Jeffrey Katzenberg turns 59 today, so Happy Birthday Mr. Katzenberg. I remember when he came to Disney a few years back. Then, he was "Paramount's whiz kid," or at least, that's the word I heard about him around the studio.
He's not a kid any longer. He's cranking DWA into overdrive and seems to enjoy it.
Katzenberg is ... logging a hundred hours a week making and selling high-tech cartoons. Sleeping five hours a night, often on planes traversing 20 countries in as many days, Katzenberg is living the fantasy many of us can only dream of.
"I never felt like I have worked a day in my life," he said.
By way of coincidence, I had lunch today with The Wise Old Movie Exec. He invested in DreamWorks Animation stock long ago, and is delighted with DWA's recent performance. He told me:
"DreamWorks Animation is trading at $40, which is as high as it's been. I keep thinking that Jeffrey is working toward selling out and making himself a nice profit. That high stock price has got to mean there's something going on behind the scenes, like buyout discussions."
It might also explain the sterling press and upbeat reports out of the Glendale studio. The boys and girls have three movies coming out this year that are getting solid buzz, the stock is at an historic high, and Jeffrey has never been more into it.
Plus, if you're 59, and cash in while the company is at the top of its high-flying trajectory, you'll probably end up with a long-term employment contract from the conglomerate that purchased you.
And when the deal comes to an end in 2029, you'll be the richest elder statesman in Hollywood.