By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Well, the weekend of August 1, Lionsgate officially dumped Clive Barker’s Midnight Meat Train. And not just into a paltry 102 theaters but humiliatingly into the dollar- and second-run theaters, where it made $32,000 ($313 per screen).
Now, fans are worried Lionsgate will do the same to other films they’re hotly anticipating, like Repo! The Genetic Opera and The Burrowers. All are ex-Lionsgate head Peter Block’s films, so Drake has a vested interest in making Block’s movies look bad at the box office even if he may be doing it for moral reasons. (I’ve long campaigned that execs should look inward before releasing “hard R” horror films, especially those with torture porn.)
As one horror fan asked me, “The question is, Why does Lionsgate want the movie to make less money than it would normally in limited theaters? Something seems off.” The answer may well be studio politics.
New IATSE President
So I was right. As I tipped first, IATSE’s four-term union president, Tom Short, did indeed step down by announcing his retirement, on July 31. Immediately, the union’s General Executive Board unanimously named Matthew Loeb to replace Short. Loeb was IATSE’s first division director of Motion Picture and Television Production. Now, let’s see if Loeb will side with Hollywood guilds or continue Short’s policies in Big Media’s pocket.
Green Light for DreamWorks-Reliance
I’m told that the DreamWorks financing deal with India’s media and entertainment conglomerate Reliance ADA — for at least $500 million — is almost completed and will be announced in the next week to 10 days. The Reliance people were in Los Angeles last week meeting with DreamWorks.
I hear they also met with Jeffrey Katzenberg, whose publicly held company DreamWorks Animation has an “out” clause from its Paramount distribution deal after 10 films. David Geffen officially severs his ties with Paramount as soon as August, and Steven Spielberg can then leave in October.
After that, 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 Big Media mogul names of Rajesh Sawhney and Anil Dhirubhai Ambani (one of the world’s 10 richest men) to help with a planned $1.2 billion total financing for DreamWorks 2.0, the new independent film company the principals are starting post-Paramount. The intent is to make about six movies a year. Meanwhile, DreamWorks and Paramount will battle over Spielberg’s exit and all that joint development.
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