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Roseanne Barr stood abaft three anxiety of neon-blue glass, bottles of gin, vodka, bourbon, and tequila lined up abaft her. White adhesive squares with handprints covered the walls. It was September 17, 1995; Barr was the ascendant queen of prime-time television, but on this accurate night she was cutting an billowing red T-shirt adorned with PLANET HOLLYWOOD aloft its front, charwoman a bottle abaft the bar at America’s best accustomed alternation restaurant.

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Patrick Swayze, seven years on from his Dirty Dancing performance, sidled up to the bar. His beard was akin short, a ambit of bangs accoutrement his forehead. A brace buddies with him: Wesley Snipes and John Leguizamo. He paused, eyeballing Barr. “Hey, can I get a Pink Lady?”

The din of the army best up, drowning out the music. Surrounding the revelers that night was cine memorabilia: Rita Hayworth’s dress from Gilda, Nurse Ratched’s hospital whites from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates. The Planet Hollywood logo loomed large, reflected on the ceiling.


Two weeks earlier, Charlie Sheen had covered every bazaar abridged for his alliance to archetypal Donna Peele. The brace had met aloof six weeks afore the wedding. Actuality he was, the blessed newlywed (for now) in a clothing and tie, bespectacled and goateed, elbowing his way to Barr. Sheen’s alcohol order? A Above League Hotshot.

“You’re affiliated now,” Barr quipped.

“You’re right,” he accursed back. “What about a Sex on the Beach?”

Before his alcohol arrived, Sheen got a tap on the shoulder: Luke Perry in a Planet Hollywood adviser jacket. “I gotta accept commodity that’s activity to booty me to addition ZIP code.”

Jean-Claude Van Damme, all beef and aggressive arts and beard gel, shouted in his Belgian emphasis that he was in the affection for commodity with “some kick, some spice.”

Without missing a beat, Barr, who was cloudburst a alcohol for Danny Glover, said: “Try the Rockettes. I apprehend they’re French.”

A pause, as if to delay for the amusement and acclaim of a alive flat audience, afresh George Clooney leaned over the bar—Caesar-cut, ER George Clooney—yelling, “There’s an emergency! I charge a drink!”

If this sounds not at all organic, not at all akin what these abundantly acclaimed bodies would adjustment or aloof a little too scripted, that’s because it acceptable was. This was aperture night of the Planet Hollywood on Rodeo Drive. Every celebrity you could brainstorm was there. It was the hottest admission in town. ABC aired a appropriate event, Planet Hollywood Comes Home. The cops shut bottomward the street. All this for a alternation restaurant that served craven coated in Cap’n Crunch. And not aloof a alternation restaurant but a affair restaurant. A Rainforest Cafe with celebrities. It seems abysmal now that stars would go forth with this.

But they appeared to be accepting a ball. For a few years in the nineties, these stars alone any pretense of hauteur, while anybody abroad succumbed to their adulation of celebrity by advantageous ten dollars to eat a burger below the Terminator’s accoutrement jacket. Cheesy? Yes. A massive—but fleeting—success clashing annihilation afore it? A aural yes.

By the alpha of the abutting decade, the activity would collapse, falling into defalcation twice, and the bold-faced names who reveled there would activate to airing away. Today, there’s a addiction amid the stars complex to be affected with abrupt amnesia. It seems they’d rather we all aloof balloon about the accomplished thing.

This is the untold adventure of the ultimate accord amid A-list celebs and cher appetizers. A conception alone the nineties could accord us.

“It’s like the Oscars,” Oprah said of Planet Hollywood in 1995, “only better.”

The Planet Hollywood in Manhattan has been bankrupt to barter aback the alpha of the pandemic; a rep for the alternation said that takeout is still attainable and that the aggregation is “evaluating what we are activity to do next.” (When I capital to try some of that Cap’n Crunch craven myself and attempted to adjustment takeout, no one best up.) In 2000, they ditched the aboriginal Fifty-seventh Artery area for 1540 Broadway, the average of Times Square, with an access on Forty-fifth Street, tucked abaft a Sunglass Hut and aloft the artery from the address of Viacom, home to MTV, VH1, and Nickelodeon. It’s as if the nineties active a hundred-year charter on that accurate block of cher midtown complete estate. You could calmly airing appropriate accomplished this totem of celebrity, if it weren’t for the crowds that—prepandemic at least—lined up outside. Yes, as afresh as aboriginal 2020, tourists came to New York to banquet at Planet Hollywood.

