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女儿公司濒临破产,让甲骨文老板难堪

Isaac Feldberg 2019年08月14日

外界预计,拉里·埃里森会在这家企业陷入财务困境前介入,帮助女儿和公司摆脱困境。

梅根·埃里森的精品工作室安纳普尔纳(Annapurna)可能会在上周迎来坏消息。

安纳普尔纳是奥斯卡指定的好莱坞风尚缔造者,以冒险押注以成人世界为中心的精品影片闻名。据报道,安纳普尔纳在两年前得到了3.5亿美元信贷额度,现在已经烧掉了大部分(如果没有全部用光的话)。报道称,安纳普尔纳要么已经拖欠了这笔借款,要么即将拖欠,这将对独立电影界构成毁灭性的打击。

因为上述种种原因,安纳普尔纳的创始人梅根·埃里森和她的亿万富翁父亲、甲骨文(Oracle)的创始人拉里·埃里森在上周极可能要与债权人摊牌,决定是否要让安纳普尔纳破产。但这绝不是说一定会破产,据Deadline报道称,银行界普遍预计拉里·埃里森会在安纳普尔纳陷入财务困境前介入,帮助女儿和公司摆脱困境。

故事最终很可能是这么个结局,因为安纳普尔纳的破产会被视为埃里森一家的巨大难堪。(据估计,拉里·埃里森是美国第四富豪,全球第七富豪,身家总计700亿美元。)但据《好莱坞报道者》(Hollywood Reporter)报道,安纳普尔纳仍然在为在特拉华州或加州破申请产保护做准备,以防老埃里森不出手相救。由于这种不确定性,连该公司的职员也不知道他们的工作室是否处于崩溃边缘。

当然,这对安纳普尔纳来说并不是头一遭,去年也因为妮可·基德曼的《毁灭者》(Destroyer)和西部片《姐妹兄弟》(The Sisters Brothers)等影片表现不佳而一直有这样的传言。但安纳普尔纳长期以来一直以挑衅性的、打破陈规的电影制作享有盛誉,随之而来的是一定程度上的财务风险。

在好莱坞,埃里森坚定支持由一线演员领衔主演的严肃电影,因此备受尊重——在这个被超级英雄大片主导的行业里,这一类的电影越来越少。在安纳普尔纳,在她的支持下,才有了《底特律》(Detroit)和《副总统》(Vice),前者是凯瑟琳·毕格罗对1967年底特律市骚乱期间警察暴行的辛辣描述,后者是亚当·麦凯对前美国副总统迪克·切尼半真半假的审视。这两部影片的全球票房都勉强超过了预算,但都没有给工作室带来大成功。就连《月光男孩》(Moonlight)导演巴里·詹金斯这样大热的导演执导的《如果比尔街会说话》(If Beale Street Could Talk)也没能完全点燃票房——这部电影被视作能够在《月光男孩》之后成为他的第二部奥斯卡最佳影片,《毁灭者》更是彻头彻尾的惨败。

今年夏天,工作室的成绩稍好一些,因为《高才生》(Booksmart)逐渐在暑期档小火了一把(得益于观众的好口碑),但安纳普尔纳为奥利维亚·王尔德执导的喜剧采取大规模发行的策略被批评为错误之举,这种做法草率地对上了迪士尼《阿拉丁》(Aladdin)的强大竞争。安纳普尔纳在过去一年里也裁掉了一些高管和一些影片,包括詹妮弗·洛佩兹和卡迪·B的《皮条客》(Hustlers)以及罗杰·艾尔斯一部尚未命名的戏,有人猜测,这些变化是因为拉里·埃里森开始插手帮忙公司管理。

“埃里森家族正在与银行谈判,希望重组交易。”安纳普尔纳的一名发言人向《好莱坞报道》表示,“他们仍然全力支持公司,致力于保护安纳普尔纳的未来。”

“与金融机构达成重组协议并不罕见,但这种过程通常在没有外界关注的情况下进行。”埃里森在给安纳普尔纳员工的备忘录中写道,“幸运/不幸的是,人们喜欢报道我和我的家庭。尽管如此,对我而言,重要的是让你们都知道,我们仍然一如既往地支持这家公司,全力支持我们的未来。”

埃里森在邮件中补充说:“不管媒体如何报道,事实是,我们正在通往成功的道路上不断前行。媒体上总会有猜测、错误信息和人身攻击——这是商业世界的一部分。但你们要知道,这些对我都不重要。你们的安全感、保护安纳普尔纳特殊的社区和文化才是我所看重的。我相信我们的创造,短期内也不打算停下。”(财富中文网)

译者:Agatha

Before last week was out, there could be grim news for Annapurna, the boutique studio owned by Megan Ellison.

