David Geffen At TCA: “Impossible” To Raise $2B To Start DreamWorks Studio Today

By | Sunday July 22, 2012 @ 7:34pm PDT

David Geffen is notoriously press and camera shy. (Unless it’s with Maureen Dowd or Barbara Walters.) But he appeared at TCA today for the upcoming PBS American Masters: Inventing David Geffen documentary billed as an “unflinching” portrait of his life. He was brief with his answers to reporters and critics, emphasizing repeatedly this afternoon that he has little to do with showbiz anymore except for the 3 million-4 million stock shares which his foundation owns in publicly traded DreamWorks Animation run by Jeffrey Katzenberg. (He pointed out that he hasn’t even seen Steven Spielberg’s upcoming Lincoln yet “but I’ve heard it is very good” from DreamWorks 2.0.) Geffen said today it would be “impossible” to raise the $2 billion financing that formed the original DreamWorks which he co-founded back in 1994 with Spielberg and Katzenberg as the first new Hollywood studio in 50 years. “I don’t think it can be done today for a start-up. I don’t think anyone can raise $2 billion, I couldn’t do it today.” Geffen repeatedly spoke about the differences in showbiz between when he was coming up in the biz – and now. One of the most dramatic changes? “The demise of the DVD has a huge impact on the finances of the business,” he said. “The business model has changed. The industry will exist in very different ways than we experience it today. It’ll still be here. But I think there will be industries that will be far more profitable.”

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Specifically about the film biz, Geffen said, “The biggest movies in the world have no stars in them today. Avatar has no stars. Avengers, with the exception of the small role that Robert Downey Jr had in it, had no stars. Today it is the story not the stars,” the mogul said. (He bluntly said Rock of Ages bombed because “it was a bad movie.”) Geffen did say what’s still the same is how hard it is to get into showbiz. “It was very hard then, and it is now. A very hard bullseye to hit.” His own early years as a working class Brooklyn boy in the William Morris Agency mailroom in 1964 spanned into the music industry and his early success Read More »

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TCA: Producer of New Woody Allen Doc Talks About Filmmaker Hitting The Top At 75

Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.

Bob Weide, producer of the forthcoming four-hour Woody Allen documentary that carries the working title Seriously Funny — The Comic Art of Woody Allen and premieres Nov. 20-21 as part of PBS’ American Masters series, appeared this morning on a TCA panel to hype this show. Flanking him were Manhattan star Mariel Hemingway and Oscar-winning Mighty Aphrodite star Mira Sorvino as well as American Masters creator and exec producer Susan Lacy. Notably absent from the panel: Mr. Woody Allen himself.

Hardly a shock.

“He’s in Rome right now shooting a film,” Weide reasoned.

“Or he’d be here,” Lacy quickly added.

“Right. Sure he would,” Weide shot back. “As a matter of fact, I have Mister Allen right here backstage … along with Marshall McLuhan.” Read More »

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After Venice/Telluride Premieres of ‘A Letter To Elia,’ Should Martin Scorsese Start Writing An Emmy Speech?

Pete Hammond

After its World Premiere in Venice and North American Premiere at Telluride, the Martin Scorsese/Kent Jones documentary A Letter To Elia will debut on the PBS series American Masters on October 4. The hour-long documentary chronicles the life and career … Read More »

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