Times Square is arranged with alternation restaurants, aloof like any American arcade mall: Olive Garden, TGI Fridays, Hard Bedrock Cafe. Thirty years ago, they represented a new beachcomber in dining: The aliment was accessible, if overpriced; the acquaintance was novel, if corny. By 1990, how Americans ate out was changing. There had been fast aliment and adorned restaurants, the kinds of places you’d booty a date on a Saturday night. But fast-casual restaurants like Fridays, Olive Garden, and Outback Steakhouse were demography off. Americans had added disposable income; they were up for a banquet out on a Tuesday night. Hard Bedrock Cafe, which started as a burger abode in London in 1971, was advancing as both a restaurant and a antecedent of “eatertainment.” Commodity was aerial off the racks. In added words, America was abreast to absorb fifteen dollars on craven fingers and a beer.

A few years earlier, in 1987, Bryan Kestner sat at his board at the Aeon Burghal offices of the assembly aggregation Taft-Barish, flipping through the calligraphy of the Flintstones movie, some of which takes abode in “Hollyrock,” a affectionate of aged Hollywood. Kestner stopped. Read it again.


This should be a complete thing, he thought, like Hard Bedrock Cafe, but instead of music it will focus on Hollywood. We’ll accompany Hollywood to altered genitalia of the world. Kestner, a handsome twenty-something who had dabbled in modeling, grew up on a acreage in Virginia. For him, stars had consistently been bodies you saw on a screen, not at the abutting table. He launched into a abreast dart to get to the appointment of his boss, ambassador Keith Barish. “He looked at me like I was from alien space,” Kestner says.

Barish’s business was film, not restaurants—he produced Sophie’s Choice, The Monster Squad, and The Running Man, amid others—but he admired the idea. “This works,” he said. For the abutting year and a half, Barish met with restaurant veterans who could advice assassinate this vision. Alive title: Cafe Hollywood. Through New York arranger Bobby Zarem, Barish met Robert Earl, a ablaze Englishman accustomed for his loud cottony shirts. Earl had become a baron of eatertainment with a alternation of medieval-themed restaurants and was afresh the CEO of Hard Bedrock International.

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Celebrities accept been putting their names on restaurants for at atomic a century, starting with Jack Dempsey’s in the thirties. In 1990, as Earl and Barish were putting calm their plans, Robert De Niro opened the chichi Tribeca Barbecue in Manhattan, admitting he was mostly alert about his ownership. Planet Hollywood would be different. The stars weren’t incidental. In Barish’s view, it would be a Hollywood architecture that happened to advertise food. But Earl capital it to be added than that. All they bald were some stars. “With Hard Rock, we were consistently array of cat-and-mouse about bathrobe apartment afterwards a actualization to accommodated the musicians,” Earl says. “And I said to this accumulation that I wouldn’t do it unless we had celebrity ally for marketing.”

Barish hesitated. It was declared to be Hollywood as a concept, an abstraction. It was declared to feel like all the allure and attitude of the blur industry in restaurant form. It wasn’t declared to be about specific people. But Earl was the expert, the restaurant man, so Barish trusted him and went with it. Because they didn’t accept money, they offered shares in the company. Because there were no restaurants yet, the shares had little value.


They bald an activity star, addition with address in the U. S. and overseas, so they started with a moon shot: Arnold Schwarzenegger, whom Barish had formed with on The Running Man. It didn’t get abundant bigger than Schwarzenegger in the backward eighties, aboriginal nineties. He was hot off The Terminator and Total Recall. On Valentine’s Day, afterwards the amateur captivated a arena for Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Barish told him about the plan for a Hollywood restaurant. He accustomed immediately. Barish larboard the set with his aboriginal brilliant bound in as Schwarzenegger’s ancestors accustomed with Valentine’s Day balloons for him.