An Oscar-anointed Hollywood tastemaker known for its risky gambles on prestige, adult-centered dramas, Annapurna has reportedly burned through most if not all of the $350 million credit facility it secured two falls ago. According to reports, Annaupurna has either already defaulted or is about to default on that debt, in what would constitute a crushing blow to the independent film world.

All this puts founder Megan Ellison and her billionaire father, Oracle founder Larry Ellison, on course for a potentially eventful showdown with lenders last week, should a decision be made to put Annapurna into bankruptcy. It’s by no means a guarantee that will happen; Deadline reports that Larry Ellison was widely expected by banks to step in before Annapurna’s financial woes reached this point in order to help bail out his daughter and her company.

That could and likely will still be how things shake out, given that bankruptcy would be seen as a massive embarrassment for the Ellisons. (Larry Ellison is estimated to be the fourth-richest person in the country and the seventh in the world, with a fortune totaling $70 billion.) But preparations are nevertheless being made, according to The Hollywood Reporter, for Annapurna to file for Chapter 11 in either Delaware or California, in the event the elder Ellison doesn’t rescue the studio. The uncertainty around this situation means staffers at the company don’t know whether their studio is on the verge of collapse.

Of course, that’s not entirely new for Annapurna, which has been trailed by such rumors across the last year, brought on by low-performing titles like Nicole Kidman vehicle Destroyer and off-kilter Western The Sisters Brothers. But Annapurna has long enjoyed a reputation for provocative, outside-the-box filmmaking, and with that comes a certain amount of financial perilousness.

Ellison is known and fiercely respected around Hollywood as a champion for serious dramas led by A-list actors, the kind increasingly of a rare breed in an industry propped up by superhero tentpoles. At Annapurna, she’s been behind movies like Detroit, Kathryn Bigelow’s scorching account of police brutality during the city’s 1967 riots, and Vice, Adam McKay’s tongue-in-cheek examination of former Vice President Dick Cheney. Both of those squeaked past their budget at the worldwide box office, but neither constituted a significant hit for the studio. Even awards darlings like Moonlight director Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk (seen as an anticipated second act following his Best Picture Oscar winner) haven’t exactly set the box office on fire, and Destroyer was an outright bomb.

This summer, the studio’s fared slightly better, with Booksmart slowly growing into a minor-key summer hit (buoyed by glowing reviews), but Annapurna's wide-release strategy for the Olivia Wilde-directed comedy was much-criticized as the wrong move for the title, which sputtered against juggernaut competition from Disney’s Aladdin. Annapurna’s also shed some high-level executives and a few titles in the past year—including Jennifer Lopez-Cardi B pic Hustlers and an untitled Roger Ailes drama—with some speculating those shifts were precipitated by Larry Ellison stepping in to help manage the company.

“The Ellison family is in negotiations to restructure their deals with the banks,” an Annapurna spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter. “They remain in full support of the company and are dedicated to Annapurna’s future.”

“Restructuring deals with financial institutions is not uncommon, yet the process is usually handled without a spotlight on it,” Ellison wrote in a memo to Annapurna staffers, as cited in reports. “Fortunately/ unfortunately, people like to write about me and my family. That said, it is of tremendous importance to me that you all know we are as committed as ever to this company and are in full support of our future.”

Ellison added in the note that: “Regardless of whatever comes out in the press, the truth is that we are well on our continued path towards success. There will always be speculation, misinformation and personal jabs in the press – that’s part of the business. But know, none of that matters to me. What does is your sense of security and protecting the special community and culture at Annapurna. I believe in what we make and have no intention of stopping any time soon.”

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