see the Celtics there, one of the great teams --

LEE: Also we have sold 27 of those.

BERMAN: Twenty-seven $10,000 packages?

LEE: Yes, and the tickets cost me $3,500. And Steven Soderbergh was the first one, who himself has said the same thing about Hollywood that Spielberg and Lucas said. And he's no longer making hungry film. And he is going to work exclusively doing cable work.

BERMAN: Let me ask you this about the direction the film business is going in general, because we see sequels sometimes to movies now that were made 20 and 25 years ago, and they're not sequels -- remakes. We see a remake to "Total Recall," we see a remake to "Dirty Dancing."

"Do the Right Thing" was a huge film --


LEE: (Inaudible) it was huge culturally, but it didn't make -- not huge as far as box office goes.

BERMAN: What would you say if someone came to you and said I want to make a re-make of "Do the Right Thing "?

LEE: I'd say we're going to do it as a Broadway play.

BERMAN: Is that in the works?

LEE: Yes, my man, James Leigland (ph), who owns half of the theaters here on Broadway.

BERMAN: So something that's going to happen right there?

LEE: A musical, yes.

BERMAN: Would you put the musical in movie form?

LEE: We're trying to speak to Stevie Wonder.

BERMAN: So you would do anything. The bottom line is you see these sequels out there, you see these remakes that are selling right now, you are not opposed to the notion --


LEE: No, because my new film, "Oldboy," we're not calling a remake, we're calling it a reinterpretation. It's a Korean film that came out 5-6 years ago, which is starring Josh Brolin and Samuel L. Jackson. It comes out this Thanksgiving.

But for me, I mean, this pole, this tent pole -- again, Spielberg and Lucas said it themselves. This tent pole business plan is going to collapse the movie business onto itself.

BERMAN: A little earlier you brought up the New York Knicks. Let me ask you, this is a money show, this is a business show. Let me ask you a business question.

The Knicks are a team, that, if you're old enough, you can remember they did win a championship --

LEE: Yes, 41 years ago.

BERMAN: -- 41 years ago. So you have to be really old to remember something that long ago.

Let me ask you this, LeBron James can opt out of his contract, do you think the Knicks have any shot of signing him?

LEE: I don't think so. If he wanted to come to New York he would have gone to New York instead of Miami, and, look, he has to -- they won two championships back to back, they are going for a three-peat, so I think he's going to stay. And think about it, once you get under the grips of Pat Riley, it's hard to move.

BERMAN: You guys had him and you couldn't hang on. Spike Lee, thank you so much for joining us. It's really a pleasure to meet you and talk to you about this. Appreciate it. So we were talking about sports. In the 1986 film, "Jerry Maguire," football player Rod Tidwell made it very clear what he wanted from his agent:

CUBA GOODING, ACTOR, "ROD TIDWELL": I need to hear it, Jerry.

TOM CRUISE, ACTOR, "JERRY MAGUIRE": Show me the money!

"TIDWELL": Jerry, you got to yell it.

"MAGUIRE": Show me the money.

BERMAN (voice-over): But a summer of athletes behaving badly have left some pretty thick wallets lighter, and fans wondering what can possibly happen next.


BERMAN: This summer has been a hot one for athletes behaving badly -- not all of them, just a sliver in fact -- but when it happens it certainly grabs the headlines. More than 30 NFL players have been arrested since the Super Bowl; of those Aaron Hernandez faces the most serious charges.

In late June the former New England Patriots star was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, Hernandez is awaiting trial in jail.

And last week a video surfaced of the Philadelphia Eagles receiver Riley Cooper, saying a racial slur at a Kenny Chesney concert. He apologized and he was sent home from training camp but he has since returned to the team.

In college football, Heisman trophy winner Johnny Manziel is under investigation. The NCAA is looking into reports that Manziel was paid thousands of dollars for signing autographs, which is a major violation for a college athlete, not the NCAA itself, however.

And finally, the bad boys of summer, 12 Major League Baseball players suspended for 50 games apiece this week, all of them linked to a anti- aging clinic in Florida called Biogenesis, where the league says the players bought performance enhancing drugs, none of them failed a drug test, but only one, Yankees' third baseman, Alex Rodriguez, is appealing his 211-game suspension.

CNN Sport's anchor Rachel Nichols joins me now. She's at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York, for this weekend's PGA championship.

Rachel, we'll get to golf in a minute, but first, let's talk about A- Rod here. He makes about $27.5 million a year, let's compare that with the average Joe, the per capita income in the U.S. is $27,915 a year.

