On Tuesday, Philippe Dauman dissed DreamWorks on Viacom’s earnings call, saying that if Steven Spielberg and David Geffen leave, there will be substantial savings on marketing and overhead. Well, get ready to start saving, Philippe, because it looks like that DreamWorks-Reliance deal is almost done
Deadline Hollywood Daily: I’m told that the DreamWorks financing deal with India’s media and entertainment conglomerate Reliance ADA — for at least $500 million from Reliance Big Entertainment — is almost completed and will be announced in the next week or 10 days. The Reliance people were in Los Angeles last week meeting with DreamWorks. I hear they also met with Jeffrey Katzenberg (whose public company DreamWorks Animation has an “out” clause from Paramount distribution after 10 films…). However, David Geffen officially severs his ties with Paramount as soon as August, and Spielberg can leave in October. Then DreamWorks has to make a distribution deal, probably with Universal where Spielberg still keeps his office.
To refresh your memories, Geffen had on speed dial the newest Hollywood mogul names of Rajesh Sawhney and Anil Dhirubhai Ambani (one of the world’s Top 10 richest men) to help with a total $1.2 billion financing for DreamWorks 2.0, the new independent film company the principals are starting post-Paramount. The plan is to make about 6 movies a year. Meanwhile, DreamWorks and Paramount will battle over Spielberg’s exit and all that joint development. For instance, I just heard that Spielberg starts directing Tintin as soon as October — and there’s already confusion if this is a DreamWorks/Paramount production or a DreamWorks 2.0 undertaking.
Now, DreamWorks just has to find another $700 million or so to either make its own movies and shop them around à la Lucasfilm and Marvel or partner up with another distributor (probably Universal since Steven Spielberg still has his office on the lot.)
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