You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

MPAA to scale back budget, staff

Org to cut 15% - 20% of operating budget

The dire economy has hit even the industry’s chief lobbying arm, the Motion Picture Assn. of America, which has been forced to scale back its budget and staff.

MPAA chairman Dan Glickman said the org faced cuts of 15%-20% of its operating budget, “done largely to reflect the economic conditions of the industry.”

“Fundamentally, the mission of the organization has not changed at all,” he said.

Meanwhile, sources say MPAA’s board, which includes the six member studios, voted to renew Glickman’s contract, although he declined to comment on the details of the pact. He also would not comment on a report on Tuesday that the new contract would extend only through summer 2010, even though he had sought a longer one.

One MPAA board member, who did not want to be identified, insisted that Glickman “enjoys the full support of the MPAA.”

Glickman, a former Kansas congressman who was secretary of agriculture in the Clinton administration, nevertheless had big shoes to fill when he joined the MPAA in 2004 given that he succeeded the charismatic Jack Valenti, who headed the org for nearly four decades.

There has been some talk about the MPAA’s mission going forward, particularly as its members face ever more divergent agendas from their conglom parents.

But Glickman cited the org’s spate of successes in securing tax-friendly legislation included as part of last year’s bailout bill, an increase in federal antipiracy resources and the passage of incentives in a number of states, including California earlier this month. An effort to include additional tax measures in the stimulus bill fell victim to Republican efforts to characterize it as a windfall for Hollywood, already enjoying a robust box office.

Glickman declined to specify the number of layoffs, but the org has made cuts from its communications staff and has realigned its international piracy operations. The MPAA has about 160 employees and 40 internationally via the MPA.

“What we are going through is what virtually every trade association in Washington is going through right now,” he said. “Our goal is to maintain our mission, and to do it effectively.”

“We have got to do more with less, and that is what we are going to do.”

Warner Bros. chairman-CEO Barry Meyer said, “I wouldn’t interpret this as a redefining of the MPAA. If anything, we would like a laser-like focus on these particular issues.”

Universal Studios prexy-chief operating officer Ron Meyer said the cutbacks are “reflective of every part of our industry.”

“The MPAA is not in jeopardy,” he said. “I think it is a very, very viable organization. They continue to protect our critical agendas, and they protect our interests in Washington and around the world.”

More Film

  • Berlin Film 'The Ground Beneath My

    Berlin Competition Film 'The Ground Beneath My Feet' Sold to Germany's Salzgeber (EXCLUSIVE)

    Salzgeber has acquired the German rights for Berlin Film Festival competition title “The Ground Beneath My Feet” from sales agent Picture Tree International. Variety has been given exclusive access to the film’s trailer. Salzgeber will release the film, directed by Marie Kreutzer, mid-May. Trailer for Berlin Film Festival competition title “The Ground Beneath My Feet” [...]

  • Donald Glover'Atlanta' TV show premiere, Arrivals,

    Childish Gambino Surprises Beverly Hills Crowd With Reimagined 'Redbone'

    Donald Glover made an unexpected appearance at Film Independent’s “An Evening With…” series tonight (Jan. 15), held at the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts in Beverly Hills and presented by the HFPA. Joining “Black Panther” composer and Childish Gambino collaborator Ludwig Göransson, who was the subject of a Q&A conducted by “The Treatment” host Elvis [...]


    Film News Roundup: Glenn Close Selected for Oscar Wilde Award

    In today’s film news roundup, Glenn Close gets an honor, AFI names its Directing Workshop for Women participants and Teri Polo gets cast in a Christmas drama. CLOSE HONOR Glenn Close will be honored on Feb. 21 by the US-Ireland Alliance at the 14th Annual Oscar Wilde Awards, held at J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot in [...]

  • Jason Reitman Ghostbusters

    Jason Reitman to Direct Secret 'Ghostbusters' Movie

    Sony Pictures is getting the wheels in motion for the next installment in the “Ghostbusters” franchise, and it knows who it’s going to call to direct: Jason Reitman. Sources tell Variety that Reitman, whose father, Ivan, directed the first two “Ghostbusters” movies, will direct the latest pic in the famous franchise. Reitman has also co-written a [...]

  • L.A. Teachers' Strike: Hollywood Studios, Unions

    Hollywood Studios, Unions Support Parents and Educators as L.A. Teachers' Strike Rages

    Hollywood unions and entertainment companies have stepped up to support the 31,000 Los Angeles teachers in the second day of a massive strike that’s affected nearly half a million students. More than 50 SAG-AFTRA members picketed at a Tuesday afternoon rally in the driving rain next to the Hollywood & Highland Center with secretary-treasurer Jane [...]

  • SAMUEL L. JACKSON in Glass. M.

    ‘Glass’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv, Universal Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “Glass.” Ads placed for the superhero thriller had an estimated media value of $9.89 million through Sunday for 1,183 national [...]

  • Danny Glover

    Danny Glover Joins 'Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle' Sequel

    Danny Glover has joined the cast of Sony’s “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” sequel. His role is being kept under wraps, as is the storyline. Glover will star opposite Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, and Karen Gillan, all of whom are set to return. Awkwafina is in final negotiations for a significant part in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content