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BUSINESS PLANS

Enter the Dragon
 

How do you reconcile a love for Hollywood glitz with an admiration for cost-conscious Asian filmmaking? Ask Robert Cain.
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Dossier

Who: Robert Cain, 39

What: Cain's start-up, Silk Road Productions, will produce Hollywood-caliber movies in Asia.

Why: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon grossed more than $125 million in the United States. Cain hopes to emulate CTHD's success, marrying Western marketing acumen with the artistic and cost advantages filmmakers find in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Where: Silk Road's Los Angeles home is a feng-shui'd office at a consulting company where Cain works part-time.

Roots: Born in New York City. Father: a former executive at Federated Department Stores. Mother: a onetime assistant to film mogul Arthur Krim, and president of the Perry Como fan club.

First sign that his future lay to the east: Became devoted to the television series Kung Fu, starring David Carradine, at age 10.

Second sign: At Harvard, learned Mandarin and met his Korean wife, Suki, then a student at Wellesley, with whom he has two children.

First asian idyll: Lived in Hong Kong's Happy Valley from 1987 to 1989.


"Hong Kong makes New York look like a sleepy backwater."

--Robert Cain

Reality check: Returned to the States to news of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Crossroads: Chose Wharton over film school.

Film biz debut: Got a job working for 90210 producer Aaron Spelling developing feature films.

Proudest credit: The Kurt Russell film Breakdown, which Roger Ebert called "a fine thriller. ... Its ending is unworthy of it."

Hollywood legend he most wants to be: Famed MGM producer Irving Thalberg.

Response to reminder that Thalberg died at 37: "Well, except that part."

Hardest thing about his biz: In Hollywood, Cain says, people back out of deals.

His top priority: Raising $100 million, 60% in debt and 40% in equity.

What $100 million buys: Five to seven movies with budgets under $20 million.

How you say "exit strategy" in mandarin: By lapsing into English, Cain jokes.


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Last updated: Sep 1, 2001




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