ThinkFilm Schmogul Experimenting With Bold 'Pay No One' StrategyIt's been a while since we last heard from David Bergstein, the embattled studio chieftain whose cash-challenged Capitol/ThinkFilm operation has withstood everything from repeated production stoppages to lawsuit flurries in recent months. In the time since Variety caught up with him on his yacht at Cannes, however, he's been plenty busy polishing his brass balls, today unveiling his secret comeback plan in The Hollywood Reporter. Follow the jump for more specifics on the schmogul's no-cost rebuilding strategy:
"There is always an adjective that precedes us: 'Beleaguered,' 'financially distressed,' " Bergstein said recently from his plush new offices in the Fox Plaza in Century City, with a hint of an accent from his native New York. "And none of these people know anything." ... [A]fter releasing 20-odd pictures in 2006 and 2007, only nine ThinkFilm movies have opened this year. Bergstein apparently has sold off some films, canceled others and has refused to commit to release dates for the only other two films originally scheduled for 2008: January's Sundance Film Festival pickups Phoebe in Wonderland and The Escapist. At the same time, at least four separate lawsuits have been filed against ThinkFilm this year by partners claiming they were short shifted. "Some of what is out there is true," Bergstein said. "The vast majority is not true. And for the stuff that is true, my answer is, 'So what? So what if X, Y or Z might be owed money?' "
Even for us, whom nothing really shocks anymore (except maybe the highly NSFW Cakefarts, itself a Bergstein-career allegory), such insolence is a bit bracing. (And anyway, isn't that just called "bankruptcy"?) Obviously his partners aren't welcoming his philosophy, resetting their dropped jaws long enough to characterize Bergstein as a "disgrace" whose practices aren't only "disgusting, but downright immoral." Not even enduringly quotable ThinkFilm president Mark Urman, who has downplayed the controversy from the start, had a response for THR. Frankly, we're starting to wonder if today's bomb threat went to the wrong office in Century City — can this guy possibly ever make another deal in this town? [Photo Credit: THR]