In 2004, billionaire entrepreneur and film financier Philip Anschutz would like some things to be different.
At Crusader Entertainment, chairman-CEO Howard Baldwin and creative affairs exec VP Karen Baldwin are stepping down from their posts to take a production deal at the company.
Crusader, which has a first-look deal at Paramount Pictures, is also likely to undergo a name change in addition to a restructuring that will install a new production head.
Walden, which has a deal with Disney, may also see some restructuring, though CEO Cary Granat is expected to remain in place.
Anschutz is also looking at the possibility of installing a layer of executives at his Denver headquarters that could oversee his entertainment investments.
Why all the changes?
With films like Walden’s “Holes” and “Ghosts of the Abyss,” last year wasn’t a bad one for Anschutz’s Hollywood investments. However, there are signs of trouble on the horizon.
Walden’s $100 million-plus “Around the World in 80 Days” went into production without a domestic deal. At Crusader, the Ray Charles biopic “Unchain My Heart” may have a hard time recouping its north-of-$40 million budget, even after it finds a North American buyer. Soccer drama “The Game of Their Lives” is still looking for a buyer.
And big-budget “Sahara” just began shooting in Morocco, but the company must contend with a lawsuit filed in L.A. County Superior Court by author Clive Cussler.
In the meantime, it’s business as usual. Among the projects in development at Crusader are “Mandrake” and “Parent Wars.” Walden is overseeing “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”