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Big Budget Break Ups

by Tippi Blevins June 20, 2008 1:51 pm
Big Budget Break Ups Film industry relationships are complicated. Most relationships are, but at least with marriages and dating, we at least have some frame of reference. Our friends or family members have been through the same things we have, and can share their experiences with us. And if not, we can always watch the wack-jobs on Maury to make ourselves feel better. Let's look at the relationship troubles between DreamWorks SKG and Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures, as reported by Zap2it, in terms we might be able to relate to.

Industry relationship: Viacom owns everything that DreamWorks has. DreamWorks naturally wants to take some stuff with it when it splits from Paramount. Said "stuff" includes Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy.
Romantic counterpart: Say you married into a cult. Everything you ever owned now belongs to the cult. You want to flee into the night now that you've woken up from your stupor and come to your senses, but ownership issues are tricky. Do you cut all your losses and run? Or do you stuff Ben and Eddie into a duffle bag and beat it?

Industry relationship: "Untangling the rights to various properties could be tricky," says the article. Steven Spielberg is attached as a producer to a buttload of DreamWorks projects and is guaranteed a percentage of whatever Paramount makes off them.
Romantic counterpart: Even after a divorce, you'll be supporting your ex with big fat alimony checks for the rest of your life.

Industry relationship: DreamWorks and Viacom/Paramount joined forces in December 2005. DreamWorks almost immediately regretted it.
Romantic counterpart: "Yikes! He seemed so much hotter in that incredibly dark club last night!"

Industry relationship: DreamWorks co-founder David Geffen "is hoping to raise $1 billion in equity and debt financing to return the company...to its roots as an independent outfit."
Romantic counterpart: You want to jump from the sinking ship of your marriage, but you have to build up some cash first so you don't end up living in a cheap motel by the interstate eating Slim Jims for breakfast and bathing in a gas station bathroom.

Industry relationship: Spielberg wants to go back to Universal, where he made Jaws, Jurassic Park, and many other hit movies.
Romantic counterpart: Nothing makes you want to go back to your first ex like breaking up with your current partner.

So there you have it. It's really not much different from any relationship. There's fighting, and division of assets, custody battles, and longing for the lost days of your independence. But this case, it's not futons and dishes, but movies like Norbit they're fighting over. I can't say I envy either side.

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