Home Hollywood In Hollywood, Great Dealmakers Don’t Usually Make Great Movies – Deadline

In Hollywood, Great Dealmakers Don’t Usually Make Great Movies – Deadline


Where do good movies come from? A decade ago, when Netflix started producing its own shows, Ted Sarandos and his colleagues put the problem in the hands of creatives in town. It’s a smart move – but most respondents insisted there was no answer.

Coincidentally, I’ve been asking this question at various times over the years with equally ambiguous results. Saul Zaentz, an active film and music producer, once responded: “Great movies come from terrible people who fight you every step of the way and make your life miserable.”

Pain or not, Zaentz’s independent company has managed to produce three Best Picture winners over the years, and his music company has made millions from Creedence Clearwater Revival. From Samuel Godwin to John Heyman, Dino DeLaurentiis and Francis Coppola, Zaentz and his accomplishments have never been part of the Hollywood corporate structure, and his accomplishments are reminiscent of The glory days of independence. In that period, even independent exhibitor and producer Don Rugoff made films of European masters from Martin Scorsese to Ingmar Bergman Key figures in the producer’s career.

While Hollywood corporations often find a way to coexist with and draw from these mavericks, their ranks have dwindled dramatically over the years. Today’s independent innovators are more akin to the Peter Chernin model. Last week, Chernin unveiled a mix of financial deals that will mobilize about $800 million in equity and debt financing.

The product will be “premium content”, which has yet to be determined, much of it aimed at international markets, he said. The Chrenin deal follows the recently announced $725 million SpringHill deal (with LeBron James involved) and the $760 million Legend and $900 million Hello Sunshine deal (Reese Witherspoon).

Cherning, 71, represents a mirror of the opposite of the Zantzian image: Cautious and calculating, Cherning ran Fox during the Rupert Murdoch era and, like Murdoch, few people Hear a passion for any particular film or filmmaker.Chernin’s official biography suggests credit to Titanic and Avatar, but when a heated spat erupted over production delays or a lack of funding, media inquiries turned directly to smaller executives. Once, sitting next to Murdoch at a major Fox screening, when I asked him what he thought of the film, he suggested, “Ask Czernin – he gave me faster than me. out his ‘no opinion’ line.”

Christian Bale Peter Chernin Matt Damon

(LR) Christian Bale, Peter Czernin and Matt Damon at the 2019 premiere of ‘Ford V Ferrari’
Kevin Winter/GI

Ultimately, the issues surrounding all of these deals, including Chernin’s, have to do with the stressful “good movie” issue. Will this huge sum of money somehow fall into the hands of creatives with the drive or ambition to create exciting content? Granted, this question mixes apples and oranges, but, as Zaentz says, is there anything in the rhetoric that resembles a mission statement or perspective?

Zaentz is a burly man with a bushy white beard who has an opinion on everything and is always ready to argue. He started out in the music business, managing tours for Duke Ellington and Stan Getz, before signing with groups such as CCR, led by John Fogerty.

The Zaentz-Fogerty Association sparked a series of music and lawsuits. Fogerty even created a hit record around the lyrics, “Zaentz can’t dance, but he can steal.”

Zaentz’s enthusiastic production of films reflects his wide-ranging intellect and adventurous spirit: A flying over a cuckoo’s nest, Amadeus, UK patient and mosquito coast. Even the titles of his films suggest their breadth: Unbearable lightness in life and play in the Lord’s field.

My encounter with Zaentz was dynamic and combative.As Michael Douglas, his cuckoo nest The co-producer said of him: “Saul is full of courage — the courage of great ideas, and the courage to follow through.”

Zaentz is curious to know how to navigate the mega-deals announced today, but will also be appalled by the streaming attention. In fact, if Sarandos asked him where great movies came from, he would probably answer with a smile: “They come from me. Count on it.”

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