Red Penguins (2019) Movie Script

[instrumental music]
[instrumental music]
Announcer 1: Yakushev
cutting right in front.
To make it seven to three.
Announcer 2: The best hockey
team in the world.
Announcer 3: And the Soviets
are still unbeaten.
The progress is almost
Announcer 4: The Soviet
hockey team was proof,
the Soviet system
was the best system.
Reporter 1: Top story, Soviet
president, Mikhail Gorbachev
has been removed from power
and there are tanks
in the streets of Moscow.
It is not clear
what that means.
[crowd chanting]
Yeltsin! Yeltsin!
Reporter 2: Moscow has not
witnessed scenes like this
since the Communist Revolution.
Reporter 3: You can't put
freedom and democracy
back into a box
and keep it contained.
Reporter 4: The Soviet Union
no longer exists.
Reporter 5: Boris Yeltsin
has taken over
as armed forces chief.
Reporter 6: Communism is out
and capitalism is in.
America won the Cold War.
Reporter 7: That poses
a question to the West.
Will the world
grasp the opportunity
offered by the ending
of the Cold War,
or let this truly historic
opening slip away?
Reporter 8: The saying goes,
"Those who don't learn
from history are destined
to repeat it."
Reporter 9: What is happening
to Russian hockey?
The money's drying up,
the fans are going away,
and so are the players,
to the NHL.
Announcer 5: Shot, scores.
Sergei Fedorov, first goal
in the National Hockey League.
Announcer 6: Mogilny,
a sensational play.
Announcer 7: They shoot better
and they skate better.
Thank you very much,
I'm very happy.
Announcer 8: The talent is
leaving by the thousands.
Reporter 10: The NHL's biggest
young stars
are made in the USSR.
Reporter 11: The future of Red
Army hockey is in question.
Now in Russia,
it's like any other business,
scrambling for a buck.
Will they survive?
[indistinct chatter]
Howard: What's that?
Do you want your
vodka chilled or not?
- Vodka?
- I'm bringing you vodka.
Oh, chilled,
because I'll just sip it.
If somebody had an idea that was
a little... different
or off the wall,
they might reach out
to Howard and say,
"Hey, here's a guy that's
crazy enough that might do it."
And so I got approached
and they said,
"Hey, we got a fun idea
for you,"
which was to invest
in a team in Russia.
He has an idea, okay, and says,
"What do you think?"
And it's my job to tell him
if it's too crazy.
If I think it's too crazy,
he probably doesn't do it, okay?
If I think
it's only a little crazy,
we're probably going to do it.
Tom: The Russians were looking
to get a partner
to help them pay the bills.
We couldn't believe that one
of the greatest hockey teams
was on the verge of extinction,
if that's possible?
This was the Soviet Union.
This was a vast country
with a history of hockey,
with an Olympic tradition
that went back for decades
of great teams and skills.
Announcer 9: And Kharlamov
racing away on a breakaway,
coming in on goal.
Kharlamov came out
of nowhere there.
Announcer 10: Circling back,
Fetisov, Larionov.
Makarov. He scores!
Tom: Hundreds of thousands
of kids playing all over
the country and being watched
and monitored.
And the question was,
would one of those players
be able to come and play
for the Pittsburgh Penguins?
Announcer 11: Two seconds,
the Penguins are going
to win the Stanley Cup,
I believe.
Chelios shoots it wide,
the Penguins
have won the Stanley Cup!
Tom: All we had to get
was one player.
Or be able to trade one player
or two players,
that would justify
what we were doing.
He saw this as a once
in a lifetime opportunity
to own one of the greatest
hockey teams.
Howard: When we first met
Gushin and Tikhonov,
the primary purpose of the
meeting was to make sure
we liked each other.
Tikhonov cared about
one thing only.
Play on the ice.
Announcer 12:
There's Victor Tikhonov,
one of the most successful
coaches of all time.
Not liked by his players,
but that doesn't seem
to matter.
Howard: He was a good old
hard line communist.
If anybody tells you different, they're wrong.
Tom: He was in the army,
It's a central sports club
of the army.
That's what CSKA means, what
we call the Red Army Team.
And in the old days,
he would just send, you know,
a request, money would come.
Now, money didn't come.
And he just, he suddenly woke up
one day
and didn't know how he was going
to keep that team going.
Howard: And Gushin was like
a GM that was...
Oh, how-- how do I say
this politely?
He was well-used,
old Gushin was.
[singing in foreign language]
[speaking in foreign language]
Howard: I mean, he'd been
around and seen that
and done that,
and I liked that.
So it wasn't very hard
to make this deal.
Now an American team has a stake
in Russian hockey,
rescuing an entire sport
from thin ice.
Howard: When we did the deal,
I said to Mr. Gushin,
"Trust me, I'll make you
a good capitalist." [laughs]
Hopefully, we will.
Reporter 12: The Red Army is 50 percent owned
by the Pittsburgh Penguins,
and a group of investors
that includes
NHL star, Mario Lemieux,
and movie and TV star,
Michael J. Fox.
Larry: Are you telling me
you own a piece
of the Russian hockey team?
You can't really call it
owning it
because it's the Russian
but we basically stepped in
and took over,
uh, a financial interest of the
central Red Army hockey team
in, uh, in-- in Moscow,
in Russia.
Larry: And you called them what?
Uh, well, they're called
the Russian Penguins.
[instrumental music]
Good evening.
It is one of the great gambles
of our time, the attempt to turn
the former Soviet Union
into a new free market economy.
Reporter 13: The risks of doing business in Moscow are obvious.
The opportunities, less obvious,
but they're enormous.
The results are out tonight...
Howard: There weren't people
lined up to go over there.
There was still people
that were apprehensive
about doing anything
with Russia.
