Welcome To The Entertainment Economy

What's helping drive the U.S. economy? Check out Mortal Kombat. The bloodthirsty arcade and home video game has generated nearly $2 billion in revenues. On Aug. 18, a $35 million live-action movie will be released, followed by an animated video and a stage production. If the fad doesn't fade, an animated TV series may follow. "We've employed thousands of people doing all these Mortal Kombat things," says Larry Kasanoff, chairman of Santa Monica-based Threshold Entertainment Inc., which holds the media rights to the characters. And don't forget the merchandising rights, held by the Licensing Group in Los Angeles, which is doing deals for T-shirts, lunch boxes, and toys. By the year's end, the revenue generated by the one gory game and its spinoffs may approach that of the entire leather-goods industry.

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