Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Little Of The Old In And Out

In: Steven Spielberg. Spielberg, Hollywood's alpha male, understands the Eastward geopolitical shift. From the LATimes:

"Nearly a year after embarking on plans to relaunch DreamWorks as an independent studio, Steven Spielberg finally has the financial means to greenlight his own movies.

"DreamWorks said Monday that it had finalized the first phase of a long-in-the-works funding deal that paves the way for the production company to be fully operational.

"The funds, which will enable DreamWorks to make 18 to 20 films over the next three years, include $325 million in bank debt and a matching equity investment from Spielberg's 50% partner, India's Reliance Big Entertainment. Additionally, as part of DreamWorks' recent distribution deal with Walt Disney Co., the Burbank studio agreed to lend DreamWorks as much as $175 million to bankroll movies.

"Although the $825-million total falls short of the $1.25 billion the director had originally sought, DreamWorks has achieved what many in Hollywood have been unable to do: secure new sources of film funding in financially treacherous times."

The story, though, is as much about the rise of the Eastward geopolitical shift and Spielberg's play (which included him selling a half interest in his new company to Indian investors). The full story here.

Out: Harry Sloan. MGM has yet to get the Eastward geopolitical shift. MGM CEO Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. Chief Executive Officer Harry Sloan, formerly a veteran media investor, is out. If the recession has hit everyone from the porn industry to newspapers and magazines then why not the big Hollywood studios? MGM has not had a movie out since Christmas. From TheWrap:

"Harry Sloan is out as CEO of MGM, the company announced on Tuesday, putting in his place a financial turnaround expert whose job it will be to restructure the company's crushing $3.7 billion debt.

"The board of directors made the decision after months of attempts to raise more capital and two days of meetings that ended in Sloan's ouster on Monday night, a studio spokeswoman said. His departure comes one year after he signed a three-year extension on his contract.

"In a press release, MGM said that Sloan will continue in the role of non-executive chairman and stay on the studio's board of directors.

"But day-to-day operations will now be run by its motion pictures group boss Mary Parent, CFO Bedi Singh and vice chairman Stephen Cooper (left), a trio comprising the 'office of CEO.'

"'Steven will come in and work on a business plan with us,' said Parent in an interview with TheWrap. 'I'm proud of the slate. I'd like more production money, but the focus is on the restructure. And I'm glad we've been able to get six movies up.'"

Nikki Finke of DeadlineHollywoodDaily adds: 'I hear he was naturally upset about being fired as CEO "but has come to terms with his removal.' Meanwhile, MGM's owners "went and hired one of the best in the world -- Stephen Cooper -- who's committed to strengthening MGM's capital structure and figuring out how this company survives.'"

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