So I figured if there's
ever a time
we might be able to do this,
it's now.
And so Howard said, "We're going
to need a marketing guy
because this is going to be
a whole new world."
Steven: They were looking
for a crazy young guy.
Somebody who was willing
to pack up and go to Moscow
for a couple of years.
Steven: Who wasn't afraid
to die in the new Russia,
not the traditional thinker.
So that's how I got it.
I had this special talent
of creating a firestorm
inside arenas.
So Howard said,
"Steven, how would you like
to go to Moscow
and work with the greatest
hockey team in the world?"
I got nothing.
He just seemed
like the perfect guy
to send on a venture like this.
Tom: It was the Wild West.
We were going in there
and he was a gunslinger
in the Wild West.
Director: But what does that
even mean?
That means
it could be dangerous...
but I also never worried
about that.
You know, at the beginning,
we didn't understand
the-- the risks. Okay?
We didn't understand
what the country was like
and what have you.
Howard: I mean, if your partner is the Red Army,
you'd think you would be safe.
But he had a lot of guts
going over there
and bringing out his
bag of tricks
to try to fill the building,
and to make us money.
Well, hang on a sec, I just,
I haven't done this in a second.
Now hang on.
Here we go.
Okay, wait. No.
Steven: Russia was an enigma
to all of us.
What went on behind
the iron curtain, nobody knew.
And I wanted to know.
So I went.
Al Gore: Take the risk and
begin investing in Russia.
We're behind you.
We want you to succeed.
This new relationship
has such enormous potential.
Reporter 14: American
companies are eager
to bring their products
to Russia.
Western companies are investing more and more each day.
Steven: You come into
Sheremetyevo Airport...
and there's this smell of death in the airport.
It's, I-- I think Marlon Brando
in "Last Tango"
called the ass of death.
That's what it smelled
like to me.
Roads were jammed.
Elevators weren't working.
Every aspect was difficult.
We worked on army grounds.
The arena where
the team played
was called The Ice Palace,
which was a complete misnomer.
It was a dump.
The lights were out.
Everything had been either
stolen or broken.
The plexiglass wrapping
around the rink,
you couldn't see through it.
And where we would
have super boxes,
there were electricians
and workers living in there.
They didn't even display their
great photos that they had.
There was a small trophy case
at the beginning
in the inside of the arena...
but for the most part,
it really looked like a
bomb had hit the building.
I expected that the country
would be somewhat functioning.
[crowd clamoring]
It turned out I was wrong.
[speaking in foreign language]
[man hammering]
Alexander: When we started
our first show,
there was one television in
the Soviet Union, one station,
serving four or six television
channels for the country.
They had a youth
programming department.
That's where this
show was invented.
[speaking in foreign language]
We did political journalism,
general, like, exchange
of different views.
We were different.
[speaking in foreign language]
Everybody understood the system
is in a deadlock
mentally, emotionally,
economically as well.
And suddenly,
this free market economy
comes and, like, spears
in their eyes,
and they don't know
how to deal with that.
[speaking in foreign language]
[speaking in foreign language]
Director: What about... What about the law enforcement?
It was weak. Law enforcement,
it was just weak.
Nobody cared... about people.
Everything which was done
for people
was in very bad shape.
Housing, health care,
even nutrition.
Food was very bad... not fresh.
A lack of food.
Steven: I ran the emotion
between being very excited
to be there and being
part of history,
but at the same time
also realizing
that this country
had just been crushed.
There was no pride left.
There were medical doctors
driving Zambonis
because they made more money
driving a Zamboni
than doing surgery.
The idea of an office to them
is even foreign.
There was no technology at all.
We had to bring everything in.
Every morning, I would go
into work freshly showered,
and wearing a new suit.
Everybody there was hung over
and wiping sleep
out of their eyes,
wearing the same clothes
from the day before.
It's literally going
to another world.
There was a club downstairs
called the Red Zone...
where they lowered women
in cages that were naked.
[men whistling]
I thought it was staged, I couldn't believe this was real.
Right in the hockey arena.
Yeah, yeah,
Man 1: Yeah.
- Crazy.
[upbeat music]
[speaking in foreign language]
[speaking in foreign language]
[speaking in foreign language]
Steven: They were
the landlords.
This is business to them.
What we were doing was just
completely ancillary.
Believe me, they needed money.
Without the government's
support, they were nothing.
Tom: They couldn't
buy uniforms,
they couldn't buy
hockey sticks.
The older kids would take
their jerseys off,
and if you've ever seen
a hockey jersey
after kids have played in it,
they would take them off
and they'd give it
to the next group of kids.
And then those kids
would play,
and they'd take them off
and give them to the next kids.
It was that dire.
Tikhonov, particularly,
he had no idea
that there were ways
to get money,
to create money with the team
and then use that money.
It was just not done.
They never had done it.
I mean, literally,
they were selling tickets
for what would be
a US equivalent of six cents.
So, I'm, uh... Uh...
Yeah. My name is Victor Gusev.
I'm commentator,
sports commentator
and anchorman, Channel One
which is a number one channel.
[telephone ringing]
Director: We don't mind
Victor: The Russian Penguins,
they were impossible in the
'60s, '70s, or the '80s,
almost impossible.
A joint venture between
the Soviet Union
and American like this. No.
So it was like an indication,
a very good
indicator of new things
happening in my country.
Steven: Victor Gusev
was the catalyst
for this joint venture.
[keyboard clacking]
He was fluent in Russian,
and he was my right arm.
Victor saved my ass
so many times
because of cultural mistakes
that I was about to make.
He was also very clever and he could drink with Gushin.
Victor: Like any Russian,
he becomes
even more friendly
when he's drunk.
So it helped a lot
when there were some problems.
I mean, everybody's drunk
in Russia.
