Meeting a Billionaire in Belfast

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Tonight I joined other journalists at the All Ireland premier of Belfast-born CS Lewis’ new Narnia movie, held at a waterfront arena called the Odyssey Center. A little while after we arrived and stood sipping champagne, a man entered who looked a little bit like Kirk Kirkorian. The deference with which the hosts treated him made me think he was a VIP. Like many others he had on a tux, but there was something about this older man with a stiff looking blond wife that intrigued me.

Later I saw him sitting on a couch, and as we chatted about who he might be, a man who was with him came up to me. He said I looked like somebody he’d seen in the movies. I was flattered, but had to ask–who is that older guy on the couch?

“That’s Phil Anschutz,” he said, “I work for him.” Anschutz is the money behind this movie, he’s a billionaire from Denver who believed in the Christian message of the movie and risked big bucks to see it made. I was introduced, and Anschutz told me that he’d like to make six more films, covering the entire Narnia series. I told him about seeing Lewis’ childhood home, and the prep school he attended in the city. I was probably the only one there who knew his name, and his friend confirmed that while Anschutz may indeed have 7 billion or more, he doesn’t like being in the news.

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Max Hartshorne
Max Hartshorne has been the editor of the travel website since 2002. Over the past decade, he has had the privilege of working with writers and publishing travel articles about nearly every country in the world. He has also been a consistent world traveler, writing hundreds of his own travel stories and posting daily blogs from the 10 or more yearly international trips he takes around the world.

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