CinemaCon: Industry Icon Tom Sherak Remembered And Honored At Emotional Pioneer Awards Dinner

By | Thursday March 27, 2014 @ 1:00am PDT
Pete Hammond

The 73rd Pioneer Of The Year Dinner in honor of the late Tom Sherak just may have been the most emotional and moving event the philanthropic organization has ever thrown, certainly of those I have attended in the four years they have been held during CinemaCon. As 20thF Century Fox President of Distribution  and President of the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation Chris Aronson said, it was also “historic” as it represented the first time the Pioneer Of The Year award was presented posthumously. That was not the plan when they selected Sherak, who passed away in January, for the honor several months ago. The dinner raised over $1M for the Pioneer Assistance Fund. Sherak’s widow Madeleine told me Wednesday evening that he was thrilled to be getting the award and was well aware of it before his passing. Still, she noted it was very bittersweet. ”When Tom died he didn’t leave anyone in charge. There isn’t a vice-president of All Things Tom. But what he did leave was a piece of him in everyone he touched. He didn’t have a number two, he had a number hundreds. We all have watched him through the years, we were mentored by him, he taught us to ‘do’,” Aronson said in opening remarks.
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Jeffrey Katzenberg Says ‘Turbo’ Franchise Will Be Profitable Even Though The Film Isn’t

By | Tuesday February 25, 2014 @ 2:32pm PST

The DreamWorks Animation CEO still has a lot invested in snails — with Netflix carrying the studio’s animated series Turbo FAST — and says the film’s failure doesn’t mean the TV show will skid off track. Read More »

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NY Governor Cuomo Tells Mogul-Filled Fundraiser He Wants More Production In Empire State

By | Thursday January 23, 2014 @ 8:34pm PST

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Gives Annual State Of State AddressPartially in jest and partially dead serious, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tonight told a mogul-heavy big ticket fundraiser at the home of Fox’s Jim Gianopulos and his wife Ann that NY was … Read More »

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UPDATE: Obama Teases Jeffrey Katzenberg During DreamWorks Animation Speech Touting Hollywood Biz

By | Tuesday November 26, 2013 @ 1:27pm PST

UPDATE, 1:27 PM WRITETHRU: President Obama took to the stage today for a speech on the economy at DreamWorks Animation, the company run by one of his biggest Hollywood bundlers Jeffrey Katzenberg. After being introduced by Mellody Hobson — the DWA board chairman from Aerial Capital Management, a Chicago native and longtime friend — he thanked Katzenberg for inviting him before launching into a pro-Hollywood and pro-economy message tailored to the crowd estimated at 1800-2000 that included DWA employees and pretty much every entertainment mogul in the city. “His place in the entertainment business is legendary … don’t need to puff him up too much he has a healthy sense of self”, Obama joked about Katzenberg, with the president adding that “my ears were the inspiration for Shrek”. The president called the entertainment biz “one of America’s biggest exports” and “one of the bright spots of our economy”, adding that he’s figured out what his next job will be. “I told Jeffery I’d like to work here”, Obama said to cheers from the crowd. As he wrapped up, after his customary “God bless America” line, Obama said, “Can’t wait to see your next movie”.

The Glendale stop, on the second day of a two-day LA fundraising swing, drew a who’s who of Hollywood moguls including CBS Corp’s Les Moonves, NBCUniversal’s Ron Meyer, Jeff Shell and Robert Greenblatt, Sony’s Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton, Paramount’s Rob Moore, Fox’s Jim Gianoplulos and Peter Rice, Lionsgate’s Jon Feltheimer, Warner Bros’ Kevin Tsujihara, Disney’s Bob Iger, Alan Horn and Anne Sweeney, LA Film Czar Tom Sherak and the MPAA’s Chris Dodd. Those execs participated in a closed-press meeting with Obama ahead of his speech, with a White House spokesman describing it as an “opportunity to discuss the economy and highlight the entertainment industry as a bright spot in our growing economy. The President discussed the impact that broader economic conditions has on the industry. He also touched on piracy and intellectual property rights, which are chief concerns of participating film industry leaders.” The moguls were hard to pin down on the meeting, with Meyer telling me only that “it was great, really great”. Read More »

