Earlier this year we brought you a clip from The Audition, the $70 million commercial that Martin Scorsese directed for City of Dreams Manila, a casino in Manila Bay, Philippines and Macau Studio City, another casino in Macau. Notably, it featured Scorsese with his two most frequent acting collaborators — Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio — for the first time, as well as a cameo by Brad Pitt. However, despite the full fifteen minute advertisement being pegged to premiere at the Venice Film Festival in September, the screening was pulled for “technical problems.”
Instead, the most expensive commercial ever created premiered in China on October 28 and then had a gala opening on November 3 in Macau with Scorsese, De Niro, and DiCaprio in attendance. DiCaprio had nothing but praise for his co-stars, saying, “The great honor for me is these two men are really like my two fathers in the world of cinema… The premise of this competition was very humorous for both of us because we’ve both done a lot of films with Mr. Scorsese so what would it be like if we both showed up at this casino competing for the same role but we didn’t know it yet. But for me, the great joy was finally getting to be on set with both of these guys.”
Curiously, Australian billionaire James Packer, who owns the Macau casino, claims that De Niro and DiCaprio did the commercial for free. That runs against earlier reports which said each actor was paid $13 million for his role, something that makes the $70 million price tag for the two-day shoot seem reasonable by comparison.