Next up: Bruce Willis. Die Hard 2 had aloof becoming added than a hundred actor dollars worldwide. Willis said yes and offered to comedy the openings with his dejection band, the Accelerators. Afterwards that, Barish got a alarm from Warren Beatty; he was wrapping up Dick Tracy, and he was absorbed in abutting up. “Warren Beatty can allocution for three hours on the phone,” Barish says. “It was a annular conversation. So I never absolutely asked him and he never asked me. It was aloof a conversation. We ability accept had two.”

Beatty never came aboard. Sylvester Stallone was addition story.

“I begged,” Stallone told Larry Baron in 1993. “They saw me alfresco on my knees saying, ‘Please!’ ”

They had their stars. But they bald a bigger name.

Barish remembers, “[Earl] said, ‘I accept a name, but I’m not activity to acquaint you.’ He said, ‘You accept a name?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I accept a name; I’m not activity to acquaint you.’ ” As if in a arena from a movie, the two men said the name at the aforementioned time: Planet Hollywood.

The months afore the Manhattan aperture were a frenzy. Evan Todd, an abettor alive with Barish who had no curation experience, was brought in to aggregate backdrop and apparel to adorn the restaurants. Today, cine memorabilia is abutting to art—auctioned at celebrated houses like Christie’s. But for decades, cine backdrop were befuddled out afterwards filming, affective by whoever capital to booty them home, or repurposed by the art administration for addition shoot, abrogation them unrecognizable. In the backward eighties, bodies were aloof starting to pay absorption to set castoffs afterwards a brace of bittersweet slippers from The Wizard of Oz awash in 1988 for $165,000. Todd went to the studios to ask for donations—some would alone accommodate items, ambitious the appropriate to get them aback whenever they wanted. And he bought items that went up for auction, behest adjoin clandestine collectors. He dug about in aged attics, clammy garages, secondhand shops. He begin the ships from Ben-Hur in the average of a Nebraska cornfield. The ax Jack Nicholson wielded in The Shining, still caked in affected blood, was active in the aback of the garden afford of a guy who formed on the film.

“We asked what he capital for it,” Todd told the Los Angeles Times in 1995, “and he said, ‘Well, I’ll charge addition ax.’ That was an accessible deal.” Barish broke a complete acreage developer he’d met on a plane, Harry Macklowe, to advice acquisition a location. They acclimatized on Fifty-seventh Street, a abbreviate airing from Hard Rock. They congenital a screening allowance out of accursed bedrock below the architecture and assassin Anton Furst, the Oscar-winning set artist abaft Tim Burton’s Batman, to architecture the restaurant. Furst anticipation they were joking. But a accolade to the movies absorbed him, and he active on with the eyes of authoritative it aloof theme-y enough. His mandate, Furst told Esquire in 1991, was to actualize “a fun abode for the jeans brigade, not upmarket or smart.”

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They spent months—and $8 million, additional the amount of the screening-room construction—on the Manhattan restaurant. The banquettes were the aforementioned blush as those at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Palm copse brindled about the dining allowance recalled southern California. From Grauman’s Chinese Theatre they adopted the absorption of accession handprints from the stars. In animosity of the kitsch, they managed to actuate alike press-averse actors to get involved. Barish alleged Jack Nicholson, whom he’d formed with on Ironweed.

“Jack does not like to do those kinds of things. I said, ‘Jack, aloof do it.’ I said, ‘Jack, we’ll accelerate addition there with cement,’ ” Barish says. “He did it.”

Oh, yes, and there was a card to create. “Arnold capital his mother’s strudel recipe,” Earl says. “Stallone was consistently protein driven, and Bruce at the time had added interest, because of his background, in the bar side.”

In interviews at the time, it was promised that Schwarzenegger would be in the kitchen affable Wiener schnitzel. But aback the three adamant men did columnist for the restaurant, it seemed ablaze how abundant the card was an afterthought. “The day they can abate a meal to a pill, I’ll be happy,” Stallone said with a beam in a 1992 account with British talk-show host Michael Aspel. “I assumption it’s from accomplishing a abundant accord of training or whatever. Maybe it’s aloof genetic; I’m aloof not decumbent to bite a lot. It doesn’t go with my personality.”

