THE DEALMAKER: Rick Finkelstein has a panoply of executive titles at NBC Universal, where he sits at the highest rung of decisionmakers. He’s vice chairman of Universal Pictures and exec VP of Universal Studios. He also oversees special projects for Universal prexy and CEO Ron Meyer.
Titles aside, Finkelstein’s arena is financial: He directs the overall business activities for Universal. That means he’s in charge when it comes to negotiating and signing off on deals involving everything from financing of film slates (such as the recent $500 million deal with Relativity Capital) to an extension of U’s exclusive arrangement with HBO through 2015, worth $1 billion.
“The whole idea is to lock in the key elements of our strategy long-term and then focus as much as we can on the movies,” he says.
Finkelstein enjoys his perch at the top. “What gives me a kick is being involved in all aspects of the business,” he says. “I enjoy the high-level overview, being able to see the whole system from soup to nuts.”
Among other duties, Finkelstein represents U on the board of directors of the Motion Picture Assn. of America.
KEY DEALS: A $500 million pact with Relativity Media to finance upward of 40 films over three years; a groundbreaking $100 million licensing arrangement with cabler FX for 15 titles, including present release “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor”; the megadeal with HBO.
DEALMAKER DOS: “We tend to deal with the same people over and over, making for good partners.”
DEALMAKER DON’TS: “Don’t go rushing into things. Be limber to seize an opportunity, but also be deliberate.”
TOP DEALMAKERS ENCOUNTERED: Power entertainment lawyers Skip Brittenham and Bruce Ramer