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UPDATE: VFX DreamWorks Animation Protesters To March Tuesday; Katzenberg, Obama Not Target Of Rally

By and | Monday November 25, 2013 @ 6:20pm PST

President Obama DreamWorksUPDATE: Organizers of the VFX artists’ protest scheduled during President Obama’s visit to DreamWorks Animation on Tuesday say they now plan to march between Griffith Manor Park and the street. The group has also announced the name of its CVD campaign coalition: Association of Digital Artists, Professionals & Technicians (ADAPT).

PREVIOUS, 1:34 PM: Barack Obama’s visit to DreamWorks Animation tomorrow will be matched by a protest by the VFX professionals behind an anti-subsidy tariff campaign, but the organizers say they don’t have the president — or DWA head Jeffrey Katzenberg – in their sights. “We are not trying to embarrass DreamWorks Animation at all,” the industry blogger known as VFX Soldier told Deadline. “This is about raising awareness about what is happening outside the walls of DreamWorks: The absolute collapse of VFX employment.”

Obama is in town today and Tuesday for midterm election fundraisers as well as his DWA appearance. After a studio tour and a meeting with industry leaders, Obama is expected to speak about the economy and the strength of the entertainment industry in his DWA address scheduled for 12:15 PM Tuesday. During his DWA visit VFX supporters will gather just under a mile away at Glendale’s Griffith Manor Park. The VFX activists are aghast that Obama would praise employment at a studio hit by layoffs in the last year to an animation and VFX community that’s struggling to survive. Pink slips delivered by DWA earlier this year were the result of changes in the studio’s production schedule, not outsourcing or similar activities. Sources tell Deadline that many of those let go from DWA have since been rehired as the studio has new films in the pipeline. Still, everyone in VFX feels the instability of the industry. “We’re trying to prevent the embarrassment,” said VFX Soldier. “Why would you go to L.A.? This is ground zero.”

Related:
Obama Traffic Snarl Alert: Street Closures Set
‘Good Dinosaur’ Delay Leads To Pink Slips At Pixar

DreamWorks Animation Obama VFXWhile the president won’t see the protesting VFXers, the White House is clearly sensitive to perception about Obama speaking at the HQ of his biggest donor bundler. “DreamWorks obviously is a thriving business and is creating lots of jobs in Southern California and the fact of the matter is Mr. Katzenberg’s support for the president’s policies has no bearing on our decision to visit there. Rather, it’s an opportunity to highlight the success of one business and the success that they’re having in creating jobs in Southern California,” said White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest today on Air Force One according to pool reports. Similar to the fundraiser last week for Gov. Jerry Brown at Disney Studios boss Alan Horn’s home, a number of other studio chiefs such as Warner Bros’ Kevin Tsujihara and CBS’ Les Moonves are expected to attend Obama’s speech at DWA.

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Obama Traffic Snarl Alert: Street Closures Set For Today & Tuesday

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.

Related: Obama Set For DreamWorks Animation Visit Nov. 26

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 »

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The Day JFK Was Shot: 50 Years Later, Hollywood Remembers

(A version of this story first appeared Sunday.)

Today is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. It was a defining moment of the 20th century. That is even the case for someone like me, who was born after November 22, 1963, in the shadow of the president’s murder. Most of my generation can tell you where they were when they learned of the shooting of John Lennon and the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan, but everyone of a certain age can tell you where they were that tragic day in Dallas. With the passing of the WWII generation and memories of Pearl Harbor, only 9/11 is as seared into our souls now as much as 11/22. In remembrance of the 35th president, I asked some of the industry’s most notable and insightful individuals — a few of whom had seen JFK just before his death — where they were when they heard the news of the shooting and what they experienced that day. Here’s what they told me:

