Elton John owns the number two slot on the Guinness World Records list of best selling singles of all time. But the money he tallied from his only single to outsell “Y.M.C.A.” by the Village People, will certainly be surpassed when he teams up with some heavy hitters in the film business to rock the screen behind the face of Tom Hardy. Sir Elton is rumored to do much of the song track himself for his biopic, Rocketman.
Although the $10 million U.S. acquisition of the film rights was reported this past June, according to industry news source, Deadline, the recent announcement that Tom Hardy will play the star role has the entertainment e-world buzzing. Since finalizing the deal for his independent financing company, FilmDistrict’s Peter Schlessel has acquired control of the release of the film through Focus Features. In typical movie speak accounting terms, the $10 million is the minimum guarantee for what is called a wide theatrical release. To the initial guarantee will be added two additional revenue streams; a “size-able P&A,” and a cash flow instrument the Deadline reports as “a generous gross corridor after the film recoups.”
Much of the financial groundwork was arranged by the giant talent agency, United Talent Agency (UTA). The film is co-financed by Elton John’s own film company, Rocket Pictures, which joined another British production company, AI Film. No doubt, Rocket Pictures’ returns from a film about the most flamboyant entertainer of recent decades will add to the other revenues of Sir John. Revenues he will enjoy from his off screen position at the piano bench watching Tom Hardy evolve from a young man in post-war England to the 66-year-old world icon of today.
While Elton John may not have a multitude of titles among the top sellers, his $39 million contract, signed with Warner Bros. Records in 1992, was the largest cash advance ever reported in the history of music recording. It was under that contract that John composed the Grammy winning score for “The Lion King.” The score was certified to be a diamond recording when it topped 15 million sales in 1999.
Since Elton John actually began playing the piano at age three and won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London at the age of eleven, Tom Hardy may need a little help with the early years of his role of Sir John. But the cyberworld concensus about the announcement of Hardy as John is positive.
Once the youngest years are out of the way, Hardy should be comfortable in the role of the singer/songwriter by the 1997 release of his tribute to Princess Diana. That tribute, was a repeat release of his 1973 hit and “Candle in the Wind” rocketed to the number two slot of all time recordings in the world. According to Guinness, it remains there today at just about 16 million behind the 50 million sales of Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas.”
Deadline reports that Elton John himself will record much of the music Hardy will need to perform on screen. Most of the fan comments found online seem to believe that Hardy can and will have the moves while the music of the Rocketman himself rocks the screen.
by Marcus Murray
Guinness World Records