[indistinct chatter]
Gushin was shit-faced
half the time.
[speaking in foreign language]
[crowd cheering]
The first thing in doing
any kind of branding is,
we had to change the brand.
All you had was CCCP,
and somebody might say,
"Well, what is that?
Did somebody... [laughs]
Did somebody get the
typewriter stuck?"
[speaking in foreign language]
[singing in foreign language]
[singing in foreign language]
Reporter 15: The hammer
and sickle
of the old Soviet uniform
has now been replaced
by a smiling penguin.
[instrumental music]
[speaking in foreign language]
[crowd laughs]
[speaking in foreign language]
[speaking in foreign language]
[speaking in foreign language]
Steven: A lot was at stake
on opening night.
The whole sports world
was watching
to see if Russia
and the United States
could collaborate.
It was a disaster.
Nobody was there.
They looked like a mausoleum.
[speaking in foreign language]
We had no idea
it was going to be this hard.
I looked at Gushin
and then I said,
"We are going to fill this arena
by Christmas."
And he looked at me and he said,
"Even Jesus Christ's
re-- reappearance..."
Uh, let me, let me
tell you again.
What did they call it
when He comes back?
Director: Resurrection.
- Resurrection. Yeah.
Okay, thank you.
My Jewishness is showing here.
Um, okay. So let me start...
It's an easy story.
I'll just start it again. Um...
I looked into Valery Gushin's
eyes, and I said,
"We will fill this arena
by Christmas."
And he said to me, "Not even
Jesus Christ's resurrection
could fill this building."
I'm Leif Peterson
in Moscow, Russia,
where some unusual Americans
are taking some unusual risks,
all in the name of capitalism.
I'll have that story coming up.
[speaking in foreign language]
Victor: Yeah, most
of Steve's ideas,
uh, really seemed wild to me.
Like, let's say...
Let's bring some strip tease
girls on skates.
Howard: They had a nightclub
and they had strippers.
So, Stevie figured, "Well, these
would make great cheerleaders.
Let's do some cheerleading here
and get the crowd excited."
Mm. I told him, "We can't do it.
Gushin and Tikhonov,
they would never allow it."
Well, they're not
on the stands.
They're in the dressing room
during the break.
So they won't even see.
"You mean, we shouldn't
tell them?"
"No, we're not telling them.
No, we just do it."
Steven: So we did,
and we outfitted them
in our uniforms and they would
skate behind the Zamboni,
pulling off layers
of their gear
until they were left in pasties and a G string.
[instrumental music]
[men whistling]
Victor: The ministry of defense
saw it,
and they thought it was like every game, in between periods.
[speaking in foreign language]
[speaking in foreign language]
We had nights
where we had free beer nights.
We had 14-, 15-, 16-year-old
kids drunk,
cheering on the team.
[crowd cheering]
Pittsburgh Brewing Company
was our sponsor,
and I was trying to figure out, "What can we do
to get attention
for their beer?"
The circus was in town,
so there were bears
in our basement.
I talked to the trainers,
and I said,
"Is it possible
to set up a restaurant cafe
on the ice and have the bears
come out as the waiters
and serve the beer?"
"Sure, we can do that."
The bears came out, there was
another bear sitting
at the table,
that he served,
and the bear took the beer
and guzzled the whole beer.
That was the good part of it.
The bad part is that
one of the legends of CSKA
was drunk downstairs
and was playing with the bear.
He kept saying,
plokhoy medved.
"Bad bear, bad bear,"
until the bear took off
half of his finger.
[elephant trumpets]
[crowd cheering]
The fans thought I was some
crazy American freak.
They were right.
I was the crazy American freak.
[speaking in foreign language]
Steven: We're going to have
a Gorbachev-Yeltsin
lookalike contest on the ice.
We're going to have bikini
contests in January.
Reporter 16: The younger
Russians love all of this.
The older Russians
are not so sure.
Bryant here's something
from Howard Baldwin to you.
- Just so you'll remember.
- Thank you so very much.
Good investment, bad investment?
Real quick.
Um, he's not going to make
much money out of it
but having a lot of fun with it.
Hey, that's half of life.
8:14, we're back in just...
Steven: They thought
we were crazy,
but people wanted to see
the freak show,
so they came,
and word
started to spread.
"What goes on
at the ice palace?"
People come out,
have a few beers,
laugh, dance,
and enjoy themselves.
We are the only arena
that has clean bathrooms
and free toilet paper.
They're issued two meters
of toilet paper
as they enter the bathrooms.
This is so that
they don't steal the rolls.
Tom: He got there,
he rolled up his sleeves,
he worked day and night,
and we started to see results.
[crowd cheering]
Steven: We just did whatever
the hell we wanted there,
and it was a freak show.
[dramatic music]
Reporter 17: It's becoming
hottest ticket in Moscow.
The Russian Army team
is on the ice
and Americans staging the show.
Man 2: We've got Russian
mini-sticks, Russian lighters,
Russian lapel pins,
Russian pennants.
We've got Russian hats,
T-shirts, sweatshirt,
pucks, almost anything
you could want.
Reporter 18: Baldwin and his
Russian counterpart,
Valery Gushin are selling
advertising space
on everything
but the player's underwear.
Victor: Before
the Russian Penguins,
we didn't have advertisements
on boards,
they were the first to put it.
And when people came,
they didn't know what to say
because the empty boards were
covered with advertisement.
Reporter 19: Companies pay
$12,000 each
to advertise on the boards.
$48,000 to be on
the team Jersey.
- Nice uniform.
- Wild, isn't it?
Reporter 20: You can even put
your logo on the ushers,
the concession
stand attendants,
or even the security guard.