A-Rod's contract with the Yankees runs through 2017, critics say appealing the suspension, well, it's really all about money. The question is, the Yankees have been looking into this for a long time, looking about ways to possibly get out of this deal.

Would it be a smart business move if they could just pay him out and cut ties?

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: No, not really, because they are going to be paying him $60 million, and you don't want to pay a guy $60 million to do nothing, and that's if the full suspension is upheld and he loses about $30 million plus off of that contract.

If the suspension is lessened, even a little bit, they are going to be paying him more than $60 million, so you don't want to pay that money for a guy to do nothing, even if you negotiated some sort of settlement, Alex Rodriguez would not take that much of a pay cut. So Brian Cashman (ph) has said that if he is available to them and they are paying him, they are going to use him.

Of course if he is suspended for as long as baseball has said he will be suspended for, and of course we are going to have to see what an arbitrator decides. Well, then that puts Alex Rodriguez at 40 years old. And you have to wonder how much can he play at that point. But if he makes a legitimate move to try to get onto the field, they are required to pay him. It's a very interesting financial situation.

BERMAN: He could end up being 40 years old having taken a full year off. That will be interesting to see.

So former St. Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire was asked about the suspension this week. He's now a hitting coach. He told ESPN, quote, "Everybody, especially the players, don't want any more part of it and I hope this is the end of it. I wish I was never part of it."

So, Rachel, obviously, this is not the end of steroids and PEDs in baseball, but might it be a sort of turning point that we are seeing?

NICHOLS: Yes, I think this is the most interesting part about this story, John. This is really a sea change in the McGwire-Sosa era, you saw those guys' teammates really perform a protective nook around those players. Nobody wanted to talk about steroids.

Now, in clubhouses around the country, we are seeing players speak out, saying we don't want cheaters in our game, we don't want to be competing against them for jobs. And I think that change more than almost any other is going to shift the way not only the public but younger players coming up see the game and see whether they should take performance enhancing drugs.

As you point out, there will always be people who try to cheat. But we could see the percentages change. And that's key for Major League Baseball.

BERMAN: Now you're standing at the golf course right now, following a superstar who has battled back from controversy, very different type of controversy. And we are not talking about cheating in the game, we are talking about life problems here, we are talking about Tiger Woods. You spoke to Tiger Woods this week. He is coming off of his 79th PGA tour win last week, how is his comeback going, how are fans treating him on the course?

NICHOLS: Well, fans here love him because they want to see him win again. It has been five years since Tiger has won a major tournament now. I have to say, he has had a fantastic year, better than anybody else in golf. He's won five titles, he's won nearly $8 million, and he's come close in majors doing well in the early rounds, but he has had trouble closing.

I asked him about that on the course.


TIGER WOODS, PRO GOLFER: Well, I just keep getting myself there. Just keep putting myself there. And the key is, if I am there, then I got a chance to win. And I just haven't done it in the last five years, but the key is to keep putting myself there, and I will start getting them.

NICHOLS: I know for you, you've had a tremendous year, and there's been so many parked the last five years. You played great golf, but you seem to still want that major so badly.

Why is it still so important to you after all this time?

WOODS: Well, they are the biggest events, and it's just neat being part of a golfing history, you know. You know, I have won 14 of them, and they are so unique and so different, you are playing against the best fields, you are on the most difficult venues, and the pressure is just -- it's fantastic, it's fun.

So that's why there is a rush, that's why we play them, that's why we love them.


BERMAN: Rachel, thank you so very much. And stay tuned for Rachel's special, "PGA All Access," live from Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York. That's coming up at 10:30 am Eastern right here on CNN.

In the meantime, head over to CNNMoney for an interactive look at how much the all-time greatest golfers have earned for winning major championships, check out major money, golf's biggest winners. That's up on CNNMoney right now.

So Dr. Sanjay Gupta, he was against the use of medical marijuana, now he says he was wrong. Sanjay joins me next.


BERMAN: We talk a lot about budget cuts, underfunded schools, even cities going bankrupt. One idea that has a lot of people talking, legalize marijuana and tax it like crazy. According to Harvard economist Jeffrey Myron, legalizing pot could save the government $7.7 billion a year in enforcement costs and it could bring in $6.2 billion in tax revenue. That's a total of almost $14 billion in savings and revenue.

Then there's the other part of the discussion, the serious part, people who argue that pot isn't really bad for you, that in some cases it has major health benefits.

