Conservative Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz looked like an up-and-coming mogul in the midst of the Bush administration, but now the funder of anti-gay groups is losing his partners.
Anschutz, notoriously secretive, made his money in the oil business and through Qwest Communications, which paid huge fines to the federal government for signing up long distance customers against their will and for an accounting scandal.
A few years ago, he was intriguing new media mogul. He had started the Examiner chain of giveaway daily newspapers, which stretches from San Francisco to Washington, DC. And he produced the movie "Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" with Disney, eventually grossing more than $700 million.
Maybe they weren't, but something seems to be going wrong: In 2008, a joint movie venture with 20th Century Fox all but ended; the co-founder of Anschutz's film company Walden Media made a surprise departure; and now, reports Variety, Disney is pulling away, declining to finance the third "Narnia" film after the second grossed an apparently disappointing $419 million. Walden, meanwhile, is only making about one quarter as many movies as originally planned.
And does anyone really think the giveaway newspaper business could possibly be going well?
His fall from grace hasn't come as quickly as, say, Sam Zell's, but Anschutz is well on his way to becoming another failed, would-be crossover media mogul. He can always blame the gays!