Reporter 21: It'll cost you
For another $5,000 you can be
the exclusive sponsor
of the Gorbachev-Yeltsin
lookalike contest.
Steven: We would give away way
chocolates, Gillette razors,
Panasonic stereos.
You're getting real value
to come to a game.
We were this Petri dish.
We were a science project.
We had no idea it was going
to take off so quickly...
nor did the Russians.
[speaking in foreign language]
We became a phenomenon.
"What's going on?
What's this hip bird in Russia?
Why are these jerseys
selling all over the place?"
Tom: It was very optimistic.
The whole country
was optimistic.
I'm telling you, the
U.S.-Russian partnership
was going to be the model
for the future.
[instrumental music]
Steven: And that's how
Disney got involved.
Announcer 13: Now please welcome
the Professional Hockey League
All-Stars, Sergei Fedorov!
Steven: During the All-Star
game in Madison Square Garden.
Howard came up to me
and said...
"How would you like to have
dinner with Michael Eisner
tonight at the 21 Club?"
And we knew Michael Eisner
from the film business,
and he just came into the
league with the Mighty Ducks.
Mickey: Come on, Michael.
Follow me.
Steven: Michael kept
saying to me,
"Steven, what's going on
over there?"
And I told them one crazy story
after the other,
and he started to fall in love
with this whole concept.
Mickey: Oh, Michael.
Oh, boy!
He pulled a notepad
out of his jacket
and he said, "I got the plot
for "Mighty Ducks 5.""
"American team
goes over to Moscow,
American player falls in love
with Russian girl,
visas expire, governments
step in, love story.
Mighty Ducks 5."
Puts his paper back in.
And then he said to me, "How
much merchandise you selling?"
I said, "We're actually
doing really well.
We're out-selling
a few NHL teams."
And he looks at the logo,
he says,
"That's cute, but I think
it needs to be more bellicose.
Let Disney Imagineering
have a shot at it,
and we'll get back to you."
In a week, I got a stack
of logos.
Eisner realized this is a great
way to expand their brand
into Russia as well.
He said, "We're looking
at a $100 million
licensing property here."
Mickey: Oh, boy!
I'm gonna be rich!
You can imagine
how excited we were
with this little tiny team, and
now Disney had a big interest.
So, I remember on the way out,
Howard said to me,
"Stevie, do you think it's going
to be $100 million?"
And I said,
"If he's off by $90 million,
it's still a hell of a year."
Announcer 14:
Esteemed hockey fans,
the National Hockey League
and the Mighty Ducks
celebrate a new era
in sports entertainment!
Steven: Eisner talked about
doing a Saturday morning show.
We were going to tour
every year.
They were going to put us in the Disney stores.
They were offering Gushin
and Tikhonov
a $100,000 a year salary,
trips to
the All-Star game every year,
trips to Anaheim every year.
Living the good life.
Man 2: It's a Disney World,
isn't it, Michael?
I can't help myself.
I'm just a salesman at heart.
Howard: And Stevie sending him
an email saying,
"Dear Comrade Eisner,
Comrade Warshaw here."
And Michael is
probably wondering,
"Who the hell is he?"
And I did say, "Now look, Steve,
we got to cut this crap out.
Not everybody gets you."
They said you're a weird
little bastard.
He just had a personality
that you couldn't squash,
but it got Disney
thinking of investing.
Steve was joking, he was joking
with everybody.
He'd have problems
joking with people
from Ministry of Defense
and patting them on the back,
and Gushin and Tikhonov
took his eccentricity
for a desire to become bigger.
[speaking in foreign language]
Patting a big general
on the back
meant to Gushin that Steve
wants to take his place.
But no, it was
the nature of Steve.
That's it.
My nickname with the team
that was actually given to me
by Viktor Vasilievich Tikhonov
was Zhopa S Rootchkoi.
[speaking in foreign language]
Which translates to
"Asshole with a handle..."
Which is nonsensical
even in Russian.
And it was this weird
kind of a relationship.
One night
I was drinking with him
and we had too many vodkas
and he started bearing
his soul to me
and he said, "We love you,
Zhopa S Rootchkoi,
but we can never trust you
because you're an American."
And with that, I noticed
he's got blood
dripping into his canned meat
offering me canned meat
with his bloody hands.
We were two totally
different people.
[speaking in foreign language]
For some insane reason,
they were so paranoid
that the Americans were trying
to screw them.
Then, all of a sudden,
a beautiful sauna popped up
right in the arena
with marble that was imported
from Italy,
and it was about $100,000.
How did all this money come in?
They were stealing from us,
$100 here, $200 here.
And this became a trend.
[speaking in foreign language]
We had partners that we didn't
trust completely, yes.
You know, the complications
start to set in,
the fact that they don't do
business the way we do.
But eventually, we thought
we could stop that.
Howard: And so I figured, okay, I'm going to punish him.
We need to have
a command meeting.
So, I don't know
how long it took him
to come from Moscow to LA.
It had to be 24 hours,
and I figured will his
punishment will it be
he's exhausted.
So, it's Saturday morning...
We lived up on
the Hollywood Hills here.
[doorbell rings]
And the doorbell rings,
and it's Gushin with his bag
and says, "I'm here."
Director: What was he like
when he was at your house?
Oh. He sat by the pool
the whole day.
We lived right next to Madonna. He loved that.
And I said, "Look, you got to,
we got to watch the dollars.
You've got to respect us
as partners."
"Yes, yes, yes, I'm sorry,
from now on, that'll be
different," you know.
And he was exhausted.
"Oh, sit down."
Here we turn on the TV,
and the White House
back there in Moscow's
being bombed.
[siren wailing]
Reporter 22: On the streets of
Moscow, Russians are watching
events unfold with disbelief.
