Posts Tagged ‘David Geffen’
DreamWorks partner and resident billionaire David Geffen has decided to bow out of DreamWorks 2.0, the new DreamWorks production arm financed by Indian money through Reliance Inc., according to the New York Times.
The Times says that co-partner Steven Spielberg “actually stammered a bit in trying to explain his erstwhile business partner’s departure.”
No, Spielberg said, he didn’t really know why but yes, he hopes he and Geffen will remain close.
“I cannot imagine not having David in my professional life,” Spielberg said. “If that’s true, I’m going to have to figure out what to do about it.”
The NYT calls Geffen’s orchestrating of the creation of the new DreamWorks â€“ with backing from Reliance Big Media â€“ a “deal maker’s master stroke.” But now, after nearly 40 years of engineering some of the most breathtaking deals and transitions he is backing away from Hollywood altogether.
That’s not entirely new news. When the finalization of the separation between Paramount and DreamWorks came to light early this month, it was noted that Geffen would be retiring from the film business.
And, how the decision to withdraw from Hollywood came about, and what it means to an industry that has long regarded Geffen as its most powerful figure, is far from clear. The Times says Geffen declined requests to be interviewed for the article.
Geffen’s only major remaining Hollywood presence is his position at DreamWorks Animation â€“ he’s still on the board – but people familiar with his plans said he would resign soon, says the NYT.
“This closes a chapter,” Jeffrey Katzenberg said of Geffen’s decision not to join the new Spielberg company.
His departure appears to have orphaned a small corps of associates who had come to view him as the central support for their own hopes and dreams, says the NYT.
In describing Geffen’s role at DreamWorks, Spielberg likened it to a family relationship. “Jeffrey and I were like the kids,” he said, while Geffen built the house and saw that the bills were paid.
Though no declarations have been made, an inside source at DreamWorks tells FBLA that the company is likely to stay put with Universal for its distribution deal.
“We’re actually on the Universal lot in the old Amblin studio space,” the source said. “It’s just easier to maintain with Universal. Paramount will still have its cut on a number of DreamWorks projects, but though nothing is set in stone, it looks like it will probably be Universal.”
DreamWorks recently severed itself from the Paramount deal that had been cut by David Geffen, Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider. Take Geffen out of that mix and you have the remaining two principals still involved with DreamWorks: Spielberg and Snider.
That pair negotiated and was awarded a $500 million deal with India’s Reliance to bankroll six to eight films a year.
Those films will not be out-and-out blockbusters, but rather limited-budget pieces that can turn a profit, the source said. The example that is always given is: Sam Mendez’s “American Beauty,” which not only came in on a low, low budget, but won its share of awards and attention.
DreamWorks publicity reps were expectedly close-mouthed about distribution for the studio.
Stay tuned. More to come in the next week.
Celebrity Splits: Claudia Eller likens the breakup of DreamWorks SKG and Viacom Inc.‘s Paramount Pictures to a divorce, saying “the only issue now is who gets custody of the children. Like custody battles anywhere, this one could get nasty.” At stake, hundreds of movie projects and employees who work for DreamWorks.
Hollywood Going Bollywood? Indian movie mogul Anil Ambani is “in talks to help finance a move by DreamWorks SKG, the studio founded by Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg, to become an independent company again.”
Favorite LAT paragraph of the Day: In a story about 75 students arrested in a San Diego State University undercover drug bust: “One alleged dealer was just a month away from receiving a master’s degree in homeland security and had worked with the campus police as a security officer, officials said. Another student, who was arrested on suspicion of possession of cocaine and two guns, was a criminal justice major, officials said.”
Dreamy-Works? We’re not entirely certain, but we think Patrick Goldstein just likened David Geffen to a thoroughbred.
Is Britney-Mania Dying Down? The AP reports the scene surrounding Britney Spears’ courthouse arrival this morning as surprisingly subdued and sparsely attended.
So, is the picket line where the cool kids hang? Nina Bargiel walked the walk and got a history lesson for her pains.
Bryan Burrough writes about the school yard fight between Sumner Redstone and David Geffen in the December Vanity Fair. You can see the level of people the WGA has to battle.
Walking the Line really gets it:
Part of the problem the networks and especially studios are having is a direct result of relying on an old business model that is simply not responding to the marketplace and they do not know how to adapt. Most who’ve created a show know how this manifests itself in our small microcosmic case: they want close-ended episodes for “syndication” purposes. Even in light of successes like Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty they refuse to believe their model is obsolete.
But the LAT readership seems clueless:
Does Oprah use non-union writers?
