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DreamWorks co-chairman and CEO Stacey Snider has emerged as the frontrunner for a top creative job at the Fox film studio, according to informed sources. Snider is said to have met recently with both studio chief Jim Gianopulos and 21st Century Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch.
Fox declined to comment, as did Snider.
Sources say Gianopulos would have final say on the hire, but he has been known to be looking for a high-level executive since former co-chairman Tom Rothman was dismissed in September 2012. Whoever takes the job clearly would be subordinate to Gianopulos.
Snider, a former chairman of Universal Pictures, has been in the top executive role at DreamWorks alongside Steven Spielberg since 2006. She has been candid that DreamWorks has been operating under tight financial constraints with unspecified funding from India’s Reliance.”It isn’t fun to live at the edge of a cliff,” Snider told THR in October. “So we went about creating a foundation for ourselves and putting up screens to block the wind.”
The production company, which distributes its films through Disney, has had recent disappointments, including Vince Vaughn’s Delivery Man ($30 million domestic) and The Fifth Estate with Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange ($3 million domestic). On the other hand, Lincoln made $182 million domestic and won a best actor Oscar for Daniel Day-Lewis. Its Aaron Paul car-racing movie Need for Speed is set for release March 14.
The sources say given the harsh economic environment, DreamWorks principal Spielberg would be prepared for Snider to take such a job (she is under contract). Previously he had been resistant. It is unclear whether DreamWorks would disband if Snider departs, but if so, Spielberg would remain at the helm of his production company, Amblin. Spielberg’s rep Marvin Levy was not available for comment.
Fox would have to make some accommodations with Disney if DreamWorks is no longer in the picture, but that should not be a major stumbling block.
The remaining members of the original DreamWorks triumvirate, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen, separately have been supportive of Snider as a choice for the Fox job, according to one source. Katzenberg’s DreamWorks Animation distributes its films through Fox, giving him influence there.
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