Thick clouds of smoke
were billowing out
the Parliament building
after the pounding
from Yeltsin's tanks,
as those inside contemplated
All watched by thousands of bystanders risking their lives.
Reporter 23: Yeltsin dissolved
Congress Tuesday
after months of
political infighting
over who should rule, the
President or the Parliament?
Reporter 24: With tanks
surrounding the White House,
Yeltsin's troops stormed
the building again on camera.
Reporter 25: Okay, look,
I can see men going into
the Russian White House now.
It appears to be
a show of force
by President Boris Yeltsin
against his conservative
opponents in Congress.
Our state, he had
no administration.
[indistinct radio chatter]
Everybody started
to defend themselves.
Everywhere people were
doing what they wanted.
Some of them took guns,
some of them just stayed away.
[speaking in foreign language]
[speaking in foreign language]
[indistinct radio chatter]
[speaking in foreign language]
[siren wailing]
Reporter 26: If there is good
news in Russia tonight,
it is that
it can't get much worse.
Reporter 27: The country has
gone from extreme control
to virtually no control.
Chaos and freedom have taken
its toll
on the Russian people.
Stability is what people want.
[speaking in foreign language]
[yelling in foreign language]
Alexander: And that night I-- I was on television saying,
"Stay in your houses.
Don't go to the streets
because there are fights,
and there is fire.
Or you're going to be killed."
They didn't like it,
and they abandoned me
for-- for half a year, I think.
And since then, they didn't let
me make a show, uh, on politics.
[indistinct chatter]
[speaking in foreign language]
Yeah, I was there for that.
[instrumental music]
We drove down
to see what was going on,
and it was right out of
a third world takeover.
Did you feel scared a little?
Steven: You know I was
a young, crazy kid
with a big old head of curls
and no care in the world,
and, um, I didn't think twice
about it.
So yeah start wearing purple
Wearing purple
Start wearing purple
for me now
All your sanity and wits
they will all vanish
I promise
it's just a matter of time
Well, as you know,
there's no rules in Russia.
That's our slogan,
and, uh, we get away
with everything except murder.
Steven: It's a crazy world,
and we took advantage of it.
Director: But were you guys
worried about the health
of Russia or were you worried
about the Pittsburgh Penguins?
Neither. I was just...
All I wanted to do was to create
something beautiful in sport.
So Vio-- Vio-- Violetta!
[singing in foreign language]
So yeah hu haa hu haa
Start wearing purple
wearing purple
La la la la la
Start wearing purple
for me now
All your sanity and wits
they will all vanish I promise
It's just a matter of time
It's complete chaos.
I would always talk to him,
not when anybody was around.
I'd say, "Steve, you know,
should we be worried?
Should we be doing something?"
and he would say,
"I think it's okay,
but I'll let you know."
And I said, "Please, for God's
sake, if you're at any point
if there's really a risk,
you got to let us know
because this is not
what this is all about."
[speaking in foreign language]
Steven: When Howard
flew over to Moscow
to check on his investment,
he came with a Disney
representative, Kevin Gilmore.
We-- we were told that we had
to be very careful to go over,
and we even went to the length
of renting a plane.
We didn't wanna fly commercial.
So, we had the pilot in a hotel
right by the airport,
and the idea was
he was gonna call
in case we had to get
out of there fast.
Howard hired a Special Forces
guy to protect him for the trip,
who actually walked out
onto the windowsills
of his fifth floor hotel room to
make sure no one could come in
during the night.
Howard loved this intrigue.
It was sort of like a Russian
spy novel for him.
You know, for me, it was just
going to work every day.
Tom: You know, our drivers,
because we had drivers
didn't want to stop at lights
or whatever,
and they told us,
you can't stop at lights
because you're most likely going
to get kidnapped.
Or, if you did get stopped
by the police,
you wouldn't be kidnapped, but
you had to pay them immediately.
And so we just reached
into our wallets
and gave him $100 and moved on.
Steven: I would ask my driver,
"What was the charge?"
"You're an asshole."
That was the charge.
They didn't need a charge,
they would just pull you over
and arrest you.
[speaking in foreign language]
People want to be rich.
They fight for resources.
You fight for what
you have around.
[speaking in foreign language]
[laughs] Wild days.
[speaking in foreign language]
[instrumental music]
[speaking in foreign language]
Tom: It's a culture and it's a
culture that's 1000 years old
in whatever period of time.
If we think we're gonna change
that culture business-wise
overnight, we're sadly mistaken.
And we saw the kind of people.
I mean...I don't know.
We went to a restaurant one day
and I thought
I was in a 1930s movie.
Everybody else in the place
had bodyguards
and, literally,
you could see weapons.
You weren't supposed to have
a weapon there.
Howard and I kinda looked around
and thought,
what is this all about?
They brought out a sturgeon,
a gigantic sturgeon,
then they, they auctioned
it off.
So Howard turned to me, I'm the
guy about the numbers, and said,
"You know, should we be bidding
on this?"
I said, "No, no,
we keep a low profile.
Those boys want the sturgeon,
those boys get the sturgeon."
We don't understand
the rules here.
We have to be a little bit
And when we were there,
we were getting good press,
we were on TV
and what have you.
And we get an invitation
from the army
to come and visit.
It was an invitation,
but it was not one
we really could turn down.
So, Howard and I went
with Billy, our bodyguard,
and Paul, our bodyguard.
Howard: Gushin and Tikhonov
prepped us
for the meeting,
and we went in.
It was like going into a vault, within a vault, within a vault.
Tom: As we come into the room,
all the doors close
and at each door is a guy
with a machine gun.
And we weren't sure if they were
protecting us or keeping us in,
but there we were.
And in walks the General.
And he was not a... He just seemed like he's in a bad mood.
[speaking in foreign language]
And then, I said,
"It's an honor to be here."
