It’s no surprise why Stacey Snider is feeling Zenlike as CEO/co-chair of DreamWorks Studios: She delivered four straight box office hits this year, the most recent being summer blockbuster “Transformers.”
Once the ultimate boys’ club, DreamWorks couldn’t have asked for a more shrewd ambassador than Snider, a firm and confident studio exec. Over the past year, she’s made it clear that DreamWorks remains an autonomous shop, even if it is now owned by Paramount.
While rumors persist that Snider will one day replace Brad Grey as studio head at Paramount, she insists it is gossip and nothing more. She’s perfectly happy right where she is, she says, a notion that would be hard to dispute.
Snider has sole authority to greenlight any movie that costs $85 million and under, or $100 million and under if Spielberg is directing. Otherwise, Grey has final say.
The opening of “Transformers” over the July 4 holiday frame propelled Paramount past the $1 billion mark at the domestic box office earlier in the calendar year than any other studio in history. Other pics responsible for Par’s victory include DreamWorks’ “Blades of Glory,” “Norbit” and “Disturbia.”
Snider continues her tradition of forging strong alliances with top filmmakers. She won a heated bidding war for Peter Jackson’s bigscreen adaptation of Alice Sebold’s bestselling tome “The Lovely Bones,” which Jackson begins filming in October. (Snider had made “King Kong” with Jackson at Universal.)
DreamWorks also is reteaming Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet for the first time since “Titanic” in “Revolutionary Road.” Sam Mendes, Winslet’s husband, is currently lensing the film, which is set for a December bow.
On the more commercial side of the aisle, “Transformers,” directed by Michael Bay and based on the Hasbro toy robot line, gives DreamWorks its first live-action franchise, and a much-needed one at that.
Snider herself never played with the toys robots, but she’s still feeling the magic.
Vocation: CEO and co-chair of DreamWorks Studios
Recent breakthrough: “The career change I’ve undertaken in leaving Universal for DreamWorks. Change is hard for me, but once I’ve done it, I find it invigorating.”
Role model: “My mother, for a million reasons, but mostly for the fact that she pushed me to be independent.”
Career mantra: “Being able to stand by your words and actions; being accountable.”
What’s next: DreamWorks’ upcoming slate includes the Farrelly brothers’ “The Heartbreak Kid,” Marc Forster’s “The Kite Runner,” Susanne Bier’s “Things We Lost in the Fire” and Tim Burton’s “Sweeney Todd,” starring Johnny Depp.