Today's LAT examines the tensions that have been festering between Paramount emperor Brad Grey and the invading "dream team" that came along inside the $1.6 billion DreamWorks "Trojan Horse" he bought a year ago, whose superior moviemaking experience might enable them to "eventually topple management and grab control." The Times relates Grey's recent upsetting of DreamWorks colleagues team by making unwanted speeches at Dreamgirls' bicoastal premieres, behind-the-scenes efforts made by David Geffen to inject miniaturized DW operative Jeffrey Katzenberg into corporate parent Viacom's executive bloodstream, and a snit that developed over the way the Paramount chief handled the reorganization of the studio after the firing of Gail Berman:
Snider told associates she was furious that Grey had not given her a heads-up about the news release and had lumped her in with three production chiefs who lacked her seniority and status. Although she contractually reported to Grey, Snider saw herself as his equal and considered her true boss to be Spielberg, according to people close to her.
After all, she was the only one at the studio other than Grey who could "greenlight" movies. Along with Spielberg and Geffen, Snider can approve, without Grey's blessing, any film costing up to $85 million, and those up to $100 million if Spielberg is director. DreamWorks is expected to make six to eight movies a year — about as many as Paramount, before counting its two smaller labels.
Snider called Grey that evening to express her anger, said a person with knowledge of the conversation. The discussion became acrimonious and Grey hung up on Snider, the person said. Snider immediately contacted Geffen, who phoned Grey on her behalf.
Grey refused to discuss the matter, but sources close to him say the three have made up.
"I feel zero tension with my partners at DreamWorks," Grey said. "We are one company and their success is our success."
Grey's challenge is convincing his new colleagues. "They have to put some of their ego stuff aside and realize they have something bigger and greater than the sum of the parts," suggested Lilli Friedland, a Century City psychologist who works closely with media executives.
We're glad the Times approached a corporate psychologist to offer some perspective on the ongoing dysfunction on the Melrose lot. Perhaps the parties involved will be inspired to take more active steps to put their bickering behind them in the pursuit of the greater studio good, with Snider and Grey meeting in his office to exchange air-clearing blows with foam grievance-bats, whaling harmlessly, but cathartically, away at one another, primal-screaming "I am resentful that you might one day take my job!" and "You don't respect my moviemaking autonomy! Also, it's taking way too long for me to get your job!" as they try and mend a strained working relationship.