I gave him my little speech
and there's a deadly silence.
All of sudden,
he takes his fist. [chuckles]
I think, this guy might be
hitting me.
And he took his fist
and he pounded it on the table.
Howard: I look at Tom and he's
ready to go home. [laughs]
Tom: He was telling us that
maybe there was American money
and what have you,
but this was the army's team
and it was always gonna be
the army's team.
And then he looks at Tikhonov,
who still was
a full bird Colonel, or whatever
the equivalent is over there...
Tom: And said that if they
didn't do what they were
supposed to do,
they could still be
shipped off to someplace else.
Howard: Then, he looks
at Gushin, and he said,
"Gushin, you're so drunk
all the time."
He said, "It's about time
that you served in the army."
Now, Gushin couldn't
as much laced up a boot,
much less serve in the army.
And then, at some point,
he sort of dismissed us.
The guys at the door
with the machine guns
opened the doors and we left.
Howard: So now we go back
to their office
and these guys start
lacing down the vodka
like you couldn't believe.
"Oh, thank God, that's over!"
they said. [laughs]
That was our meeting
with the Minister of Defense.
The rest of the trip was great.
[instrumental music]
[speaking in foreign language]
[instrumental music]
Steven: During the break
in the Russian season,
we took our team
on a 14 city marketing tour
to play the International
Hockey League.
We took these young kids,
that had never even been out
of their own hometowns,
into America.
We took them to Disneyland.
They were, literally, having the greatest time in the world.
At the same time, they didn't know the cultures, the customs.
They didn't know how to act.
It was just a comedy of errors.
Steven: I remember one day,
one of the kids showed up
without his jacket,
$200 beautiful
Russian Penguins jacket
that I made for the team.
I asked him what happened
to his jacket and he told me,
"Well, I traded it for a sexual
favor after the game."
[instrumental music]
Announcer 15: The Russian
Penguins are not looking good.
Victor: The team wasn't
the CSKA of the past.
Announcer 16: They're looking
more and more like an army
of penguins.
[crowd chanting]
Announcer 16: Another loss
for the Russian Penguins.
Viktor Tikhonov looks like
somebody kicked his dog.
He's not used to this.
Victor: Viktor Tikhonov
was very disappointed
with the players he had.
By that time,
Russia's Soviet best players,
they moved to the NHL already.
It was upsetting
to Tikhonov and Gushin.
They felt like they had been
raped by the NHL.
Director: If the team was bad,
then why was Disney interested
in investing?
Eisner didn't care
about the hockey.
Eisner's a marketing guy,
we were marketing guys.
And so he was really
not concerned with the quality
of play on the ice.
They wanted to have
a royalty deal and they wanted
to have a deal that if a movie
was made, how that would work.
That was just going
to be a good thing for hockey,
a good thing for us. More money.
Male narrator: Order the jersey or the cap and receive
a free Russian Penguin mini
hockey stick by calling now.
Join the revolution.
Uh, the idea was that, yes,
you don't have star players,
but we have to make the stars.
We need the stars
for the sponsors,
for the media, for the press.
You have Sasha Kharlamov, who is the son of Valeri Kharlamov,
a hockey hero.
And Tikhonov and Gushin
were saying,
but he's not
a good hockey player.
But Steven Warshaw said,
"Who cares? He's Kharlamov.
We have to do,
we have to make him a star."
And the Russians side
they couldn't understand it,
but he doesn't play very well.
Well, he's great.
He is the great player. Let's
start with this. [chuckles]
Tikhonov kept talking about
the essence of it.
That the essence is hockey
and if there's no hockey,
no sense doing something
around it.
They didn't want any of this,
they didn't want
any of the madness.
They wanted pure hockey.
Victor: And sometimes he was
even irritated, like I said,
with all this American Western
farce around nothing.
We had to convince him
that it's the only way
for CSKA to survive.
So we created the world's first
endorsement for a Russian.
Viktor Tikhonov
for Vick's Cough Drops.
Vik for Vick's, obviously.
[crowd cheering]
[speaking in foreign language]
[speaking in foreign language]
Steven: And that television
commercial ran
thousands of times.
Director: Did he like
the commercial?
- At the end of the day?
- He did.
He needed a makeover
and this was
a great thing for his
[speaking in foreign language]
Steven: Without us,
he didn't have players
and he didn't have ice
and he didn't have equipment
and he didn't have jerseys
and he didn't have tours.
Al Gore: While you can't
anticipate the obstacles,
they can be overcome
if you have imagination
and persistence.
Attendance for the new Moscow
Penguins is up 400 percent.
I went to a hockey game,
they do an excellent job
of presenting the game
to the audience.
[speaking in foreign language]
Reporter 28: We are Penguins
now, he says,
but in our souls,
we are Russian Bear.
Howard: It's like anything
Something you do and it works
and it gets a lot of attention,
everybody then wants to get
in on the act.
Victor: Some small
Russian companies,
they started coming in,
because they saw the success
and they wanted to have
some part of it.
Tom: They were all companies
that were buying boxes
and stuff like that,
but we weren't quite sure
who owned the companies.
This-- this was the mob.
Guys would come into the arena
with long trench coats
and sawed off shotguns
under them.
[speaking in foreign language]
Steven: One night,
we made an announcement
that one fan
is gonna drive away
in a Jeep... guaranteed tonight.
And the place went crazy.
Finally, we were down to
two guys after a shootout.
One of the keys would open
the door, the other wouldn't.
And the kid on the passenger
side pops the door open,
starts going crazy.
The fans went nuts.
He was so scared that he was
gonna be robbed that night
and have his car stolen,
that he negotiated a deal
with the dealer on the ice
and actually got $10,000 cash
instead of a $30,000 car.
