LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Iconic Hollywood director Steven Spielberg is not leaving DreamWorks, his spokesman said on Tuesday, denying a report on the online edition of celebrity magazine Radar.
“Radar’s radar kind of bounced off an incorrect source,” the spokesman said.
Spielberg’s relationship with DreamWorks’ parent, Paramount, a unit of Viacom Inc, has been the subject of intense speculation in recent months.
Radar reported on Tuesday that Spielberg was unhappy and leaving the studio he helped found 13 years ago, citing sources deep inside Viacom.
DreamWorks was acquired by Paramount Pictures in 2005 for $1.6 billion. Under the deal, Spielberg and partner David Geffen agreed to stay on with Viacom through the end of 2008. But there has been persistent speculation the two principals are unhappy and may choose to leave Paramount at the end of 2008.
DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc, a separate publicly held studio run by Jeffrey Katzenberg, has its own deal to have its movies distributed by Paramount through 2012.
Last week, NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker said at a UBS investor conference the company would consider buying DreamWorks from Viacom if the movie studio was ever put up for sale. NBC is majority owned by General Electric Co.
The New York Times reported last month that Geffen and Spielberg have been negotiating to move their studio to NBC Universal from Viacom’s Paramount Pictures.
In September, Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman caused a stir when he told investors at Goldman Sachs’ Communacopia media conference in New York that, if Spielberg chose to leave, the impact would be “immaterial” to the company.
But speaking at the same UBS conference as NBC Universal’s Zucker last week, Dauman said his company “will continue to have a very long relationship with Steven in one form or another.”
“Our plan is to proceed with mutual respect,” Dauman said. “We’re going to proceed with calm, deliberateness and to make sure he’s happy doing what he’s doing.”
Reporting by Sue Zeidler; Editing by Andre Grenon