Saturday, October 15, 2005

NBC Uni-Dreamworks Talks Resume; Paramount Cuts In

dreamwor

(image via anushka)

A gossamer nimbus of Bigass media-synergy hovers over Steven Spielberg today (sex stalker not included), only a smidge brighter than his usual "I-own-Hollywood" personal backlight illumination. First, there was the astonishing three-video game deal, which automatically gave Hollywood street-cred to the entire video gaming genre (which, to be frank, we abhor as low-grade Attention Deficit Disorder fare; but which, we acknowledge grudgingly, is on the rise -- especially among young men).

Then, this LATimes reports that NBC Universal -- which is having an embarrassingly bad season -- is restarting talks to buy Dreamworks (The Corsair sparks up a Ghurka Legend cigar) . You'll remember, of course, that it was rumored Spielberg singlehandedly put the kibosh on the deal last time around. This from the Old Gray Lady back on September 28:

"David Geffen, the music mogul and the DreamWorks co-founder who has been negotiating for the company, said he met with Bob Wright, NBC Universal's chairman, in Beverly Hills on (September 27th). Mr. Geffen confirmed the talks were over, adding it was unlikely the two companies would revisit the notion of an acquisition anytime soon.

"Mr. Geffen said he was sad a deal could not be reached, but Mr. Spielberg was 'happy.'"

This time however, Paramount has joined the nuanced courtship dance. And, as a result, Brad Grey of Paramount is doing his best to make SKG partner David Geffen smiley-happy, reports intrepid Claudia Eller of the LA Times (A paper, curiously, Geffen may soon own; hmm):

"(Paramount head Brad) Grey, who has been aggressively revamping the struggling movie studio since taking the helm in March, is said to be eager to add DreamWorks to the Paramount family. A deal would give the studio access not only to more live-action films-- including such Oscar-winning blockbusters as 'Gladiator' and 'American Beauty' -- but also to something Paramount sorely lacks: animated fare.

"If it bought DreamWorks' live-action studio, Paramount would have the right to distribute movies made by DreamWorks Animation, which was spun off in a public offering last year.

"Geffen gave Grey until last Sunday to declare his intentions, sources said. The deadline came and went, but Grey has asked for more time, sources said. He argued it was tough to get quick answers from New York-based Viacom, whose board is focused on a plan to split the company in two next year, sources said.

"A spokeswoman for Paramount said Friday, 'It's Paramount's policy not to comment on speculation about our company's business.'But just last week, Paramount announced that it would co-finance DreamWorks' screen adaptation of 'Dreamgirls' -- a pet project of Geffen's for 25 years. Although far from being the first collaboration between the two studios, which recently partnered on Spielberg's hit 'War of the Worlds,' the timing of the deal seemed more than coincidental."

You don't say -- Dreamgirls? Quid pro Geff-o? Full story here.

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