Power Rangers billionaire Haim Saban today announced the launch of Saban Films, a distribution venture that will acquire 8 to 10 feature films annually for North American distribution. The distro arm of Saban’s media and entertainment private investment firm Saban Capital Group is in discussions with a major-studio distribution partner. Ex-RLJ Entertainment exec Bill Bromiley has joined Saban Films as President and will assume his new post at this month’s Cannes Film Festival, where the company’s looking to buy commercial, talent-driven features. Saban’s strategy will include theatrical and multiplatform digital distribution plans, including day-and-date releases.
Related: Haim Saban Praises Obama’s Middle East Policy At Fundraiser
“The film distribution business is ever-changing as the audiences’ choices of consuming entertainment expand every day,” said Bromiley. “There is still a need for smart, commercial product which is marketed and distributed properly. We have a low-risk, high-reward distribution business model which is attractive for filmmakers.” Bromiley served as Chief Acquisitions Officer at RLJ Entertainment (formerly Image Entertainment).
Working under Bromiley will be CFO Shanan Becker and Director of Business Development Ness Saban. Becker, whose past stints include Paramount Home Entertainment and DreamWorks Home Entertainment, also joins Saban from RLJ and served as EVP Business Operations overseeing RLJ’s feature film division. Read More »
Don’t try to get around town on January 29 — that’s the day first lady Michelle Obama has re-scheduled her scrubbed DNC fundraiser at the Hancock Park home of Everybody Loves Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal and his wife, actress Monica Horan. This clambake previously had been scheduled for mid-October at same place but got nixed because the government shutdown made it seem icky — FLOTUS glad-handing Hollywood types who’d forked over $1,250 to $32,400 for the privilege, while many government workers aren’t collecting their paychecks just did not pass the cringe test. Back in October, she’d also pulled the plug on a planned San Francisco fundraiser.
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“This is a regime that came to power swearing opposition to the United States, to Israel, and to many of the values that we hold dear,” President Obama told Power Rangers billionaire and staunch Israel supporter Haim Saban today about Iran. “But what I’ve consistently said is even as I don’t take any options off the table, what we do have to test is the possibility that we can resolve this issue diplomatically.” Obama and Saban were speaking at the Saban Forum’s 10th annual conference in DC. Today’s conversation with the President is the first time the media mogul has actually conducted an interview at his own event. “Ultimately, my goal as President of the United States, something I’ve said privately and publicly, is to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon,” Obama also told Saban. “Our commitment to Israel’s security is sacrosanct.”
Related: Haim Saban Praises Obama’s Middle East Policy At Fundraiser
Interviewing Obama onstage on a variety of Middle East related topics at Washington DC’s Willard Hotel, the big Democratic Party donor joked about the “very obedient President I have here today.” Obama cracked back that ‘it’s the Saban Forum, you’re in charge.” “I wish,” replied Saban with both noting to laughter that the media billionaire’s wife Cheryl who really was running things.
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The exchange between the two comes just … Read More »
Power Rangers billionaire and staunch Israel supporter Haim Saban tonight offered strong support to President Obama for his efforts to wind down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and his recent initiative in negotiations with Iran. “We’re out of Iraq, we’re out of Afghanistan and the military and intelligence cooperation with Israel — our staunchest ally in the Middle East, arguably in the world, has never been deeper and the president’s commitment to Israel’s security has never been stronger,” Saban said in his introduction to Obama’s remarks tonight at his Beverly Hills home, according to White House pool reports. “And “If Iran is at the negotiating table today, make no mistake about it, it is only because of President Obama’s resolve in striking them with the most crippling sanctions ever.” The event was the second fundraiser of the night for Obama and the first Saban has hosted for the President directly. (He’d hosted a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton last month.) About 120 people attended tonight’s dinner — including Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson, Warner Bros’ Barry Meyer and wife Wendy, and Netflix’s Ted Sarandos — with tickets going for $16,200 each. (Read an edited and condensed version of the White House Pool report and official WH Press Office remarks from both of tonight’s fundraisers below.)
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Earlier in the evening, Obama was the headliner at a fundraiser at Magic Johnson’s Beverly Hills house. About 160 people including Samuel L. Jackson and Diane Keaton paid $2,500-$15,000 a ticket hear the commander-in-chief speak at the reception. Tomorrow morning the president will be attending a $32,400-per-guest breakfast event at the home of Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman (take a look at the original invite here). After that, he will visit and give a speech on the economy and the entertainment industry at big donor Jeffrey Katzenberg‘s DreamWorks Animation HQ, as well as meeting with studio bosses. Obama’s Southland visit, his first since August, is partially a makeup for a planned swing in September that was scrapped because of the Syria crisis.
Here are the pool reports: Read More »
If you aren’t attending the two big-ticket fundraisers President Obama is headlining in Beverly Hills tonight, you might want to stay out of West LA today. Because of Obama’s two-day visit, the LAPD says there’ll be street closures from the 405 Freeway to La Cienega Boulevard and from Santa Monica Boulevard south down to Venice Boulevard today from 4:45-10 PM. There will also be closures from Fairfax to Western and from Beverly Boulevard to Pico from 8-10:45 AM Tuesday for a Hancock Park fundraiser. Also expect delays in the Glendale area from 10:30 AM-1:30 PM when the President heads over to big bundler Jeffery Katzenberg‘s DreamWorks Animation for a speech on the economy and the entertainment industry.