Ron Meyer – Vice Chairman, NBCUniversal
I had just gotten out of the Marine Corps and I was living in LA. I was working at a men’s clothing store and we heard this news. You know, I was in the Marines during the Cuban missile crisis, during the blockade, so we really felt we knew him and that you had direct involvement with him because, at least during that time, everything that happened to him affected us. We could have gone to war if he’d ordered it. So when he was killed, you felt that someone who had been an integral part of your life, my life, was gone. I was young, 20 years old, but it was the most unexpected loss. You know, my family escaped from Nazi Germany – so to us, he represented the hope of the world. It was tragic.

Jeffrey Katzenberg – CEO, DreamWorks Animation 
I try to focus less on November 22nd and more on November 8th, the date in 1960 when Kennedy was elected president. I was only 9 at the time, but that election, with its down-to-the-wire finish, suddenly made me aware of the excitement and possibilities of politics. Three years later, Kennedy’s assassination was devastating beyond words. But, for me, it further heightened the impact of his 1,000 days. While I was still in middle school, I went to work for another dynamic young leader, New York Mayor John Lindsay. JFK’s example inspired me then, and it inspires me still.

Related: Dan Rather To Narrate ESPN Special Commemorating JFK

Bill O’Reilly – Host, The O’Reilly Factor; Author, Killing Kennedy
Back in November of 1963, I was a 14-year-old freshman at Chaminade High School in Mineola, New York. I was sitting in Brother Carmine Diodati’s religion class when the loud speaker crackled, and the school principal announced that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas. He then put the CBS radio report on the loudspeakers all over the school. The students were stunned. Few of us said anything.

When I got home that afternoon, my mother was watching CBS on television. Her mother, my grandmother’s name was Winifred Kennedy. So the O’Reilly family had a direct emotional tie to the much more famous Kennedy clan. In the weeks that followed, life got back to normal for the teenagers on Long Island. But my friends and I will never forget the first time we heard of the treacherous assassination.

Related: ‘Killing Kennedy’ Draws Record Viewership For Nat Geo Read More »

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Governor Jerry Brown Talks Up California’s Revitalized Economy To Roomful Of Hollywood Heavyweights

Governor Jerry Brown talked about the promise of California and played up the state’s economic comeback during a campaign fundraiser Thursday at Disney Studio boss Alan Horn’s Bel-Air home. … Read More »

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Obama Set For DreamWorks Animation Visit Next Week

By | Thursday November 21, 2013 @ 10:55am PST

EXCLUSIVE: The last time President Obama was in town back in early August he had a private dinner with Jeffrey Katzenberg – now the Commander-in-Chief is heading over to his top bundler’s DreamWorks Animation Glendale campus for a very public pre-Thanksgiving visit. While in town next week for a series of fundraisers, Obama will be dropping by DWA on November 26 in the afternoon, I’ve learned. While there, the President will be giving a speech to company employees and invited guests at Katzenberg HQ. Of course, Obama’s visit to DWA isn’t the only political face time on Katzenberg’s calendar in the next week – the Animation CEO is co-hosting a mogul heavy fundraiser today for Governor Jerry Brown at Disney Studio boss Alan Horn‘s Bel Air home.

Related:
Katzenberg & Spielberg Donate $10M Each To Academy Museum
The Day JFK Was Shot: 50 Years Later, Hollywood Remembers Read More »

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Jeffrey Katzenberg & Steven Spielberg Donate $10M Each To Academy Museum

The donation by the DreamWorks Animation CEO and the Oscar-winning director to the upcoming Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will see the main lobbies of the facility named after their families. Here’s the Academy‘s release about the gift from Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg:

Beverly Hills,

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Hillary Clinton & Chelsea To Speak At Closed PGA Event Tomorrow