Aspel followed up with the accessible question: “None of you fellas is abbreviate of a dollar, so why are you accomplishing this?”

“Greed,” Stallone, in a Planet Hollywood jacket, answered simply.

Everyone laughed.

“Kidding . . . well, array of acquisitiveness . . .” he went on. “It would be fun. And you know, it’s nice not to aloof be authoritative films all the time, to adventure out and accord with complete people.”

Public-relations administrator Bobby Zarem, who’d alien Barish and Earl, masterminded a media aberration afore the doors opened. Zarem, who claims acclaim for the “I Adulation New York” campaign, was abutting with abounding of the columnists about the burghal and knew celebrity was the key to coverage. The logo, an electric-blue planet affected with stars and the name of the restaurant emblazoned in blooming red on top, was everywhere in 1991. Zarem delivered Madonna a T-shirt with the restaurant’s logo, and she was photographed cutting it on a jog. Zarem auspiciously begged New York Post association columnist Aileen Mehle, who wrote below the nom de alias Suzy, to run a attempt of Knots Landing brilliant Michelle Phillips in the shirt. Aback New York ambassador David Dinkins was in the hospital, Zarem beatific a custom Planet Hollywood robe. President George H. W. Bush and Aboriginal Lady Barbara Bush got apparel as well.


When aperture night came on October 22, 1991, the burghal blocked off Fifty-seventh Artery except to limo traffic, and the celebrities started rolling in. Elton John accustomed in a amethyst printed clothing and a analogous hat alongside a bejeweled Donatella Versace. Donald Trump was there in a atramentous bodice with date Marla Maples (months afterwards his annulment from his wife Ivana). Chris Farley, Chris Rock, and Christian Slater airish calm for photos. There were the designers of the moment: Marc Jacobs, Isaac Mizrahi, Donna Karan. Don Johnson came with his wife, Melanie Griffith, forth with Patti D’Arbanville (his ex and the mother of his oldest son, Jesse) and her date. Wesley Snipes, Anna Nicole Smith, Glenn Close, Debbie Gibson, Cher. Kim Basinger, who has announced about her agoraphobia, bravely faced the crowds outside, afresh asked Barish if she could absorb the blow of the black in an abutting hallway. She reunited with her Blind Date costar Willis, who, in an billowing gray clothing with a analogous gray T-shirt, went onstage with the Accelerators, as promised. Aloof aloft the bank of aflame camera lights, accoutrements of admirers crabbed the artery screamed with anniversary new arrival. Some stars would accomplish their way over to assurance autographs or accord aerial fives. Schwarzenegger tossed T-shirts from the stage. “It was a madhouse,” says aloft account columnist R. Couri Hay. “There were accoutrements and accoutrements of bodies outside. I bethink it actuality worse than Flat 54 that night.”

The abutting day, The New York Times formed out the acceptable wagon. “For the aftermost ten years, we had bodies yammering abroad about aliment as art and wagging fingers about diet, and the real, basal accuracy about aliment got lost. Aliment is declared to be fun,” American Gourmet coauthor Michael Stern told the Times about the Planet Hollywood launch. “There are accoutrements of bodies accessible to eat peanut adulate again. There are millions of bodies who appetite to accept some fun.”

Earl and Barish anniversary attending aback on those aboriginal canicule a little differently.

“I didn’t apperceive if there’d be one or ten restaurants,” Barish says. “I absolutely never anticipation it would be a common phenomenon. No one could accept planned what it became.”

Earl says it was, in fact, absolutely what he’d planned. “I consistently anticipation it would be the admeasurement that it became, because that was my world,” he tells me matter-of-factly. “That’s all I did, augment bodies in ample numbers—visitors to a city, locals in the city—sell merchandise. I’m fabricated for that business.”

Despite the complete success, cracks showed early—portending what was to come. A few months afterwards the launch, Hard Bedrock cofounder Peter Morton filed a accusation gluttonous amercement adjoin Earl, who was still alive for Hard Rock, and the Planet Hollywood chain. Morton accused them of burglary barter secrets and creating a alternation agnate to Hard Bedrock “but of essentially lower quality.”

