What Hit and Run was to Hollywood financial impropriety, and what You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again was to sex, drugs, and self-destruction, High Concept is to the evolution of today's driving business philosophy and simultaneous back-lot grotesqueries of the contemporary entertainment industry.
Using the life and career of producer Don Simpson as a point of departure, High Concept takes readers on a riveting journey inside the Hollywood of the 1980s and 1990s. Throughout the period, Simpson and his partner, Jerry Bruckheimer, were the most successful independent producers in the history of moviemaking, responsible for the hit films Flashdance, Beverly Hills Cop, Top Gun, Crimson Tide, Bad Boys, and The Rock. Widely credited with the genesis of the "tentpole," or "event," business strategy, which could make a studio's year in a single shot, Simpson had an uncanny ability to boil down a movie into an easily salable product. His films generated billions of dollars at the box office, and today his business philosophy continues to drive the fortunes of the major studios, where $100 million blockbusters are now the norm.
But at the same time that his vision was driving the Hollywood bottom line, Simpson's lifestyle epitomized the pervasive dark side of the industry's power base. Through intensive research and interviews with sources throughout the film community, Charles Fleming chronicles how Simpson made his mark as a young executive at Paramount, gradually gained entry into a small circle of friends, and gratified himself beyond recognition. His legendary consumption knew no bounds. This unrestrained excess killed him and sent a warning cry throughout the industry.