By | Thursday November 7, 2013 @ 11:58am PST

She may not be a 2016 Presidential candidate yet but the former Secretary of State will be packing in a lot of face time with Hollywood over the next couple of days. On Friday afternoon, Hillary Clinton will be speaking along with her daughter Chelsea at an event co-sponsored by the Producers Guild of America and the Clinton Foundation. The focus of the gathering is education and national service. PGA President Mark Gordonwill give opening remarks and act as emcee for the event, I’ve learned. Rob Reiner, a big backer of President Bill Clinton and Hillary, will be moderating the conversation between the two Clintons. Claiming security reasons, the PGA and the foundation are staying mum about the event’s location. Also, like many recent Clinton events and her visit to San Francisco later this weekend, media are blocked from gathering. (UPDATE, 2:38 PM: The organizers don’t want to give out the location but Hillary Clinton’s PGA event tomorrow will be held at the Paley Center in Beverly Hills, I’ve learned. It’s scheduled to run from approximately 1 PM to 3 PM on Friday.) The Clinton Foundation says that Scandal creator and recently named Kennedy Center board member Shonda Rhimes is scheduled to attend. CBS’ Nina Tassler, Shine America’s Rich Ross, Fox’s Kevin Reilly, Modern Family EP Steve Levitan, Parenthood EP Jason Katims and New Girl EP Liz Meriwether are also set to be there. 

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Jeff Katzenberg: ‘Turbo’ Will Be Profitable

By | Tuesday October 29, 2013 @ 3:21pm PDT

It’s a low bar. But the projection by the DreamWorks Animation CEO in a conference call with analysts should reassure investors who feared that the company would have to record an impairment charge for its summer release about a … Read More »

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DreamWorks Animation Q3 Earnings Fall But Still Beat Analyst Estimates

Can’t say that the studio had a good quarter, but Wall Street is all about expectations and on that score it looks OK with shares up 7.8% post market. DreamWorks Animation generated $10M in net income, down 58.8% compared with last year, on revenues of $154.5M, -17%. Analysts expected revenues to come in at $140.3M. Earnings at 12 cents a share also beat expectations for a penny. The company says it will begin to report its numbers for four segments: feature films, TV series and specials, consumer products, and other. The feature film unit generated $120.7M in revenue and $55.4M in gross profit. Library titles contributed the most, with $52.2M in revenues. Rise Of The Guardians came next with $42.4M, mostly from worldwide pay TV.  Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted kicked in $10.9M, followed by the summer release Turbo with $6.4M, and 2011′s Puss In Boots with $4.8M. The TV operation had $18.2M in revenue and a $4.2M gross profit, which the company says came mostly from Classic Media content and Cartoon Network’s DreamWorks Dragons: Riders Of Berk.

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Jeff Katzenberg: ‘Turbo’ Will Be Profitable

DreamWorks Animation Shares Slip After Analyst Lowers ‘Turbo’ Forecast
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Deadline’s Global Showbiz Watch With Nancy Tartaglione, Episode 11

Listen to (and share) episode 11 of Deadline’s audio podcast Global Showbiz Watch With Nancy Tartaglione. Deadline’s international editor and host David Bloom wrap up news out of Mipcom, including that $75 million offer Jeffrey Katzenberg says he made to the makers of Breaking Bad for just three more episodes. We’ll also talk about the opening weekend in France for the controversial Palme D’Or winner, Blue Is The Warmest Color and the absence of IMAX for Gravity in France; the discovery and re-mastering of nine long-lost episodes of Doctor Who in Nigeria; and Fox’s latest big investment in soccer, this time in the top German league and covering 80 territories including all the Western Hemisphere.

