THR's Women in Entertainment 2011: Power 100
Dreamworks was fully back in the game this year: having moved its base of operations to Disney and with new financing from India's Reliance, the recharged studio began rolling out a fresh slate of films. Initial titles like I Am Number Four and Fright Night stumbled, and the genre-defying summer release Cowboys & Aliens, on which the company partnered with Universal and Relativity, proved a pricey ($160 million) disappointment ($175 million worldwide).
"The filmmakers strove to make an original, unbranded, 'twisty' film -- and both studios brought their best efforts to the endeavor, but sometimes your reach exceeds your grasp," Snider, 50, says. In its wake, the studio resorted to some belt-tightening. But Real Steel, another action fantasy released in the fall, has shown more muscle, as it's climbed to $252 million worldwide.
And her biggest hit domestically also was one of her riskiest calls: The Help. Snider loved Kathryn Stockett's novel and Tate Taylor's screenplay and decided to take a chance on the relatively untested director. As a mom -- she and her husband, music producer Gary Jones, have two daughters -- Snider had relied on help herself and related to the material, which also struck a chord with audiences, who contributed to a domestic take of nearly $200 million.
"The movie's resonance with audiences was more than we could have imagined," she says, calling the movie "one of those never-to-be-forgotten life experiences."
While her DreamWorks partner Steven Spielberg has most recently been off filming Lincoln, the studio is now readying the Christmas release of his World War I saga War Horse. "The early reactions have been incredibly gratifying," Snider says of the movie that, along with The Help, is expected to contend throughout awards season.
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