DENICE SHAKARIAN HALICKI
Denice Shakarian Halicki runs her companies, franchises, and brands with faith and strength of believing.
She is a Producer and the gasoline behind the 2000 box office hit, “Gone in 60 Seconds,” starring Nicolas Cage, Angelina Jolie, Giovanni Ribisi and Robert Duvall and of course Eleanor the star car character.
Denice and Eleanor WON a Ninth Circuit Ruling in 2008, with a Published Opinion by Judge Miner… setting new copyright law protection for car character’s look/image as they appear in their movies, television and comic books against infringers. Which helped the Batmobile’s look/image to be copyright protected against counterfeit infringers in its 2015 Ninth Circuit Ruling WIN, with a Published Opinion by Judge Sandra S. Ikuta… where she quotes from 1966 Batman TV Series: As Batman so sagely told Robin, “In our well-ordered society, protection of private property is essential.”
Denice was born and raised in Southern California into a prominent dairy family. Her Armenian great-grandfather Isaac started with 3 cows and built Reliance Dairy into the world’s largest privately owned dairy chain in Southern California. Her grandfather Demos Shakarian founded in 1953, the world-renowned Full Gospel Businessman’s Fellowship International. Today under her father Richard’s leadership as International President FGBMFI represents over 142 nations. Denice’s mother’s family originated from Norwegian missionaries whose pilgrimage led them to China. Both worlds exposed her to global leaders within politics, business and religion.
Denice attended Oral Roberts University. While pursuing an academic life, she acted as the “television ambassador” to the president of the university and founder Oral Roberts. Hosting such personalities as Bob Hope and Natalie Cole. She also modeled and spent time speaking to youth groups and women’s organizations throughout the country.
In 1983 Denice met the Man who would change her life forever. Sparks flew for 6 years then on May 11, 1989 she married H.B. ‘Toby’ Halicki – known to his friends, fans and the film world as “The Car Crash King.” During their courtship and engagement, Denice became a businesswoman, helping Toby run his business empire, learning the “ins” and “outs” of the film, real estate, automobile and the merchandise world.
Toby had one of the largest toy and car collections in the world, it was the size of a football field, surrounded by an authentic old western town with hidden doors. When Toby would drive to work, he would drive his car into his office and park it by his desk.
Denice and Toby would travel the world, collecting cars, rare merchandise and collectibles. She learned about the merchandising business and how the Movie and TV studios, sometimes made more money off the merchandise than the production its self. This served her well,
After their honeymoon, they began to shoot a new Gone in 60 Seconds in 1989 which was not a remake, sequel or based off the 1974 Gone in 60 Seconds. Toby Halicki wanted a new bigger story, this was about a professional international thief; specializing in high profile jobs, with Denice to play Alaska Wells, a computer guru/thief. Toby wanted to “re-tool” his Gone in 60 Seconds, with all new characters, new plot and a new storyline.
On August 20, 1989, the unthinkable happened, while filming in Buffalo, New York. Toby was preparing for one of the most dramatic stunt sequence in the film, during which a 160-foot water tower would suddenly topple, but a cable attached to the tall tower snapped. The cable sheared off a telephone pole, which fell on and tragically killed him. Toby died with his boots on doing what he loves. Denice was devastated.
Denice made her goal to keep Toby’s dreams and life’s work alive. To protect his estate and legacy Denice had to go through multiple trials, proving forgery, theft and fraud to protect Toby’s films and to protect and preserve his large antique toy and vintage automobile collection. Even in their 8-acre dream home, Toby was custom building, to have their cars to drive in the house.
The Studios came knocking in 1994. Denice met and heard Michael Lynton’s (President Disney/Hollywood Pictures) story that when he was a little boy in the Netherlands he watched and watched one movie and that was Toby’s Gone in 60 Seconds. Michael Lynton’s passion on making a remake got Denice to say ‘Yes.’ She said let’s make a team and do this. Denice licensed Disney/Hollywood Pictures to make a remake of Gone in 60 Seconds in 1995.
