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Lunch With Ari Emanuel - Khan Manka, Jr. - The Chairman's Blog

Lunch With Ari Emanuel

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ariemanuel.jpgGood afternoon.  This morning, I received a call from my good friend Ari Emanuel - the great man who single-handedly saved William Morris from the dung heap by creating agency powerhouse WME.  That son of a bitch actually had the heart to give a couple of the old Morris agents a job in the new company.  Personally, I would have kicked all of their asses to the street and said "Take your Dionne Warwick with you!"  But Ari is a gracious man and good good friend.

sharkys.jpgWe met at Sharky's Woodfired Mexican Grill on Beverly Blvd.  I hadn't seen Ari in a few months and he was much much taller than I remembered.  He ordered the Mesquite Fish Burrito and told me the Chicken Fajita Bowls there were fantastic.  He knew how much I loved chicken fajita bowls (and he was right, it was fantastic).  Ari got right down to business:

AE:  "Khan, what the fuck?"

KMJ:  "Ari, break my balls and you're done in this town.  I ruined Eisner and Ovitz and I'll ruin you, too."

AE:  "'Red Dot'?  You fucking bought 'Red Dot'?"

He was talking about Manka Bros.' recent $300 million acquisition the popular Japanese manga character 'Red Dot'

AE:  "Manga is dead.  If you keep fucking up, Manka will be dead.  You're spending a billion on short-form content.  Short-form is dead!"

Ari tried to keep his voice down.

AE:  "I have to watch what I say.  Gossip bloggers fucking live in my shower these days.  Seriously, Khan, the internet is dead.  Recorded music and digital cinema is the future.  Fucking move on!  Jesus."

He was talking about our recent announcement to spend $1 billion on short-form internet content.

KMJ:  "Glad to know you read my blog."

He continued to slice and dice our recent news announcements and ordered two (or was it three) more Mesquite Fish Burritos

MichaelDouglas43.jpgDuring his tirade detailing how I'm destroying the media business, Michael Douglas called.  I know Ari hardly ever takes a call or touches his Blackberry in a meeting... but this time he picked up.  It wasn't a big deal, Michael just wanted to know if his nose looked like it was in proper alignment.  He received the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award last week (in which I attended with good friend Lee Ann Womack) and the pictures were just starting to hit the papers.  I told Ari to tell Michael that his nose seemed okay - it was his skin that looked freakin' bizarre.  And he should lose the giant glasses.

With a few deft words of encouragement, Ari talked Michael off the ledge and got back to our conversation.  He attacked our upcoming movie slate

AE:  "What the fuck is 'Freedom Swimmers'Michael Phelps in a World War fucking 2 movie?  Are you fucking kidding me?  Robin Rafe has no f-ing idea what she's doing!"

He wanted to know if 'My Sister's Keeper' was our movie (nope, it's Warners').  He absolutely loved it and cried throughout the whole thing. 

AE:  "That's the kind of movie I want my clients to make.  No more big budget, bullshit summer movies.  If I could make one hundred 'My Sister's Keeper's a year, I would die a happy man.  I'm really pushing my clients to get away from the loud bullshit tentpoles and more toward the quiet Rotterdam Film Festival-type things. 

manka_mumblecore_logo.jpgThis was the real reason Ari wanted to have lunch.  He read about Manka Bros.' recently launched Mumblecore division and wanted to see if any of the upcoming projects might fit his client list.  Even if it meant slashing their fees to scale, he would be willing to do it.

AE:  "There just aren't a lot of opportunities out there for big name, A-list Hollywood stars to do small, personal, independent films.  Please help me, Khan.  If I don't get help from my old friends, this agency won't last more than a few weeks."

So I will help.   Ari is an old friend and he paid for lunch.

Many people don't know this, but Ari was in the Manka Bros. mailroom in the late-1980s and I feel it was his time at the studio that gave him the skills necessary to succeed in this town. 

Funny story: 
After he was fired for stealing files and petty cash, he reportedly told the HR person to 'fuck off and die.'  He then slashed her tires and told her husband she was cheating on him.  Classic. 

I would do anything to help that man keep his little agency afloat.

khan_jr1_small.jpgKhan Manka, Jr. - Chairman & CEO - Manka Bros. Studios - The World's Largest Media Company





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6 Comments

Ethan Rubidoux said:

Now that's a power lunch! Great stuff, Mr. Manka.

Robin Rafe said:

Ari has never liked me. I don't know why. Freedom Swimmers has Academy Award all over it. If only he saw the dailies. It's fantastic.

Robin Rafe, President, Manka Bros. Theatrical Group

Jammin Good said:

I love that Sharkys. I get the chocolate chip cookies there. Very good.

Hollywood Producer said:

He's right about Freedom Swimmers, Khan. That one has flop all over it. Like American Anthem starring the 1984 men's U.S. gymnastic team.

Brenda Costner said:

I love it. Very funny stuff, Mr. Manka! Ari has never been portrayed so sympathetically!

Fred Thomas said:

I would ahve expected something a little higher end than Sharky's for such Hollywood bigwigs. Maybe there is hope in the world that it's not all high end bullshit.

About Khan Manka, Jr.

Khan Manka, Jr. - Chairman & CEO - Manka Bros. StudiosKhan Manka, Jr. assumed the title of Chairman of the Board of Manka Bros. Studios - The World's Largest Media Company - following his father Harry Manka's death in 1976. Before that he was the member of several Southern California rock bands.

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