Lionsgate just announced that it's buying Summit Entertaiment, the studio that produces the popular "Twilight" movies, for $412.5 million. Not really hugely big news there, except that The Wrap is reporting that billionaire investor Tom Barrack's private-equity firm, Colony Capital, wanted Summit but dropped out of the bidding several weeks ago.
How can Barrack handle losing out on a chance to buy the studio that transformed the books he found...transformative! into movies? After all, it was the "Twilight" books that got Barrack through a dark night of the soul on a lonely yacht off the coast of Turkey.
I'm not making this up. The Wall Street Journal revealed all in 2010. The WSJ also ran the colorful memo that Barrack's "Twilight" experience compelled him to write to his employees.
Here's an extended taste:
As I sat there with nothing to do the book kept taunting me. I began to think that there must be something I don’t understand. What could it be? What is it all about? Women don’t just read these books, they live them. They become each paragraph. I picked it up, but then immediately dropped it like a hot coal. What if someone saw me reading this? My macho reputation would be finished! I would be kicked out of the bench press section of the gym. My polo compadres would send me packing to the pony rides and my surfing buddies would exile me to the kiddie pool.
But it was a long night and there was absolutely nothing, and I mean NOTHING else to do. Long story short – not only did I read Twilight, I read the other two as well!! I was fascinated, captivated even. However, what intrigued me was not the same thing that hooked the millions of women whose lives and had been changed by this series, but something else entirely.
For you male Colonists, here is a brief synopsis. Stubborn teenage girl meets a handsome but moody vampire and against all odds they fall in love.
Here is my macho take – Stephanie Meyer is a total genius. As I flipped through the pages I was startled by the lack of detailed description of Bella and the surgical and illuminating development of Edward. As hard as I tried I could not really picture Bella, but I was grabbed by Edward’s character – gorgeous, super human, super strong, super fast and most importantly encompassing the wisdom of a 109-year-old man in the guise of a 17-year-old boy.
The description of Bella on the other hand, was not moving, or compelling. What I realized is the genius of Stephanie was that she knew that by keeping the character generic, any and every woman could climb inside and picture herself in Bella’s shoes. Thus the fascination and deep emotional reactions to what many (including myself) thought was a foolish teenage trashy novel.
Every woman longs for the anticipation, the romance, the journey, the taboo, the patience, and the attentiveness. Men, however, are all about the destination, the result, the speed and the outcome. The journey is merely penance to get to the destination. Which is why despite the vampires and werewolves, this book is kryptonite to most men.
Here is my point. The idea of devoting half a day to reading these books was something that never, NEVER, entered my mind as something I would ever, EVER do. I hated them. I mocked them. It made no difference to me that over 20 million books were sold, movies made, and Team Edward and Team Jacob pandemonium had engulfed the world. I was simply stuck in my point of view.
Once I ventured into the books I learned something. I now understand why some women are emotionally altered from merely reading a book. I have also gained a deeper realization that understanding the circumstances and points of views of those with whom we are negotiating, working, living, loving or fighting is the key determinant factor in an enduring relationship.
Say what you will about a man Barrack's age (early sixties) finally realizing that literature could be emotionally transformative — and needing something like "Twilight" to make it happen. His memo does indicate why Colony might have been interested in Summit in the first place.
Alas, no Summit for Barrack. But at least now he can turn his attention fully to buying the Dodgers!