A short film packed with star power is set to premiere later this year
There are some things that people just don’t associate with short films, and casinos and big Hollywood names are just some of them. Many have come to know the short film as a genre for independent artists and NGOs fighting to raise awareness on global issues, and sadly, we rarely see big names starring in short films.
However, a new short film called The Audition, has changed the game. The short film is not only being directed by Martin Scorsese, but the script was also written by Terence Winter, the man behind the Wolf of Wall Street and Boardwalk Empire. Already managed by a great team, the film’s cast is also one of the strongest we’ve seen in any films recently, with Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, and Brad Pitt coming together in a first-of-its-kind partnership.
What will the movie be about? Oddly enough, many have deduced that it’s nothing more than an advertisement for a new casino — and a rather creative one at that. The film has DeNiro and DiCaprio competing to be the star of Scorsese’s new film (way to break the 4th wall here), and trailers for the film have shown the director welcoming his two candidates to a casino in Manila, and a casino in Macau respectively.
What makes people say that this is just an ad? It was commissioned by none other than James Packer, owner of the City of Dreams casino resort in Manila, and the movie-themed Studio City casino in Macau. The flashy ad, which took them 2 days to shoot, came with a price tag of $70 million, with each of the star-studded cast being paid $13 million for their roles. The film is set to premier at the opening of Studio City, which just adds to the idea that the film’s only purpose is to draw people to the casino.
It may seem like $70 million is a huge price to pay for some advertising, but as the gambling industry in Macau – which had largely been considered the strongest in the past few years – begins to see a steady decline, it’s becoming more and more important to try and draw more gamblers in. In the US, casinos made ends meet by embracing the rising trend of online gambling, with large names like Trump Plaza and the Golden Nugget casino in Atlantic City teaming up with sportsbooker Betfair to draw patrons in with the convenience of gambling online. In Macau, with the government still not licensing online gambling operations, casino resorts have to rely on alternative ways to draw crowds in, and for James Packer, the answer has seemingly come in the form of a star-studded cast in a short film.
The short film actually doesn’t make any effort to show that it’s a thinly-veiled ad, as in the trailer, compliments for the casino abound. See for yourself:
Is The Audition good for the short film industry, or is it just selling out? We’ll let you decide.