The next 4 years Denice as Executive Producer worked with the writer, Scott Rosenberg, Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney on the project. Nicolas Cage came aboard while the Script was being tightened up. Nic is one of the biggest fans of H.B. Halicki’s Original Gone in 60 Seconds.
In 1999 filming began with the Award-Winning Cast Nicolas Cage, Angelina Jolie, Giovanni Ribisi, Robert Duvall and of course star car character Eleanor reprised her role. Along with an army of stunt men and crew led by Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and under the helm of Director Dominic Sena. One of Sena’s 1 st jobs as a cameraman was when H.B. Halicki hired him on his 2nd film called “The Junkman.” Halicki’s “The Junkman” is in the Guinness World Book of Records for wrecking over 150 Cars, Trucks and Planes.
On June 9, 2000, Denice kept her promise to keep Toby’s legacy alive and in the opening weekend, the remake Gone in 60 Seconds remake, grossed $25,336,048 from 3,006 US theaters, leading all films that weekend. It went on to gross over 250 million worldwide.
In the year 2000, under the banner of Halicki Films, Denice began working with producer Michael Leone to put together a film restoration team and a worldwide distribution arm that works on all Halicki titles. Denice found Leone’s extensive knowledge and passion of cars and high-speed adrenal entertainment important for the franchise. The Gone in 60 Seconds series of films are all restored and remastered in 5.1 Dolby surround sound.
All the DVDs and Blu Rays have very unique and innovative elements. They include found footage, original marketing materials, hundreds of rare photos and interviews with icons in the automobile, racing, manufacturing and filmmaking industries. On the “Original Gone in 60 Seconds” DVD and Blu Ray, Denice sits down with Lee Iacocca in his home, the father of the Ford Mustang, and Lee talks about Eleanor and the creation of the Ford Mustang, when he was President of Ford Motor Company.
Halicki Films independently re-released the original “Gone in 60 Seconds” in late 2000 with Eleanor’s 40-minute car chase scene and the critics and consumers are wild about it “One of the Greatest Chase Scenes in History!” …USA Today.
“The Junkman” which is 2nd in the Gone in 60 Seconds trilogy series was re-released independently in 2001 under Halicki Films banner. “The Junkman” and Toby Halicki are in the Guinness World Book of Records for wrecking over 150 Cars, Trucks and Planes.
Also, Halicki Films Licensed Racing Champions to release a series of toys, models & die cast cars of Eleanor and other hot cars from the Gone in 60 Seconds and The Junkman Movies.
In 2004 Halicki Films independently released a special edition DVD with H.B. Halicki’s 3rd in the trilogy “Deadline Auto Theft” rare footage and a 45-minute documentary “The Life and Times of H.B. Halicki” produced under Halicki Films and SPEED TV (FOX.) Also included on the DVD is Toby & Denice Halicki’s unfinished 1989 “Gone in 60 Second” (30-minute NON-STOP chase scene) which is not a sequel, or remake and it was not based off the 1974 Gone in 60 Seconds. Toby had bought over 400 hundred cars to destroy in the chase scene. Denice plans on finishing their dream and will make a new Gone in 60 Seconds based off the 1989 unfinished movie.
Under “Eleanor Licensing” banner, Denice made licensing deals to build and to sell “Officially Licensed” replicas Gone in 60 Seconds star car character “Eleanor” as she appears in the Gone in 60 Seconds remake 2000. These 1967 Eleanors have 500 or more Horsepower.
Denice made a licensing deal with Racing Champions, ERTL and Johnny Lighting to release “Gone in 60 Seconds” and “Eleanor” diecast cars and model kits.
Greenlight Toys, is Denice’s newest Licensee of “Gone in 60 Seconds” and “Eleanor” diecast, including a 1967 Eleanor Remote that just arrived late 2017.
While accepting engagements as a motivational speaker around the world, Denice is also working on a book about what it took to make her dream come true in Hollywood’s film machine, her fight to preserve the legacy of the man she loved and to encourage others.
Denice firmly believes that: “In times of adversity don’t quit. Even when you think you have failed, don’t quit. Your dreams may be just around the corner.”