At the time, Earl alleged the accusation “a complete bloodbath.” The case was acclimatized out of cloister for an bearding sum, according to Vanity Fair, and today, he tells me, “I’m apparently adequately belligerent and it would all be in a day’s work.” He pauses, afresh adds, “I’m a sicko, so I was apparently adequate it.”

About two years afterwards the Manhattan opening, Demi Moore abutting Planet Hollywood officially—meaning she accustomed shares in the company. Added celebrities followed. Actors and behind-the-scenes people, like their agents and lawyers, connected to accept shares as an allurement to actualization up at openings and events. Added allowances included clandestine planes and air afar for biking to events. For the Minneapolis opening, Planet Hollywood took over an complete hotel, bought out every abutting room, removed all of the hotel’s furniture, and fabricated suites. The stars were put up in affluence hotels like the Halkin in London and promised invites to preparties and afterparties.

“The absorption of giving options or banal to flat bodies or to agents was to get their involvement, but at a assertive point we didn’t accept to. We didn’t do it anymore, because bodies were aloof advancing because it was acceptable for them,” Barish says. “They never said we accept to actualization up in so abounding states, but every one I could, I did,” says Tom Arnold, who accustomed shares. “My additional wife was on the way aback from [an event], and she flew aback with George Clooney. He got the alarm area he begin out he was Batman on the plane. . . . He was saying, ‘I am Batman.’. . . There were so abounding celebrities, it became like aerial school. You got to adhere out with the air-conditioned kids.”

The openings grew added elaborate. Steven Seagal accustomed at the one in Vegas on an elephant. Whoopi Goldberg was agitated in like Cleopatra. Planet Hollywoods opened in Moscow, Paris, Tel Aviv.

They kept absorption up by captivation screenings and memorabilia presentations. In Manhattan, the owners hosted a approved Sunday cine night for twenty-five or so VIPs in the bench theater. Instead of popcorn, they served carved turkey and buzz beef that bodies counterbalanced on plates while they watched. Once, Prince Edward showed up. “It became a thing. Let’s go to Planet Hollywood and see the cine Sunday night,” Barish says.

But the complete fun happened at the preparties—not at the blithely lit restaurants area the stars were on display. If an aperture was abreast a celebrity’s home, they would host a acquisition the night before. Prior to the 1994 Miami event, Stallone opened his home to anybody who came in for the occasion. Gloria and Emilio Estefan fabricated arrange for an astronomic paella to be served. Patrick Swayze had the accumulation over to his agronomical alfresco Dallas, area he anesthetized about plates of ribs beginning off the grill.

“It was absonant on the way [to openings]. Bodies were bashed up, man, as they should be. I begin that the added the bodies partied, the friendlier they were to the fans. Some were complete friendly,” Arnold says. “Then the ride home, bodies were mostly afraid over. They had accoutrements of merchandise, so we’d amount the alike up with all their merchandise.”

There already was a time, afore Instagram belief and absoluteness TV, aback the alone abode we approved association saw acclaimed bodies was in actualization onscreen, on Letterman, or in Bodies magazine. They seemed impossibly far abroad and glamorous. But at Planet Hollywood, they were appropriate there, in person: a supermarket-checkout acquaintance appear to life. Instead of account about celebrities in Us Weekly while affairs adaptable arctic pizza bread, you could eat that pizza aliment and see the stars in complete activity one table over. It was a living, barbaric mecca. Stars: They’re aloof like us.

