By ROBERT MARICH
(Robert Marich lives in the NYC suburbs with wife and Variety ex-alumnus Marie Silverman Marich. He is author of “Marketing to Moviegoers: A Handbook” in its second edition with SIU Press. From 1989 to 1997, he worked in various editorial capacities at the Hollywood Reporter, including business editor and international editor.)
When Hy Hollinger joined The Hollywood Reporter in 1992, I was international editor and remember his arrival well.
THR’s international section relied on young (and thus low wage) workers so Hy’s experience stood out. He also had a kind of deliberate style where he’d carefully and systematically line up work, and then presto it was done! This was in contrast to the younger workers who were almost absent-minded working – perhaps munching on some food as they pecked on a keyboard or read a paper document – and also were less prolific.
Finally, Hy was particularly adept at getting major studio box office figures – both foreign and domestic. His contacts on international box office were great and a source of mystery. This data used to only land on the pages of Variety but when Hy joined then THR got some scoops.
I was always impressed with the confidential major studio box office figures that Hy unearthed and the big bosses like them too.
However, the 1990s was a sort of transition period when high value information shifted. It was becoming the age of reporting the green light project. The trades were fixated on being first to report film projects the moment they became firm “gos”. That information seemed to surpass fundamental financial data as Big News.
To me, Hy Hollinger personified Variety, and the best of trade reporters at the time. He was approachable and personable, but not a patsy. He could not be bought. He’d seen it all and was unflappable.