While the press keeps insisting that Disney’s “Pearl Harbor” is a fait accompli, it isn’t.
In fact, it is far from certain that the pic will get made at the Mouse House, given its $140 million-plus pricetag and questions lingering about how the studio will lay off some of the risk.
In the coming week, Michael Eisner and producer Jerry Bruckheimer will face off over the budget, with Walt Disney Studios chairman Peter Schneider and other Disney top brass weighing in.
Mouseketeers are awfully tight-lipped about financing plans, but speculation focuses on some association with Spyglass Entertainment — the well capitalized on-the-lot company that financed “The Sixth Sense.”
Possible scenarios for financing the pic include:
- The studio finances the whole picture at its current pricetag (Eisner opposes this).
- The studio reduces the budget and finances the pic (still unlikely).
- Eisner and Schneider discuss the film and decide not to do it at all, since its biggest advocate — Joe Roth– is out of the picture (not likely).
- The studio embarks on a co-production with another studio (unlikely).
- The studio lays off the risk via Spyglass Entertainment but shields a degree of the risk by partial financing (likely).
- A Spyglass clone gets involved, but, unable to raise enough capital via television and overseas output deals, struggles to find an equity partner (possible).
Though pic faces an uphill battle, sources from within the studio say there is enough internal support to persuade Eisner to find a way to make it. If such support comes through, however, the studio wants to be sure it avoids a “Titanic”-like budget scenario.
No matter the name value of producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director-producer Michael Bay, a movie of “Pearl’s” size and complexity requires that someone take a big risk — and the million-dollar question over the coming week is: Who?
— Charles Lyons
BV TV, ABC Daytime set to merge
ABC is expected to announce the long-anticipated merger between Buena Vista TV and ABC Daytime by the end of this week, according to ABC Television Network prexy Pat Fili-Krushel.
The two sides were originally expected to be combined months ago. But the restructuring took longer than expected, Fili-Krushel said. With new contracts more or less completed, the BVT-ABC Daytime marriage should be in place by NATPE.
Under the new setup, BVT’s programming arm, which produces “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee” and the new cooking talker “The Ainsley Harriott Show,” among others, will report to ABC Daytime president Angela Shapiro. BVT’s sales and marketing will not be included in the consolidation.
BVT topper Janice Marinelli is expected to work closely with Shapiro under the new arrangement.
— Michael Schneider
Launch of Broadway PPV net nears
Former USA Networks chairman-CEO Kay Koplovitz is preparing to launch Broadway Television Network, a pay-per-view channel that will telecast Broadway plays. Koplovitz will detail the net’s plans at a press conference in New York on Tuesday. For its first venture, BTN taped the final performance of long-running tuner “Smoky Joe’s Cafe” on Sunday.
— Paula Bernstein and John Dempsey