I want to bring in CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Sanjay, you have a special about marijuana, called "Weed," airing this weekend. You have talked with doctors, you've talked with growers and dispensers. You have been researching this for over a year and what's fascinating here is you have had a change of heart.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, no, I think that's very fair to say, John. I have had a change of heart. I had been critical of medical marijuana in the years, written magazine articles about it, sort of pointing out that, in my opinion at that time, the evidence just didn't stack up.

And, John, if you go look to the medical journals now on medical marijuana, there's some 20,000 papers out there, but the vast majority of them are designed it look at harm. A very small percentage, about 6 percent or so, my calculation, designed to look at benefit.

And it gives a very distorted image of our attitudes towards medical marijuana, what we know about it.

For me it took getting outside the country, looking in other labs and talking to legitimate patients with legitimate problems, as I found, for whom not only did marijuana work, it was the only thing that worked.

So, yes, I had a change of heart in large part because of this journey, John. Again, I have seen how it can work when nothing else did.

I want you to see Chas Moore. He's a 19-year-old with a condition known as diaphragmatic flutter. Take a look.


GUPTA (voice-over): Meet 19-year-old Chas Moore. He uses many different strains of marijuana, many of them high in CBD, to treat his rare disorder of the diaphragm.

CHAS MOORE, MARIJUANA USER: My abs like lock up.

GUPTA (voice-over): That's why he's talking this way, almost speaking in hiccups, like he can't catch his breath. He's about to show me how the marijuana works. He's been convulsing now for seven minutes.

GUPTA: How quickly do you expect this to work?

MOORE: Within like the first five minutes.

And I'm done.

GUPTA: That's it?

MOORE: That's it.

GUPTA (voice-over): It was actually less than a minute.


GUPTA: John, he had taken so many different medications, and, you know, he is one person, but he's emblematic of many more. So many of those medications he took weren't working for him. He had been in the intensive care unit for a period of time. It was pretty scary stuff.

And again, you heard he's taking this strain of marijuana that's high in CBD. There's two ingredients people talk about, THC, that's the stuff that's psychoactive, can make you high, and CBD, which is the more medicinal part. So you can have a more medical part of this marijuana without getting the high and that's a lot of what Chas is doing.

BERMAN: Incredible how quickly that worked. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much, this special getting a huge amount of buzz. Do not miss Sanjay's special. It's called "Weed," Sunday at 8 pm.

So has all this talk about marijuana have you feeling a little hungry? How about some waffle tacos, a books of Yodels or an exceptional hamburger? Why those foods are making news next in "Money Time."


BERMAN: On Friday some gun owners celebrated Starbucks appreciation day with a few extra shots -- and not in their cappuccinos.

At Starbucks locations across the country, gun owners showed off their weapons. They said they were honoring the company's policy to allow open carry at their stores in states where it was legal, including Connecticut. Some even took their guns to a Starbucks in Newtown. In reaction, a gun control group said it's too soon after the Sandy Hook shootings. Here's a look at the other stories that matter to YOUR MONEY this week. Give me 60 seconds on the clock, it's "Money Time."


BERMAN (voice-over): Fast food meets science fiction. The first stem cell burger was cooked and eaten this week. It was made in a lab from a cow's muscle cells. If you're not ready for a stem cell burger, how about a waffle taco? Taco Bell is expanding its push into the lucrative fast food breakfast battle.

Diploma, debt, default. About half of the $1 trillion in federal student loan debt is not being repaid. And 1 in 8 borrowers are defaulting on their loans. All that debt could explain why drivers are keeping their clunkers around longer.

The average car in the U.S. is more than 11 years old. That's a new high, and it's expected to keep climbing, though not if GM can convince drivers to buy a new Chevy Volt. The company knocked the price down by $5,000. Electric cars have been marked down across the board in an attempt to lure new buyers.

And waistlines beware. Ring Dings and Yodels are making a comeback next month. They disappeared off store shelves when Hostess went out of business last November.


BERMAN: Coming up on a brand new YOUR MONEY at 2:00 pm Eastern, fire sale in the newsroom. founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is just the latest billionaire to buy a big-name newspaper for a low, low price. Warren Buffett, Rupert Murdoch and Boston Red Sox owner John Henry have grabbed up some papers, too.

So what's the motive behind the millions that these men are putting down? Find out later today on a brand new YOUR MONEY. That's at 2:00 pm Eastern. See you then.