Is Summit Entertainment Going Lion-Shopping?
When Summit Entertainment hit paydirt with the Twilight franchise, everybody knew a formidable new player had arrived on the scene. And by the time it classlessly kicked franchise co-star Rachelle Lefevre to the curb in favor of Bryce Dallas Howard, it affirmed it truly belonged in the cutthroat pool of mainstream Hollywood. But how will we really know Summit's power? According to one report, it might be when you see chieftains Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger driving up to the office with MGM's (or the Weinsteins', or Lionsgate's) library sticking out of their trunk.
The NY Post notes today that Summit has enlisted the counsel of Morgan Stanley to find a few troubled assets that might entertain a takeover. None is a better candidate than MGM, sitting on a few billion dollars in debt, some major franchises and currently under the guidance of the man who inherited Enron from the Lay-Skilling regime. He'll no doubt answer Summit's phone call. So will Harvey Weinstein, whose entry into the Polanski op-ed business is just the latest diversion to compromise his limping independent studio. Not that he'd ever sell (or even has much to offer).
The report also cites Lionsgate as a target -- a relatively unencumbered (if slumping) studio that probably would be the best practical fit for Summit. Nikki Finke, meanwhile, published the Friedman/Wachsberger memo confirming Morgan Stanley's aid and little else: "While the Board and Senior Management are in discussions with the investment bank, no formal plans have been made as to how we would expand Summit and its platform," they write. Riiight. They'll probably be developing the next James Bond film by Friday.
· 'Twilight' express [NYP]