Forecasting: The Movie Producer: THE ART OF BETTING $100 MILLION

THINK IT'S DIFFICULT DECIDING WHICH movie to see on a Friday night? Try betting hundreds of millions of dollars on what will be the next box-office hit. Running the show at a big movie company may seem like a glamorous job, gilded with that Gucci and Gulfstream lifestyle, but to survive at the top, it also requires a near biblical gift of prophecy. Fail enough times, and you can say bye-bye to studio life--and the perks that go with it.

At the Paramount Pictures group, the person on the hot seat is its chairman, Sherry Lansing, 60, who smashed the industry's...

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