Many studio deals unlikely to be renewed

The production landscape has undergone major shifts in the last six months, with Disney and the Weinsteins parting ways, Sony formally absorbing MGM/UA and a new regime revamping Paramount.

The number of studio deals is up slightly, from 226 to 230. The raw numbers, though, are misleading. Many of these deals are holdovers from previous years. Many of them, especially at Sony, are unlikely to be renewed.

While the sheer number of pacts could eventually shrink, there are plenty of new deals, including DreamWorks pacting with its own Walter Parkes & Laurie McDonald and Revolution Studios making a deal with its own Todd Garner.

Nine shingles followed the Weinsteins away from Disney’s Miramax, with only two remaining under Daniel Battsek at Disney’s inhouse indie. Otherwise, the Mouse stood pat, keeping its 24 existing deals.

Sony (including Revolution Studios, MGM and UA) shed two shingles, but even so it stands at 53 — almost half again as many as any other studio.

That number is all but certain to come down.

Five deals at MGM/UA have already ended since the merger, leaving 17 still on the books

Danjaq, producer of the 007 pics, clearly will stay, but other MGM/UA holdovers are question marks.

Their fate may lie in the hands of new Lion topper Harry Sloan, who’d like the label to get back into the content business; he may want to retain some deals.

With Brad Grey taking the reins, Paramount saw the greatest churn and the greatest shift in culture. Among those gone are Walter Latham, John Woo’s Lion Rock and Bob Yari’s Bull’s Eye.

In their place, Plan B is one of seven shingles to pact with Par.

So far, that’s resulted in a net gain of three deals at Par, but Grey is still dealing, pacting last week with Jamie Foxx. Look for more announcements soon.

Warner, meanwhile, went on a bit of a binge, adding 10 new pacts to bring its total to 37, a net gain of seven.

Other studios saw little change in numbers, or modest increases.

Universal was very stable, holding steady at 35.

DreamWorks held steady on its total of 16, while New Line added two.

Among notable additions, Charlize Theron got a deal at WB, while Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor pacted with Fox Searchlight. Bruce Willis’ Cheyenne was dropped from Revolution’s list and Cedric the Entertainer’s A Bird and a Bear was a casualty at MGM. Neither has yet pacted elsewhere.

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