One day, we got a phone call
that the tax police
were in their offices. And we
said, w-- what does that mean?
And he said, well,
there were literally guys
with machine guns
in there
and they wanted money.
Steven: And if you didn't pay
them, they would hijack
your trucks,
they'd steal your product,
and they would destroy
your business.
And so we said, well,
what can we do?
We can't... You know, we'll try
to help out,
but we just can't ship
money to you, you're in a room,
a closed room
with guys with machine guns.
Director: Was it part of
the government or was it,
maybe, some other entity here?
Who-- who knows.
[speaking in foreign language]
Reporter 29: There are so many
troubles here on so many fronts,
including a new degree of fear
about corruption and crime.
Reporter 30: Guns are being sold
in increasing numbers.
Reporter 31: The underworld
now controls
40 percent of the nation's
Reporter 30: Nearly 60
major figures
have been victims of contract
killings in the past year.
It got dangerous.
I mean, one of the concessions
guys was machine gunned
outside our building.
This doesn't happen, typically, in, you know, New York
or Chicago or Montreal.
You don't usually have your
concession guy shot down.
[speaking in foreign language]
Steven: All the Russian hockey
players told me.
They said, you know,
you wanna be friends
with these mafia guys.
You want to win them over.
Tom: We became concerned.
One of the things we were
concerned about was,
literally, you know, his safety
and the safety of
our people there.
We always would say
the same thing to him,
"Are you in danger?"
[speaking in foreign language]
Victor: Friends of Gushin,
they started coming in,
saying that you are being
cheated by the Americans.
They even approached me,
saying that,
"You are getting this small
amount of money
and you should be getting
three times as much.
And if we take over,
everything would be different
for all of us." They even
managed to talk Gushin into it.
Uh, Gushin had very big
influence on Tikhonov,
in terms of things
around hockey.
And if they convinced Gushin,
he immediately would convince
[intense music]
Steven: I'll never forget,
we had Nike coming in
from all over the world.
And it was a Nike night
and we had Nike promotions.
Tikhonov and Gushin cut
Nike's logo out of the ice
and tore their signs up
and their rink boards,
and replaced it with Adidas.
And I got in the next morning
and I looked at them and I said,
"Why would you do this? They're
paying us $100,000 a year.
Why would you take money
out of your own pockets?"
And they said,
"Because it's our fucking team."
He did it to prove his power.
[music continues]
It was serious business.
And when people are doing
serious business,
they show different sides
of their characters.
They had a guy from the mafia
who worked for a company
called Mikrodin, sit
in my office every single day,
watching everything I did,
photocopying everything
I sent out.
I once asked Valery Gushin,
"Who are they?
What do they do?"
He said, "Don't ask questions
or you'll be hanging
from your thumbs
by the top of the arena."
[speaking in foreign language]
What I loved about Gushin is,
he had a contagious laugh.
He had a great laugh, despite
being a real vicious guy.
He had this really soft side
about him.
The same with Tikhonov.
But they tried to destroy us,
so it's hard to be in love
with somebody
that's trying to kill you
all the time.
[speaking in foreign language]
[speaking in foreign language]
Director: Did you know that
there was sort of
mafia around the building?
No, not 'til the end. I wasn't
paying that much attention.
We were doing the movie
in Pittsburgh
called "Sudden Death."
Male narrator: Tonight,
17,000 hockey fans
have been taken hostage,
but only one of them knows it.
I'm gonna try to stop you.
[dramatic music]
Male narrator: Now he has more
to lose than anyone.
"Sudden Death."
Yeah, it was a little crazy,
especially when we, you know,
got introduced
to our future partners.
Howard and I had
one particular meeting
with, uh, Gushin and Tikhonov.
They came to New York and we
got introduced to somebody
who, we were told,
was their partner.
See, everything was 50:50.
So we had our 50 percent was
the Pittsburgh Penguins,
theirs was supposed to be
Gushin and Tikhonov.
And all of a sudden,
they introduced us to somebody
who they said was now their
partner, on their piece.
To me, these guys,
they weren't telling me
that there would be
three parts in it.
No, no, they were telling me
that now Pittsburgh was out.
They did their job.
They played their role.
We thank them very much for
arranging everything for us,
but now they're cheating us,
because they're getting
all the money from it.
And I knew it was a lie, because
Pittsburgh was not getting
any money from it. They were
paying, they were losing money.
Director: Did you get a bad
feeling from them of--
Yes. Um...
There is no question
that you were in there
at your own risk,
if you weren't going to play
their game of paying people off.
And there is no question, they
were there looking for a payoff.
Steven: We felt like
we were losing control.
Tom: And we were concerned
about the safety of our money.
You know this was
a big investment.
Steven: I said
to Valery Gushin,
we're expecting you to steal
$100,000, $200,000 a year.
But you stole a million
from us last year,
and our fears were that Disney,
uh, would be the next victim.
Our last resort was to,
was to ask
for help from the Russian army.
We needed them
to protect Disney,
to make Disney certain that
there was no risk involved.
[speaking in foreign language]
[speaking in foreign language]
[speaking in foreign language]
Director: But I mean, if you're
protected by the army, why--
See the point was we weren't.
What we realized is we thought,
you know,
that they would
take care of us. No.
The system there, there were
the army took care of itself,
and then there was this
other group of people,
you know, which I don't know,
we identify as,
what we would call the Mafia.
And businessmen, or is
what they call businessmen.
So, the army was not gonna
protect us from them.
- And we thought that--
Director: Why?
Director: I mean,
they're the law enforcement.
Well, it's not,
this isn't like we have here.
[speaking in foreign language]
Steven: The Mafia, they were
the banks.
They were everything.
It was the business structure.
[speaking in foreign language]
[speaking in foreign language]
[speaking in foreign language]
[speaking in foreign language]
[speaking in foreign language]
Director: Dmitry.