Some of them absolutely seemed to adulation it. Stevie Wonder was a approved at several locations, and if a accumulation was in for a birthday, he’d accompany the servers serenading them. But the abode never absolutely nailed the afraid antithesis amid exclusivity and accessibility, at times accepted from one pole to the other. Flat active began to accuse that Planet Hollywood openings were cartoon added stars than their cine screenings. Already the A-listers got accomplished the agreeable hordes of fans, alone baddest photographers were accustomed central for the invite-only openings, which gave the stars a faculty of security. And admitting there was no clandestine access at any of the restaurants, at the Manhattan area there was a small, tucked-away atom alleged the Marilyn Room, area celebrities were offered aloofness if they capital it. Aback Nelson Mandela came by with Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte, that was area they ate. Aback the about press-shy Johnny Depp hosted a affair with Iggy Pop, who performed at Planet Hollywood at the Cannes blur festival, there was no media. The windows were blacked out to avert gawking passersby. As the nineties went on, the restaurants began aperture in abate and abate cities. And the blatant Manhattan flagship was starting to become accustomed added as a day-tripper atom than a celebrity haunt.

“The openings were a hot ticket. But alone on the aperture night. Alone on the private-screening nights. Alone on a specific affair night. That was it. And you went to see the stars,” says ex–gossip columnist Hay. “It was not El Morocco. It isn’t the Stork Club. It isn’t Elaine’s. It isn’t alike Cipriani or 21. It wasn’t a restaurant area bodies went to eat. It wasn’t Flat 54, area you’d go every night. At midnight, anybody in the apple was in the aback bar at Flat 54. It was never on my account of drop-bys. It was a photo op. No one’s activity to alpha accomplishing curve on the red carpeting aback you’ve got Entertainment Tonight or Hard Copy there.”

By 1993, Zarem had larboard the company. “There was no chic still in it. I brought chic to it,” he says. “That sounds like a complete arrogant affair to say, but it’s a fact.”

“I don’t bethink it anytime accepting a lot of class,” says Hay. “I aloof bethink the aliment got worse and worse and worse and worse until it absolutely became inedible. And if you were activity to go there for an event, you ate before, because you knew you couldn’t eat anything.”

In the mid-nineties, I visited the Orlando Planet Hollywood. I was about ten. I can anamnesis museum-cased memorabilia aloft my head—I don’t apperceive from which movie. Apparently commodity I wasn’t accustomed to see. It didn’t matter. These were real, complete backdrop from movies. And surely, I imagined, cine stars afraid out at this awash central-Florida restaurant all the time. I begged my parents for a T-shirt, which I captivated on to for years. At that point, Planet Hollywood merch was awful coveted. “For a friend’s son’s bar mitzvah, I managed to get Planet Hollywood to advertise me one of the official wool-and-leather jackets. They weren’t for sale, so it was a huge deal,” remembers announcer and columnist Linda Stasi. “When we gave it to him, bodies were actually auspicious and affecting it. The anorak was so attenuate at the time and Planet Hollywood was so air-conditioned that it was like giving a kid a solid-gold Rolex.” A best Planet Hollywood accoutrement anorak or adviser can go for as little as sixty dollars on eBay today.

Tourists still abounding into the flagship Manhattan restaurant. The delay was consistently at atomic twenty minutes. Sometimes it was a brace hours. Patrons complained, yet they waited abaft the clover braiding (a nice Hollywood touch) for the adventitious to sit beneath one of the fifteen jackets Schwarzenegger wore in The Terminator—even if Schwarzenegger himself was about never there. They consistently asked, though. “It was abundantly banausic for us, because there was a bureaucracy like there is at any added job,” says extra Natalie Zea, who formed as a hostess at the Manhattan Planet Hollywood in 1994. “The servers were above to us, because they’re the ones who got to collaborate on the break aback somebody [famous] would appear in. There was no complete behind-the-scenes. It was aloof so rote.”

On a night aback there wasn’t an aperture or a screening, it was like any added midlevel alternation restaurant area families in cutoffs clutching accoutrements of sixteen-dollar T-shirts paid about fifteen dollars a actuality for pasta with a abundant sauce. The bartender alloyed up big, bright, dank drinks, afresh put them on trays to be broadcast to the smoker and nonsmoking sections. The aforementioned twenty songs played over and over. “Girls on Film” by Duran Duran seemed to consistently be on.

“My alone complete anamnesis of [stars advancing in] is this bleared eyes of a complete alpine man actuality affectionate of swept through as I angle abaft the belvedere thinking, Oh, he’ll see me and be like, ‘You, hostess, there. Let me put you in a movie,’ ” Zea says. “Which, to be honest, is the alone acumen any of us formed there.”

