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Megan Ellison Emerges as Cannes Producer to Know

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood May 19, 2012 at 9:14AM

So far Megan Ellison, the 26-year-old daughter of billionaire Silicon Valley master of the universe Larry Ellison, has invested some $100 million in four projects via Annapurna. They are selling well in Cannes through her foreign sales company Panorama. Many wouldn't have gotten made without her.
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Megan Ellison
Getty Images Megan Ellison

So far Megan Ellison, the 26-year-old daughter of billionaire Silicon Valley master of the universe Larry Ellison, has invested  some $100 million in four projects via Annapurna. They are selling well in Cannes through her foreign sales company Panorama. Many wouldn't have gotten made without her.

CAA has packaged all of Annapurna's projects, helping the neophyte Hollywood producer to put the right ones together. They include  "The Hurt Locker" director Kathryn Bigelow's $45-million Bin Laden drama (Sony's "Zero Dark Thirty," December), Paul Thomas Anderson's $35-million "The Master" (TWC, October 12), Randell Emmett ("Catch.44," 2011) and the latest from Spike Jonze ("Being John Malkovich"). John Hillcoat's $22-million period gangster film "Lawless" iand Andrew Dominik's "Killing Them Softly" are competing in Cannes. These are exactly the kinds of projects Hollywood doesn't want to make anymore, the ones Warner Independent and Paramount Vantage used to handle, in that mid-range between $10 and $40 million that aren't pre-sold brand names or tentpoles.

The LAT has done a profile without talking to her. While she has a PR rep (IDPR's ubiquitous Bebe Lerner, who also reps opening nighter Wes Anderson) she doesn't talk to the press. She tweets though---she thought Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" was the best movie of 2011. Her brother David also produces pictures, but bigger ones like "Mission: Impossible--Ghost Protocol." His sister is thankfully filling a real gap in the marketplace--although she did step up and
grab the rights to a fifth "Terminator" film for $20 million.

My only concern: she may be spending more on these films, which also bring in pre-sales from North America and foreign territories, than they will deliver.

This article is related to: Cannes Film Festival, Festivals, Festivals


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.