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Today, Obama is set to fly into LAX at 4:30 PM and then chopper over to the Veterans Administration building at 11000 Wilshire Blvd near UCLA. Coming to town from San Francisco, POTUS will head first to a $2,500-$15,000 a ticket gathering at Magic Johnson’s Beverly Hills house; Obama is scheduled to speak at the event around 7:10 PM. Staying in the neighborhood, the President will then head to the home of Haim Saban and his wife Cheryl for a $16,200-a-person or $32,400-a-couple dinner. A longtime Democratic Party supporter who had an event with Hillary Clinton last month at his house, this marks the first fundraiser the Power Rangers billionaire has held with Obama directly. After delivering remarks at 8:20 PM, Obama will head to a hotel, likely the Beverly Hilton, for the night. Read More »
She hasn’t officially thrown her hat in the 2016 Presidential ring but Hillary Clinton is already out there raising money from Hollywood. The former Secretary of State and presumed Democratic candidate is the marquee name for a $15,000-a-ticket fundraiser on October 30 at the Beverly Hills home of Haim Saban and his wife Cheryl, according to an invite that went out this week. Selling tickets individually or for $25,000 a couple, the lunch on the day before Halloween lunch is actually for former DNC chair and longtime Clinton pal Terry McAuliffe’s Virginia Governor bid. With that election on November 5, Clinton and her husband Bill Clinton have a number of McAuliffe events scheduled in the next week, and on Monday the DNC sent out a McAuliffe donation solicitation email from Bill Clinton. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is lining up Hollywood support if she makes her widely expected 2016 decision to run. Deep-pocket donors like Saban, Peter Chernin, and Jeffrey Katzenberg as well as the likes of Steven Spielberg and JJ Abrams have pledged financial support to a Clinton 2016 campaign once it is made official, sources say. Chernin, Katzenberg, Spielberg and Abrams were all hefty financial backers of President Obama, both in the 2012 election and in the lead-up to next year’s mid-terms.
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The event wasn’t all business, but the Latino-focused media company never lost sight of its main mission. Even singer Shakira, who performed for advertisers, recognized that the upfront was about relationship building. She ended her appearance directly addressing company owner Haim Saban, who was in the audience. She says that she considers herself “part of the Univision familiy. You can always, always count on me.” The Facebook news underscored the company’s big push this year into digital media. Univision says it will introduce its online programming destination, UVideos, this summer by having its celebrities and personalities participate in a series of live chats on Facebook. But Univision’s bottom line focus was laid out in Ad Sales and Marketing President David Lawenda’s opening presentation — the most direct and compelling sales pitch I’ve heard so far this upfront season. “Move 15% of your budget to Univision” he told the audience. “You have flat or declining media budgets,” he noted. His networks’ audiences are growing while the traditional English language networks ask for higher CPM unit rates on their flat or declining ratings. “The single biggest risk you can make going out of here today is to do what you did last year.” Execs fired their sharpest barbs at NBC. Univision says it beat the network’s prime time 18-to-49 audience on 195 nights. “NBC’s ‘Must See TV’ has become ‘Might See TV’,” Lawenda says. Read More »
Univision Communications has appointed Randy Falco as president and CEO, taking over the top spot from longtime chief Joe Uva, who announced his resignation in March. Haim Saban, executive chairman of Univision’s board of directors, had taken up the slack since Uva’s departure. Falco — who joined Univision earlier this year as EVP and COO overseeing all revenue functions — previously was chairman and CEO of AOL and before that spent more than 30 years at NBC Universal, including as president and COO of NBC Universal Television Group. ”The board unanimously agreed that Randy’s track record and expertise make him the ideal executive to lead Univision’s future growth,” Saban said. “Randy has over 30 years of relevant industry experience and has demonstrated his highly-skilled leadership and strategic vision at Univision over the past six months.” Falco will join Univision’s board of directors and will continue to be based in New York.
Univision Communications announced today that its president and CEO Joe Uva has resigned. According to the company, Uva had informed the board of directors that he would not renew his current contract, which expires on April 2, in pursuit of other opportunities. Uva, who has been at Univision for the past four years, will stay on until the end of his contract. “Univision is a better company today due to Joe’s efforts in building a strong leadership team and positioning Univision for long-term success,” Univision’s executive chairman Haim Saban said. The search for a new CEO will begin immediately. In the interim, Saban will assume additional responsibilities.
Uva was named president and CEO of Univision at the completion of the company’s acquisition by an investor group led by Saban in 2007. Before that, Uva served as president and CEO of OMD Worldwide for five years and spent 17 years at Turner Broadcasting. Univision has been on a roll lately, regularly beating the broadcast networks in adults 18-34 and often challenging them in 18-49. Uva’s resignation comes at an unfortunate time as Univision is set to present its lineup for next season to advertisers in two months but it is another indication that the privately held company’s backers are considering taking it public.
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve just learned that five well-known Hollywood Democrats — David Geffen, Bob Iger, Peter Chernin, Haim Saban, and Ari Emanuel — are hosting a November 4th fundraiser for Ari’s brother Rahm Emanuel in his bid to become Chicago’s next mayor. Rahm, a former Democratic U.S. Representative from Illinois’ 5th Congressional District (2003-2009), resigned as President Obama’s White House Chief Of Staff on October 1st to throw his hat into the mayoral race following the retirement of Richard M. Daley whose last name more or less owned that political office the way most families would takeover the dining table. The Hollywood fundraiser will be held at Saban’s palatial Beverly Hills home.
For those keeping score, Geffen is the former DreamWorks SKG partner and longtime music and film mogul. Iger is the CEO of the Walt Disney Company. Chernin is the former No. 2 of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and now a busy Fox TV and film producer. Saban is a private equity investor and entertainment producer best known for making the Power rangers into a worldwide hit and co-owner of the largest Spanish language media company in the U.S., Univision, as well as one of the Democratic party’s single largest donors. And Ari is the co-CEO of WME Entertainment, one of the largest Hollywood talent and literary agencies and now expanding into marketing and investment banking. All the men are Democratic Party donors, with Geffen, Chernin, Ari Emanuel, and Saban the most … Read More »