Katzenberg Defends Dreamworks Cofounder Spielberg
DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg registered shock and anger Wednesday at news reports quoting Viacom chief Philippe Dauman as saying that it "would be completely immaterial" to his company if Steven Spielberg decides to leave DreamWorks when his contract expires next year. Speaking at an investors' conference in New York, Katzenberg, who co-founded DreamWorks with Spielberg and David Geffen, said: "Steven Spielberg is nothing short of a national treasure. ... To suggest that not having Steven Spielberg is completely immaterial seems ill-advised. I think calmer heads need to prevail here." Reporting on Katzenberg's remarks, Daily Variety noted Spielberg's "creative clout" was cited to justify the $1.6-billion price Viacom paid for DreamWorks in 2005 to beat out Universal. But now, the trade paper commented, "Dauman's comments have created additional fences to mend should he endeavor to keep the troika in the fold."