News in Hollywood for the week of June 5, 1998
THEY’RE BAAACK With Seagram’s $10.6 billion acquisition of PolyGram announced on May 21, three familiar, unwanted faces have returned to Seagram’s Universal Studios. First is Rob Reiner and Castle Rock Entertainment. In 1996, MCA/Universal negotiated to acquire the company behind A Few Good Men, but after the studio backed away from the deal, Castle Rock eventually signed a three-year agreement with PolyGram and Warner Bros. Second is Ivan Reitman (Six Days, Seven Nights), whose Northern Lights production company has been housed in a $4 million office on the Universal lot. After the new Seagram-appointed regime would not renew his deal, Reitman joined with ex-MCA vice chairman Tom Pollock and in February signed a deal at PolyGram. Finally, there’s Pollock, who resigned his exec post soon after Seagram took over and who hired Casey Silver, now Universal Pictures chairman — meaning, technically, Pollock now reports to his former protégé. Hopefully, for this trio’s sake, Seagram will soon find a buyer for PolyGram’s feature-film unit.
WEB SIGHT After a five-year legal wrangle, now comes word that James Cameron could be waiting a lot longer before Spider-Man‘s film rights become available. Attorneys for Marvel Comics want to move the case from Los Angeles to a Delaware court — where the company is in bankruptcy hearings. Meanwhile, lawyers for the other parties involved — MGM/UA (with indie producer 21st Century), Viacom, and Columbia TriStar Home Video — are trying to move into a mediation in L.A. to settle the dispute out of court. The problem is, no mediator can be agreed upon. ”We’d like to have the matter resolved by the judge who is overseeing all of Marvel’s assets,” says Marvel attorney Carole Handler. ”Spider-Man is an important asset and…we believe that Marvel owns the rights.” Cameron did not return calls.