THE DEALMAKER: For entertainment lawyer Kenneth Kleinberg, the new foci for dealmakers these days are the globalization of film and television production and the arrival of new technologies.
“Digital distribution is allowing people around the world to consume more motion pictures,” he notes. “Meanwhile, the rest of the world has caught up with Hollywood in moviemaking techniques, and a lot of our people better wake up and smell the coffee.”
For the co-founder of Kleinberg Lopez Lange Cuddy & Klein, the internationalization trend makes for lots of globetrotting.
A recent trip took him to South Korea, where he represents Tcha Sung-jai, president of Sidus, the country’s largest entertainment enterprise. He negotiates for Spanish producer Fernando Bovaira (“The Others”), who is behind “Agora,” set in Roman Egypt and budgeted at $100 million, a record for an independent production.
Longtime clients include Jack Nicholson; Mick Jagger and Keith Richards; J.K. Rowling on film matters with Warner Bros.; effects master Douglas Trumbull; and Disney animator Glen Keane.
It’s the second career turn for Kleinberg as an entertainment attorney. After two decades with pioneering entertainment law firm Mitchell, Silberberg and Knupp, he moved into the industry itself in 1985, first as executive vice president of United Artists and then as president and chief operating officer for the Weintraub Entertainment Group. In 1992 he launched his current firm. Kleinberg remains outside counsel for UA, where his son Elliott is chief operating officer.
KEY DEALS: Mick Jagger’s starring role in Paramount’s “The Long Play,” to be directed by Martin Scorsese; Odd Lot Entertainment’s deal with Lionsgate for “The Spirit”; C&W singer Toby Keith’s arrangement to produce, write and direct “Beer for My Horses”; repping Australian animation company Animal Logic to make “Guardians of Ga’Hoole” in 3-D for Warner Bros.
DEALMAKER DOS: “A lawyer should know his place, respecting the role of other client reps like agents and business managers.”
DEALMAKER DON’TS: “Don’t mistake yourself for the client, who doesn’t want to see your name in the newspaper.”
TOP DEALMAKERS ENCOUNTERED: Mentors while at Mitchell Silberberg: Arthur Groman, Edward Rubin and Seymour Steinberg