Friday, 6 February 2009

Hollywood Babble On & On #225: Dream a Little Dream of DreamWorks.

According to the always indefatigable and inestimable Nikki Finke the deal between Universal and DreamWorks 2.0 has been kiboshed. Word has it that DreamWorks wanted money, a lot of money, as well as distribution, lots of money, and that Universal, wasn't willing to give money and already had too much on its plate, distribution wise.

Now all is not lost for DreamWorks because Disney is waiting in the wings, they need DreamWorks' output to fill their release slate, and might sell Miramax to finance the deal. Which strikes me as odd, but I'll get back to that in a moment.

This incident illustrates one of the major problems Hollywood has and they have only themselves to blame.

Some folks have asked why DreamWorks Bosses Spielberg and Katzenberg haven't ponied up their own dough to make the Universal deal go through. Well, they don't because they're intelligent men, and there's a word people have to describe people who invest their own money in the movie business: Suckers.

I'm not accusing Spielberg and Katzenberg of anything untoward, I don't know them, and I don't know how they do business, though I will say that they do have the least complaints against them, which does say something. What I am saying is that Hollywood is a terrible place to do business, and nobody is willing to be played for a sucker anymore.

When high-price litigation is considered standard operating procedure, your industry is in trouble. Because the days when people were willing to piss away their money for a tax write-off are over. They want results, and the don't want the headaches associated with doing business with Hollywood.

So now the credit crunch is threatening the viability one industry that managed to thrive during the Great Depression. There is a solution, but it is a painful and drastic one: Hollywood must reinvent its business model, it must simplify all facets of the business, and realize that there is no shame in both sides of a deal getting what they want. In fact, they need to realize that it's a good thing.

-- Okay, now onto Miramax. The report said that Disney might sell Miramax to finance the DreamWorks deal, which strikes me as odd, because I thought Miramax was just a name Disney slapped on its occasional "indie" release in the years since the Weinsteins went off on their own. So who would want to buy a name that doesn't really have the cachet it once had in the 1990s?

No comments:

Post a Comment