Sid Ganis, Real

The very idea that AMPAS president Sid Ganis would use his brief TV face time during the Oscars to urge viewers to see movies in theaters and not just on DVDs at home was a laugh riot. Not because he stopped short of saying, sure, let’s scrap DVDs altogether and lose that vital revenue stream. Rather, it was because the vast majority of Academy voters judge the films for Oscars based on DVD viewing.

Which reminds me of my favorite Sid Ganis story.

Producer Ganis had an A-List Hollywood career, holding top positions at Sony Pictures, Columbia and Columbia/Tri-Star when the place was tanking in the early 1990s. Before that, Ganis was prez of Paramount Pictures’ motion picture group. This is where we catch up with him. Producer Ed Feldman was coming off Wired — the movie no friend of John Belushi’s wanted made — and couldn’t get a production deal at any studio. Not even a cheap housekeeping arrangement. Not even an office. (He’d offered to pay for a secretary and everything else.) So Feldman goes to his pal Sid Ganis, then Paramount’s new poobah and nervous about it. But Feldman and his wife were godparents to Ganis’ oldest daughter. A simple raise of an eyebrow from Ganis could have landed Feldman, who had a history of making money for that studio. Feldman went so far as to beg, but Ganis still said no. Feldman felt destroyed. (Agent John Ptak, who got Feldman into the Wired mess to begin with, came to the rescue by bringing him on board client Peter Weir’s Green Card being made at Disney, where Feldman was “rehabilitated.”) Years after Ganis had gone to Sony, I asked him about The Feldman Matter. Ganis acknowledged it was true.

But he looked really, really sad about it.

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