Geffen Leaving DreamWorks: Nobody Knows Why

DreamWorks partner and resident billionaire David Geffen has decided to bow out of DreamWorks 2.0, the new DreamWorks production arm financed by Indian money through Reliance Inc., according to the New York Timesgeffen2.jpg.

The Times says that co-partner Steven Spielberg “actually stammered a bit in trying to explain his erstwhile business partner’s departure.”

No, Spielberg said, he didn’t really know why but yes, he hopes he and Geffen will remain close.

“I cannot imagine not having David in my professional life,” Spielberg said. “If that’s true, I’m going to have to figure out what to do about it.”

The NYT calls Geffen’s orchestrating of the creation of the new DreamWorks – with backing from Reliance Big Media – a “deal maker’s master stroke.” But now, after nearly 40 years of engineering some of the most breathtaking deals and transitions he is backing away from Hollywood altogether.

That’s not entirely new news. When the finalization of the separation between Paramount and DreamWorks came to light early this month, it was noted that Geffen would be retiring from the film business.

And, how the decision to withdraw from Hollywood came about, and what it means to an industry that has long regarded Geffen as its most powerful figure, is far from clear. The Times says Geffen declined requests to be interviewed for the article.

Geffen’s only major remaining Hollywood presence is his position at DreamWorks Animation – he’s still on the board – but people familiar with his plans said he would resign soon, says the NYT.

“This closes a chapter,” Jeffrey Katzenberg said of Geffen’s decision not to join the new Spielberg company.

His departure appears to have orphaned a small corps of associates who had come to view him as the central support for their own hopes and dreams, says the NYT.

In describing Geffen’s role at DreamWorks, Spielberg likened it to a family relationship. “Jeffrey and I were like the kids,” he said, while Geffen built the house and saw that the bills were paid.