I feel a lot of these comments are the children of producers writing in from their dad’s compounds at Carbon Beach or Bel Air.
The writers on Telemundo and Univision don’t get health benefits or a pension.
It’s not my fault that you majored in English at Hampshire College and all you could do in Hollywood was write one episode of Gidget..
And finally, writers get some love. In support of the writer’s strike, The Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood is opening its legendary doors to all members of the Writers Guild of America.
The combination of Rufus Wainwright and some classic Judy Garland songs proved to be an attraction that some of Hollywood’s elite couldn’t resist.
Thus, Wainwright’s Sunday night show at the Hollywood Bowl was a veritable who’s who of Tinseltown‘s gay bold-faced names along with some female celebs thrown in for good measure.
FBLA was in the mix in a big way with VIP seats just a stone’s throw from the stage (thanks, Michael), surrounded by all the town’s A-listers.
Seated directly in front of us – surrounded by a trio of pretty boys – was David Geffen, who often was the first to rise to two feet with an energetic applause.
And he wasn’t the only one. Also spotted in FBLA’s immediate vicinity were heavyweight industryites Barry Diller, Bill Condon, Donald DeLine, Laurence Mark, Drew Barrymore, Reese Witherspoon, Hilary Swank (with John Campisi), WMA agent Rena Ronson, Bruce Vilanch, Ryan Murphy, Bruce Cohen, Dan Bucatinsky and others like Dita Von Teese, Ann Magnuson and Robert Gant
And though they may be power players, that didn’t stop some of the notable concert-goers – treated to Wainwright’s renditions of Garland’s beloved tunes, at times accompanied by his mother, sister and Garland’s daughter Lorna Luft – from letting loose and sneaking in some party favors.
Yeah, it’s true: FBLA saw what David Geffen was passing around – and it wasn’t a bottle of Pinot. We won’t out everyone we saw indulging in illegal yet typical concert behavior but you know who you are!
- CHRIS GARDNER
More Sumner Madness: Getting sick of Hollywood’s least-lovable codger, David Geffen and Steven Spielberg will likely be splitting from Paramount Pictures, less than two years after selling DreamWorks SKG to the Viacom outfit.
SAG Elections Results: Incumbent Alan Rosenberg narrowly won a second term as president of the Screen Actors Guild. 72-year-old actor Seymour Cassel won 44 percent of the vote, to Rosenberg’s 47 percent — with Cassel supporters saying the would serve the union better as it confronts contract negotiations with studios next year. Rosenberg countered that argument, by calling Cassel “a thug.” Seems it worked.
Angry Hobbit One Step Closer To His Golden Ring: Lord of the Rings director/deity Peter Jackson had to be a happy halfling yesterday: New Line Cinema was hit with $125,000 in sanctions in its ongoing legal battle with the disgruntled director, who made the studio a mountain of cash — and will likely see a bit more of it coming his way.
The Los Angeles Times, distilled.
MIT Media Lab Meta Munchies
Last week’s cheap eats feature was a big hit with readers, so Food Section editor Leslie Brenner kills that dangerous trend. Regina Schrambling writes about an AI geek with a software program and a palate of styrofoam.
Baby Video Study: Junk Science
Bruce Kluger’s op-ed on the academic study of baby videos has all the actual information on the methodology that that news story lacked. Gist: researchers never saw or listened to any children.
Santa Barbara Slug-Fest
The legal battle between Wendy McCaw and former employees of the Santa Barbara News-Press should serve as a cautionary tale for all those who wanted David Geffen to buy the LAT.
James Rainey’s reporting is even-handed.
A-1 With a (Would-be) Bullitt
Dan Neil drives Steve McQueen’s Ferrari. Terrific piece, worst video ever. Why? Car not shown in motion–fast motion. Sitdown interview is static–the car owner should have been doing something. Once again: Net video should not look like tv.
A Little Welcome Wagon: Tom Cruise and Will Smith will team up to throw the Beckhams a welcome-to-LA bash on Sunday for 600 of their closest friends, including Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney, Jim Carrey, Anjelica Huston, Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, producers Jerry Bruckheimer and Brian Grazer, Warner Bros. President Alan Horn and Universal Pictures chief Ron Meyer. And other neighbors.
Emmy Noms Are In: And Ugly Betty is sitting pretty with 11 nods. The Envelope has more.
What’s Gotten Into Those Clowns? Has LAT replaced its copy editors with the creators of Bum Fights? Story after story about Michael Vick’s indictment on graphic allegations of animal cruelty, is preceded with astoundingly inappropriate pun-ny headlines. Including, from the site’s homepage: “A Dog-gone Mess.” Seriously?