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How are the mighty fallen. Warner Bros. has unceremoniously kicked producer Joel Silver, of "Matrix" and "Lethal Weapon" fame, to the curb.
This smacks of when Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone axed Tom Cruise's rich deal at Paramount after the star threatened to take home more back-end cash on "Mission: Impossible II" than the studio. Or when Disney shut down Bob Zemeckis's rich deal after "Mars Needs Moms" lost a fortune.
Both Silver and Zemeckis are finding new homes at Universal, but not on the same terms. Silver will have to find financing for his upcoming films just like everyone else. He's fixing up a new office in Venice as Warners pays off the producer with $30 million, reports Variety, estimating the future worth of his WB projects (which do not include his indie-financed Dark Castle films) against the loans they advanced him over the years, so that the studio wouldn't have to continue paying him his share on the movies that he originated with them.
This is a sign of the times. Studios are recalibrating the worth of some of their on-lot producers. For Silver this is a new day because for decades he was at the top of the studio food chain. He specialized in wrangling big budget actioners, often with macho stars and VFX elements. But he never had the kind of creative commercial savvy that Jerry Bruckheimer commanded over decades, turning out (with inevitable exceptions) surefire tentpoles such as "Armageddon," "Con Air," "National Treasure," "Black Hawk Down," "Crimson Tide," and "Pirates of the Caribbean." Truth is, even Bruckheimer has had some slips of late at Disney, such as "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" and "Prince of Persia"; it's a good thing the guy's so successful in television, as "The Lone Ranger" looms large in his future.
Silver has had a notorious reputation for being an absolute back-stabbing piece of shit when it comes to finally paying people and giving them their contracted due. He has worked on a number of successful films like the Lethal Weapon films and The Matrix, but there have often been reports of him acting like a total scumbag to people who he decided he could no longer use.
I'd say the one good thing he did was take a shot on Shane Black as more than just a writer, by helping him with his directing debut. Outside of that I say good riddance.