[speaking in foreign language]
Director: Are they telling us
I've got to get out of here...
[speaking in foreign language]
Dmitry, are we alright?
Producer: Keep on walking.
They think it might be a bomb.
Director: Jesus Christ.
That's scary, dude.
Producer: Yeah. I know...
[speaking in foreign language]
How you control people? There're
two ways of controlling them.
Greed and fear.
If you, if you don't have greed,
like generally
as your way of control,
fear is the one,
the only one you have.
[speaking in foreign language]
Alexander: The show was banned
very many times.
Every week was a fight.
Director: Did you ever feel
Yeah, I was threatened.
I felt threatened all the time.
I was attacked.
They opened criminal cases
against me.
Director: Who is they opened
criminal cases?
The state.
[speaking in foreign language]
[speaking in foreign language]
[speaking in foreign language]
[instrumental music]
Steven: I don't think the
Russians really ever got it.
They didn't get it,
'cause if they got it,
they would have
become commercial
and they would have ridden
our coattails
to, you know, as-- as
Michael said, $100 million.
[instrumental music]
Well, I can call Michael
for you. He may...
I don't know why he would have
said that
because he would remember this.
He would remember this.
So on one hand, our major
economic reason, you know,
was being taken away from us.
And then we had on the other
hand, the strange partner
getting introduced to us
and so we said,
"Well, this is not...
We have to stop this."
Remember, at this point looming
was the fact that we thought
we'd be getting players
and what have you.
By the way, that stopped.
That was the other reason
we had to get out.
All the teams complained because
they were worried that the--
Director: All of which teams?
- The National Hockey League.
They said to the commissioner
and said "You can't let these
guys do it." Because they
suddenly realized we were gonna
get all the good
Russian players.
And what happened of course is
Stevie was so successful
that they wanted to hire him.
Steven: They came to me
and said,
"Why don't you come and work
with the Mafia?
You don't need Pittsburgh.
We'll take care of you."
Offering me women
and drugs and an apartment.
And I asked them how much
they were going to pay me.
And it was actually less
than the Penguins.
So I said, "You idiot, I can get my own women, my own drugs.
Why would I take less money
and work for you
when I can enjoy my life and get
more money with the Penguins?"
And they said, "Well if you
don't, we'll kill you."
And I said, "Really?
How much is a hit on my life?"
He said, "$6500."
It was enough to tell me to get the hell out of Russia.
[crowd cheering]
Not too long after we left,
four major figures in our
hockey sphere were killed.
Our team photographer
took a photo of a table,
but behind that table
was a big mobster
who thought
he was in the frame.
So the next day,
on his way to work,
he got five bullets
in his head.
Alexander Osadchi was
a San Jose draft pick.
Found him in his apartment dead one morning.
No trace, no bruises, nothing.
Just dead.
[speaking in foreign language]
[speaking in foreign language]
The Mafia actually killed
one of our assistant coaches
one day.
They were laying in wait
in the parking lot
and they put five bullets in his
head right in front of his wife.
The head of the Russian Hockey
Federation, Valentin Sinch
was also gunned down.
Who knows what would have
happened if we had stayed?
That could have been us.
[speaking in foreign language]
[instrumental music]
Vladislav Listyev.
It's an awful story for me.
Director: Were you a close
friend of his or...
Still not understanding
why that happened.
Because I don't know.
Victor: If you compare
these business killings
to the killings under Stalin,
you cannot compare it.
This criminality and...
all the things you mentioned.
I just accepted them
as something inevitable,
but, but we have to live
with it and I was so happy
that the whole thing
with the Soviet Union
and communism was over.
That I was ready
to accept anything.
[instrumental music]
[speaking in foreign language]
[speaking in foreign language]
The pre-eminent mission
of our new government
is to give all Americans
an opportunity.
[speaking in foreign language]
[speaking in foreign language]
Director: Did you get any, last
night, did you sleep much?
I n-- I never sleep.
So it's a normal night. Yeah.
Director: You never do?
I told you this condition
is killing me, too. Yeah.
[shutter clicking]
[speaking in foreign language]
Look, here's a guy.
Oh, shit, no light on.
Although I can't prove it,
I'm quite certain that
I got a toxic multi-nodal goiter
in my neck that's choked
my thyroid from my stint
in the former Soviet Union.
And, uh, I'm suffering
to this day.
[speaking in foreign language]
Steven: It's the most
ambivalent feeling
I've had in my life because I
fell in love with somebody
that didn't love me back.
[instrumental music]
Start wearing purple
wearing purple
Start wearing purple
for me now
All your sanity and wits
they will all vanish I promise
It's just a matter of time
So yeah start wearing purple
wearing purple
Start wearing purple
for me now
All your sanity and wits
they will all vanish I promise
It's just a matter of time
I know you
since you were a twenty
I was twenty and thought
that some years from now
A purple little little lady
will be perfect
For dirty old
and useless clown
So yeah start wearing purple
wearing purple
La la la la la la la
Start wearing purple
for me now
All your sanity and wits
they will all vanish I promise
'Cause it's just
a matter of time
I know it all from
Diogenis to the Foucault
From Lozgechkin to Paspartu
[singing in foreign language]
Start wearing purple
wearing purple
Start wearing purple
for me now
All your sanity and wits
they will all vanish I promise
'Cause it's just
a matter of time
So yeah uh ah uh ah
Start wearing purple
wearing purple
Start wearing purple
for me now
So why don't you start
wearing purple?
Why don't you start
wearing purple?
Start wearing purple
For me now
All your sanity and wits
they will all vanish I promise
'Cause it's just
a matter of time
So Vio-- Vio-- Violetta!
[singing in foreign language]