Hollywood's Corporate Overlords: 8 People Who Pull the Strings Behind the Scenes
June 22, 2016
The 61-year-old Saudi — known as the Arabian Warren Buffett — has his fingers in many pies. He has a 6.6 percent stake in 21st Century Fox (making him the company’s second-biggest shareholder) as well as investments in Twitter, Euro Disney and News Corp. He's the 41st richest man in the world, with a net worth of $17.3 billion.
The guy who owns Amazon (and the Washington Post, Donald Trump’s favorite newspaper) is worth about $63 billion, making him the fourth-richest man on the planet. His plan to expand from internet shopping to entertainment got off to a rocky start — having viewers vote on TV pilots was always a wacky idea — but Amazon has since spawned such awards-magnet originals as Transparent, Man in the High Castle and Hand to God. Next: Bezos, 52, plans to conquer kid TV with a bunch of new shows aimed at children.
Charles and James Dolan
This father-and-son team — Charles, 89, is the chairman of Cablevision, James, 61, is CEO — oversee a cable company with 2.6 million subscribers around New York. Charles also is executive chairman of AMC Networks, a company spun out of Cablevision five years ago, home to AMC, IFC, WE tv and a slew of other content-rich channels.
Remember when Netflix DVDs came in little red envelopes? These days it’s the biggest streamer in the world, with a $5 billion budget for content creation and access to more than 81 million subscribers in 190 countries. Netflix — which Hastings, 55, started in 1997 — has altered the fundamentals of TV viewing, introducing binge-watching (with shows like House of Cards), and becoming a full-on competitor to HBO, Showtime and the other cable networks.
He's China’s richest man — worth $33.3 billion — not a bad net worth in a communist country. But in recent years, the 61-year-old chairman of Dalian Wanda Group has been looking west. In 2012, he bought the AMC Entertainment theater chain for $2.6 billion and earlier this year he paid $3.5 billion for Legendary Entertainment. He’s said to be kicking the tires on Paramount, but in the meantime, he’s also bought the Swiss sports marketing company Infront Sports and a 20 percent share of the Spanish soccer team Atletico Madrid.
This 75-year-old mogul — Al Gore once nicknamed him "Darth Vader" — owns one of the nation’s largest cable empires, Liberty Media, which today, through a slew of partially owned assets (like Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable), provides TV signals to 25 million subscribers in 41 states. Malone’s Liberty Global gets another 24 million subscribers in Europe and Latin America, and he also has stakes in content-creating companies like Lionsgate, Starz and Discovery Communications.
Comcast started as a cable provider but Roberts, 56, has been rapidly building it into a formidable content creator. In 2013, Comcast bought NBCUnviersal (for $16.7 billion) and last April, the company announced a deal to acquire DreamWorks Animation (for $3.8 billion).