First, anyone intimate with Hollywood ways knows well that Steven Spielberg wouldn’t go public unless he were pissed off. After all, he’s the proverbial 800-pound gorilla, so just a word or two out loud crushes the shorter-than-average mogul. So what’s giving Spielberg the sudden gift of gab is Paramount’s (i.e. Brad Grey’s) penchant for credit grabbing. And, trust me, this is going to be an even bigger issue when DreamWorks’ Transformers is released July 4th because it’s shaping up as the biggest movie of the year that Paramount will distribute. The New York Times‘ Laura Holson on Monday spotlights Spielberg’s own words. (Best, it backs up my own reporting on Brad Grey, Paramount, and DreamWorks from January 17th.) “I insisted, contractually, on autonomy for DreamWorks if I was going to continue under the Paramount and Viacom funding arrangement,” Spielberg tells Holson. “So I take exception when the press is contacted by our friends and partners at Paramount, who refer to every DreamWorks picture as a Paramount picture. It is not the case.” Spielberg and others at DreamWorks were riled about an incident I reported three weeks ago and which is the lead of Holson’s article: how Grey got up and made a brief speech at both the N.Y. and L.A. Dreamgirls premieres, to DreamWorks’ discomfort. Grey, doing a mea culpa to Holson about the dust-up over credit, said “Steven, I, David and Stacey can do a better job of making everyone understand.” Stacy Snider also went public with her anger over the wording of that Paramount press release that put her on the same level as other studio divisions and under Brad. “There is no doubt when the press release went out, I was upset by it,” Snider told Holson. As I had pointed out, Snider has greenlight ability. (She and Spielberg have sole authority to greenlight films that cost $85 million or less. If Spielberg directs, that rises to $100 million, Snider and Spielberg clarifies to the NYT.) Clearly, the Paramount-DreamWorks relationship is troubled. Analyzed Spielberg: “I think this marriage is going to be dependent on a healthy amount of dialogue.”
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