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

  • Taiwanese director Fu Yue

    China, Taiwan in Film Awards Face-off With Roosters, Horses Scheduled on Same Day

    Despite rising political antagonism, China and Taiwan have for years been able to put aside their differences for a night of shared glitz and glamour at the annual Taipei-based Golden Horse Awards, known as Asia’s Oscars. But with cross-strait relations at a nadir, that’s about to change.  Chinese-language cinema is set for a showdown the [...]

  • Julia Roberts Harriet Tubman

    Studio Exec Suggested Julia Roberts Play Harriet Tubman, 'Harriet' Screenwriter Says

    Multi-talented multi-hyphenate Cynthia Erivo plays Harriet Tubman in Kasi Lemmons’ biopic “Harriet.” But according to “Harriet’s” screenwriter, Gregory Allen Howard, Julia Roberts — yes, white woman Julia Roberts — was once suggested by a studio executive to play the role. In a Q&A for “Harriet” studio Focus Features as well as a piece for the [...]

  • Atlantics

    Variety Names 10 Directors to Watch for 2020

    Before film critics start summing up the present year at the movies with a deluge of Top 10 lists, Variety gazes into the medium’s future by announcing its annual 10 Directors to Watch — a lineup of filmmaking talents who’ve stood out on the recent festival circuit, or whose movies will soon be hitting screens [...]

  • Napa Valley Film Festival Winners: 'Lucky

    'Lucky Grandma' Wins Napa Valley Film Festival Narrative Feature Prize

    “Lucky Grandma,” “The Remix: Hip Hop in Fashion” and “The Nomads” were among the winners of the Napa Valley Film Festival, which ran Nov. 13-17 in various towns in the valley. The winner of the narrative feature was “Lucky Grandma,” presented by ZD Wines, which won a $10,000 cash prize, courtesy of Meadowood Napa Valley. [...]

  • Brad Pitt stars in “Ad Astra”.

    'Ad Astra' to Blast Off in China in December

    The Brad Pitt-starring sci-fi blockbuster “Ad Astra” will land in Chinese theaters on December 6, more than two months after its U.S. debut. Directed, co-written and produced by James Gray (“The Lost City of Z,” “Two Lovers”), the thriller also stars Tommy Lee Jones, Liv Tyler, Donald Sutherland and Ruth Negga. Pitt plays an astronaut [...]

  • Fred Wolf to Direct 'Love 40'

    Film News Roundup: Fred Wolf to Direct Tennis Rom-Com 'Love 40'

    In today’s film news roundup, Fred Wolf is directing a romantic comedy in New York; Leah Remini, Chinoye Chukwu, Marielle Heller and Lulu Wang receive honors; and the topless bar documentary “Red Dog” finds a home. ‘LOVE 40’ Bluewater Lane Productions has brought on Fred Wolf to co-write and direct the romantic comedy “Love 40,” [...]

  • Doppelgänger Red (Lupita Nyong'o) and Adelaide

    Lupita Nyong'o Follows Hollywood's Tradition of Two Roles in One Film

    Peter Sellers played three roles in Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 “Dr. Strangelove.” In December of that year, Variety reported that Columbia was mounting an Oscar campaign for lead actor, but was also considering three supporting-actor campaigns, for each of his characters. (They settled on one campaign, and Sellers’ nomination as lead actor was one of the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content