Down in south Florida, the Miami restaurant- goers were afraid with celebrity cameos from time to time. Stallone bought a home on fourteen acreage overlooking Biscayne Bay in 1993 and would stop by the restaurant every few months. Schwarzenegger was there occasionally, too.

“Everybody was advancing there, hopeful to run into somebody famous,” says restaurateur Darin Rubell, who tended bar at the Coconut Grove beginning in 1993. “It was absolutely a big catechism amid the guests. I would say, ‘My God, that’s crazy. They were aloof actuality yesterday. You aloof absent them.’ ”

In April 1996, the aggregation went public, trading 22.6 actor shares as aerial as $32.12. It was the busiest day anytime for a Nasdaq antecedent offering. And in 1997, Earl was called one of Time’s Best Influential Bodies in America.

“It has abundant sex appeal. It may not last, though,” armamentarium administrator Neil Hokanson told the Los Angeles Times. “These things consistently go accessible aback they are at their complete best and usually get worse from there.” It got worse from there.

“It was a bad year. It was a bad time. It was a mistake,” says Barish. “It put accidental burden on the aggregation to abound on a annual basis. It was never meant to be that.”

There were already Planet Hollywood restaurants in best above cities, so they had to acquisition added means to aggrandize to accommodated the demands of actuality a about traded business. There would be retail stores, casinos, hotels—natural progressions of the brand—but Earl additionally saw Planet Hollywood toys and fragrances and capital to move accomplished blur into altered themes, like sports, music, and banana books. He saw the abeyant for added than three hundred restaurants worldwide. But by the end of 1996, Vanity Fair appear that Planet Hollywood’s profits for the aboriginal bisected of the year were bottomward to $4 actor from $12.7 actor the year before. The basal was falling out.

Copycat restaurants were bustling up all around. There was Country Brilliant with Reba McEntire, Clint Black, Vince Gill, and Wynonna Judd. Appearance Cafe, with models Naomi Campbell, Elle Macpherson, and Claudia Schiffer, opened in Rockefeller Center aloof bottomward the artery from the Manhattan Planet Hollywood. Steven Spielberg had Dive!, an underwater-themed restaurant with, yes, gourmet abysmal sandwiches. Hulk Hogan had Pastamania! Earl launched his own spin-offs to advice with advance aback Planet Hollywood ran out of places to accessible Planet Hollywoods. There was a sports offshoot, the Official All Brilliant Cafe, with Shaquille O’Neal, Andre Agassi, and Joe Montana. Aback Tiger Woods fabricated his aboriginal accessible actualization afterwards acceptable the Masters in 1997, it was at the aperture of Myrtle Beach’s All Brilliant Cafe. There was additionally an ice chrism chain, Air-conditioned Planet, with Whoopi Goldberg. Any air-conditioned agency associated with Planet Hollywood was melting. The banal amount plummeted, and bodies aloof weren’t activity aback to eat. In 1999, Los Angeles annual appear that same-store sales—a analytical agency in a restaurant’s abiding success—fell by 18 percent the antecedent year. And the aliment alone seemed to be accepting worse.

Schwarzenegger appropriate aptitude into the merchandise. Aggressive by how Tom Ford had adapted Gucci, he told Barish and Earl, “You’ve got to get a guy like that to architecture for Planet Hollywood,” Schwarzenegger anecdotal in his memoir. “You charge complete Planet Hollywood appearance shows that you can booty to Japan, Europe, and the Average East so that bodies will appetite to accept the latest Planet Hollywood stuff. Rather than consistently affairs the aforementioned old adviser jacket, the adviser anorak should change all the time, with altered kinds of buckles and with altered kinds of chains blind off it. If you accomplish the commodity abrupt and hip and the newest of new, you’ll see accoutrements of it.”

It seemed to Schwarzenegger that Barish and Earl were already overwhelmed. And it was too backward for any agleam new catch or alternation to save them.

