Following Thursday's controversy-kickstarting BusinessWeek story "Paramount and DreamWorks: Splitsville?," in which it was suggested that a strained relationship between Steven Spielberg and Paramount might cause the director and his partners to jilt Brad Grey's DreamWorks-dependent studio empire when Spielberg's contract expires late next year, has seemingly induced much pants-soiling from within the walls of the Melrose lot. Hoping to halt the spread of further bowel failures over the rumored state of the DW/Paramount union, votes of confidence have been issued by Spielberg and David Geffen, who took breaks from their filmmaking and shuffleboard-playing duties, respectively, to (at least temporarily) envelop Grey in a warm, reassuring hug. In a story about the alleged looming split, Var's Peter Bart passes along Geffen's regards for the Paramount team:
Geffen himself, calling from his yacht, insisted Friday that "Steven and I are very happy with the performance of Paramount's marketing and distribution teams in handling our films." He cited Rob Moore and Jim Tharp, among others, as contributing to the success of such DreamWorks-Paramount releases as "Transformers" and "Disturbia."
And on the Grey-Spielberg front, DHD's Nikki Finke reports that the embattled Paramount emperor, dejected about the BusinessWeek story, reached out to the director on his Indiana Jones 4 location shoot to be cheered up:
A few weeks ago, when Brad Grey visited Steven Spielberg in Connecticut where Indiana Jones 4 was shooting on location, the DreamWorks partner put the Paramount boss's mind at ease. "Steven said to Brad that he intended to be in business with him a long time," a source tells me. As a result, Grey was flabbergasted when he saw the headline "Paramount & DreamWorks: Splitsville?" from the new issue of Business Week which was reporting how it's "entirely possible" that Spielberg could want to leave Paramount as soon as late next year. The timing couldn't have been worse for Grey. Thanks to yet another DreamWorks pic Transformers performing spectacularly at the summer box office, not only had Paramount climbed to No. 1 in studio market share this year but boasted a new movie franchise to exploit. Grey had been celebrating. Now, because of the article, Brad was "bummed out", a source close to him told me. Also Grey knew that every other Hollywood mogul like him attending Jack Valenti's memorial service last Thursday had heard about the bombshell. So the Paramount chief needed to know if this was real or not. He spoke to Spielberg right away. This time, the director was on location in Hawaii. "And Steven continued to tell Brad he is 'very happy'," an insider tells me.
Hopefully, Grey has had his bruised feelings adequately soothed by Spielberg's assertions of happiness and promises of a long, fulfilling relationship (well, at least one that survives into 2009), allowing him to finally halt the hourly deliveries of FTD's popular "Please Tell Me I'm Pretty Again" flower arrangements to the Indiana Jones set, the alarming frequency of which was starting to seem "a little needy" to the busy director.
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