Last Tuesday, Viacom chief
executive Philippe P. Dauman spoke at an investment conference at the
Grand Hyatt in New York City. He praised
his company’s acquisition of DreamWorks and said of that company’s co-founder, “Now,
we have Steven Spielberg in the house as part of the deal. He’s currently
working on ‘Indiana Jones,’ a Paramount movie, which is releasing next year.
We’re doing everything possible to make him happy.”
But Dauman also referred to speculation that Spielberg and
his DreamWorks partner David Geffen would exit the company when their contracts
expire late next year, saying that the financial impact on Paramount and Viacom “would be completely immaterial” in the event of their departure.
Spielberg and Geffen are said to be displeased with the scant credit they’ve
received within Viacom.
The day after the conference, Jeffrey Katzenberg responded
to the slight by calling Spielberg “a national treasure” and suggesting that “calmer heads need to prevail here.”
By Thursday, Paramount Pictures chairman Brad Grey had
acknowledged that the deal with DreamWorks “really accelerated our
turnaround” and said he had “the greatest respect for the creativity of
Steven Spielberg and the entire DreamWorks team, as well as the immense
entrepreneurial business skills of David Geffen.”
Perhaps calmer heads have prevailed.Read More