Barish stepped abroad from the aggregation in aboriginal 1999. There were letters that his accord with Earl had soured—a detail neither wants to altercate now. Barish says artlessly of his leaving, “It was time for me to do commodity else.” And backward that year, Planet Hollywood International Inc. declared bankruptcy, calling for the closing of nine of its thirty-two U. S. restaurants and possibly added of its eighty locations worldwide. The defalcation aggressive blithely snarky account like bouldered k-o’d and arnold terminated.

The year 2000 started with Schwarzenegger, continued the brand’s better cheerleader, affairs his shares. In October 2001, the aggregation filed for defalcation again, two years afterwards the first. This time, the aggregation acicular to the abatement in tourism afterward the September 11 attacks. Planet Hollywood had started the nineties as a flashy, beginning idea. But as the abutting decade began, it appeared to be over, a antique of a ancient era. In October 2020, the Times Square location’s freeholder sued the restaurant for about $5 actor in contributed rent. Planet Hollywood denied the accusation and in acknowledgment filed a acknowledgment adjoin the freeholder gluttonous an adjustment from the cloister apropos the ambit of its obligations below the charter guarantee. A rep for the restaurant said, “No comment.”

Most of the actual Planet Hollywoods are still outfitted with memorabilia, which has been adapted through the years—though the L. A. airport area has bald walls. The logo got a makeover, but the Apple Acclaimed Craven Crunch charcoal a card staple. There are now over-the-top milkshakes, the affectionate that had a moment in the 2010s. One is topped with a allotment of cake. As Earl promised in 1996, he’s broadcast into resorts and casinos. In the aloft Aladdin resort on the Las Vegas Strip, he opened the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in 2007. Three of the four aboriginal bold-faced names were there—Stallone, Willis, and Moore—though alone Stallone and Willis were investors, according to The New York Times.

Britney Spears did her much-hyped, first-ever address at the resort’s AXIS amphitheater from 2013 to 2017, and the Orlando restaurant is still activity strong, according to Earl. Like the Manhattan location, the London Planet Hollywood has spent the accomplished year bankrupt due to the Covid pandemic. But in January, Earl opened Planet Hollywood Beach Resort Cancun, an all-embracing resort that includes “the PH Spa, aggressive by the Golden Age of Hollywood.” Aback you attending at the promotional abstracts for Planet Hollywood today, the activity stars accept been replaced by aliment personality Guy Fieri. And in talking to Earl, you’d never apperceive of the chain’s late-nineties implosion. Aback I ask what it was like for him aback two faces of the cast stepped away, he says, “When you say some of the stars stepped abroad . . . Bruce and Sly backward with me all the way, still.”

A rep for Stallone says, “Contrary to the affirmation by Robert Earl, Mr. Stallone is no best complex with Planet Hollywood.” (Stallone and Willis, who were effusive in their activity for Planet Hollywood throughout the nineties and during the Vegas aperture in 2007, beneath to be interviewed for this piece. A rep for Willis never responded to my analysis about the actor’s accepted captivation with the brand. A rep for Schwarzenegger didn’t acknowledge to assorted inquiries.)

Now, three decades afterwards that blatant Fifty- seventh Artery admirable opening, Earl says he wouldn’t change a thing. “I’ll acquaint you, not a regret, because we’re accomplishing absurd now that we’ve transitioned, as you know, into gaming and hotels,” he says. “But I’ve consistently thought, Oh my God, if amusing media had been about aback we launched. . .”

Earl cuts the alarm short—he has a affair for his son’s new venture, a restaurant in Los Angeles at the circle of Hollywood and Vine. “For me, one of the absorbing ends to the adventure is my son is now accomplishing his adaptation of it,” he says. “Arnold, Bruce, and Sly accept been replaced by a alternation of new agenda influencers with millions aloft millions of followers.”

Keith Barish and accompany at Planet Hollywood about 1991. Entrances to Planet Hollywoods in New York (left) and Disneyland Paris. Diners adore the ambient in 1997 (bottom right).

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Shriver, Elton John, Mr. Freeze, Arnold again, George Clooney, Batman, Sylvester Stallone, and Cindy Crawford.

Sly, Whoopi Goldberg, and Steven Seagal access in actualization at the Las Vegas Planet Hollywood aperture in 1994.

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