No. 48

Katzenberg Settles

One of Hollywood's bitterest disputes drew to a close in August, when DreamWorks SKG principal Jeffrey Katzenberg agreed to settle a $250 million lawsuit he had filed against his former employer, Walt Disney Co.

In his suit, Katzenberg claimed that Disney had reneged on a promise to pay him 2 percent of the profits from films and television shows put into production or acquired during his 10 years as the studio's top movie executive. Those would include such animated hits as "The Lion King" and "Aladdin," both of which generated billions of dollars at the box office and through sales of related merchandise.

The settlement the terms of which were not disclosed reportedly calls for Katzenberg to get a minimum guaranteed sum as an advance against an eventual larger payout.

The settlement frees Katzenberg to turn his attentions to his troubled studio, which despite considerable fanfare has failed to generate a bona fide blockbuster. Disney chief Michael Eisner, meanwhile, has his hands full competing with media baron Rupert Murdoch, who is creating a formidable sports and entertainment empire.

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