Reel News

Tim Ryan

Oahu’s junket makes ‘cents’

Blue Crush' junket heads for Oahu, Act II: Universal Pictures' execs want it known they love all of Hawaii. And their decision to bring more than 100 media reps to Oahu -- and not another island -- this month for the "Blue Crush" press junket was simply pragmatic.

"The movie was filmed there, not Maui," says Jeffrey Sakson, Universal's senior VP of national publicity. He called Reel News to clarify rumors that the junket had been headed for the Valley Island but the studio may have caved under pressure from Hawaii tourism officials.

"Absolutely not true," said the soft-spoken Sakson. "The Maui Film Festival and Maui Film Commission were really, really interested in hosting the junket. We had some meetings ... but it never went further than that. Going to Maui ... just didn't make sense since the film was shot on Oahu."

The festival had hoped to screen the film at its outdoor theater in June.

Universal never even crunched the numbers for what a Maui junket would cost, Sakson said.

Director John Stockwell did tell the Star-Bulletin during production that he was disappointed that the originally titled "Surf Girls of Maui" was not shot on that island, as he had envisioned. But Universal money crunchers estimated that would have added $1 million to the $32 million budget. The cash would be better spent getting additional wave footage on Oahu.

In bringing the media to Oahu July 23-25 (midweek, which is unusual), Universal can provide ocean experiences similar to what the production went through, minus the double-overhead winter waves at Pipeline.

The clincher for Hawaii even getting the junket occurred when Universal execs saw the film's water sequences, Sakson said. "This is not your grandmother's surf film."

Reporters will stay at the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa at Ko 'Olina, traveling here on Hawaiian Airlines. They will watch the film, then interview stars Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriquez, Sanoe Lake, Matthew Davis, Mike Boorem and Faizon Love, director John Stockwell, producer Brian Glazer and writer Lizzie Weiss, and the surf doubles.

"We really want to make this different than other press junkets, to have a distinctive feeling and flavor," Sakson said.

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