Deadline Global Showbiz Watch, Episode 11 (MP3 format)
Deadline Global Showbiz Watch, Episode 11 (M4a format) Read More »

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Hillary Clinton Set For Hollywood Fundraiser On October 30

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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Will ‘Rodham” Affect Hillary Clinton in 2016? Read More »

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Mipcom: Jeffrey Katzenberg Talks DreamWorks Animation TV & Offering $75M For 3 Extra ‘Breaking Bad’ Episodes

Jeffrey Katzenberg told a packed audience at Mipcom today that he offered the folks behind Breaking Bad $75M to produce three additional episodes of the hit series. But he had one criteria: They would have to be delivered in 30, six-minute chapters. The DreamWorks Animation chief said he would have used the content to create “the best pay-per-view scripted TV event ever” by releasing the snippets over 30 days on VOD platforms like iTunes for 99 cents per. “There’s no doubt people would buy it every day, everyone would be there waiting for the next six minutes,” he said. The self-confessed fan said he came up with the idea prior to learning how the show would end. Given the ultimate demise of its central character, it was “not a very good idea, as we now know,” Katzenberg laughed. But, he shared the story to exemplify his vision of the potential of short-form entertainment.

Katzenberg is Mipcom’s Personality of the Year and was delivering a keynote this afternoon in Cannes when he made the comments. “I have the courage of my convictions in this, I just think there is a whole new platform” for short-form entertainment to fill up “waiting time.”

Related: DreamWorks Animation Launches Effort To Re-Position Itself As A Television Power Read More »

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Jeffrey Katzenberg Hits Up Hollywood To Support Mitch McConnell Rival

By | Tuesday September 3, 2013 @ 2:54pm PDT

He helped bankroll Barack Obama’s re-election and now the DreamWorks Animation CEO is aiming to take out the Senate Minority leader in next year’s midterms. Jeffrey Katzenberg today sent an email to fellow local Democrats urging them to turn up and hand over checks for Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes during her fundraising visit to LA on September 25-26. “Alison is the antidote to McConnell and all he represents. She can win, and she will win if she gets the support she needs,” said Katzenberg. “There is no more important election being held next year in this country,” he also wrote. The DWA boss and top Obama bundler said he’s already given all he legally can to Grimes’ campaign but asked for donors to hand over $5,200 and $10,000 to the Democrat. Politico first reported the Katzenberg letter. The only scheduled event planned so far is a lunch at Il Moro on September 25 but an insider tells me that a full mogul itinerary is being put together to introduce Grimes to all the major players and donors. She’s going to need every dime they give her. Expecting a strong challenge in 2014, Senator McConnell has already amassed a campaign war chest of almost $10 million according to fundraising report records – and that’s without RNC support and other third party backers.

Related: Obama Meets With Katzenberg Post-’Tonight’ Taping Read More »

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TOLDJA! DreamWorks Animation Taps Dawn Taubin To Head Marketing

By | Thursday August 8, 2013 @ 3:04pm PDT

UPDATE, 3:25 PM: It’s official. Dawn Taubin has been named Chief Marketing Officer at DreamWorks Animation. The full release follows below:

PREVIOUS: Jeffrey Katzenberg has hired Dawn Taubin as Chief Marketing Officer at DreamWorks Animation, sources tell Deadline. Taubin’s appointment follows the departure of marketing chief Anne Globe. Katzenberg announced earlier this week that Globe had decided to leave DWA to start her own consulting business. Taubin formerly headed domestic marketing at Warner Bros from 2002 to 2008 where she oversaw the Harry Potter franchise, 300: Rise Of An Empire and the launch of Christopher Nolan’s Batman series. She also marketed the animated Happy Feet for WB. She also served as an award and marketing consultant on The Help and War Horse for DreamWorks Pictures.

Glendale, CA – August 8, 2013 – Dawn Taubin, one of the most experienced marketing executives in the entertainment industry, is joining DreamWorks Animation (Nasdaq: DWA) as chief marketing officer. Taubin, who most recently held the role of president of marketing for Warner Bros., will head all of marketing for the studio including theatrical, television and global brand initiatives.

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DreamWorks Animation Q2 Surges Behind Success Of ‘The Croods’

Shares are up about 4.7% in post market trading after DreamWorks Animation released its Q2 report. It shows net income of $22.2M, +74.2% vs the period last year, on revenues of $213.4M, +31.1%. Revenues were well ahead of the … Read More »

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