Young heirs and heiresses rarely make us jealous. The falling down in public, the reality TV shows on cable networks you didn't know existed--it doesn't just seem like hard work, it seems like mind-numbing, repetitive, unfulfilling hard work. What's the point of having money and a famous name if Fuse TV gets to decide whether to renew your contract at the end of the year
Which is why Megan Ellison makes us happy. The daughter of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison (estimated net worth: $27 billion, sixth highest in the world), the 25-year-old Ellison has taken to bankrolling some of the riskiest and most intriguing projects in Hollywood through her company Annapurna Pictures, financing or co-financing: the Coen Bros. True Grit remake, The Master, the long-awaited Scientology opus from P.T. Anderson (right), Kathryn Bigelow's Kill Bin Laden, an untitled new satire from Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman, Grandmasters, from acclaimed martial arts director Wong Kar-wei, Cogan's Trade, starring Brad Pitt, The Wettest Country in the World, a bootlegger drama written by Nick Cave and starring Shia LaBeouf, Gary Oldman, and Tom Hardy. She's also on-board to produce Anderson's follow-up project, an adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's Inherent Vice. Just last week, she outbid Lionsgate for the rights to the Terminator franchise, and at least two more Schwarzenegger led sequels (At least that's what she thought at the time. The action star's marital implosion has put the franchise 'on hold', though a veteran producer says Ellison won't lose any of her reported $20 million investment if her deal includes a "'subject to' clause")
It's unclear where Annapurna's equity comes from, though we think it's safe to say dad Larry is not above subsidizing the Hollywood dreams of his children. In 2010, Megan's brother, David Ellison, landed a four-year co-financing deal with Paramount after the 27 year-old raised $350 million for his Skydancer Productions. $200 million of that came from revolving credit facility, while the remaining $150 million was investor equity, including "an undisclosed portion" of which came from his father, reports the Los Angeles Times.
True Grit--on which both siblings received executive producer credits--grossed $171 million domestically and pulled down ten Oscar nominations. While David, who the Los Angeles Times says imagines Skydancer's slate as "a mix of big-budget action, adventure, science fiction and fantasy films as well as modestly budgeted comedies and genre pictures," is now trying to get Mission: Impossible 4, Top Gun 2, and/or World War Z off the ground, his sister seems to have realized the key to getting films made--and staying out of the way of the creative process--is to give P.T. Anderson $30 million and let him make his movie about a charismatic cult leader. P.T. Anderson $30 million and telling him to go out and make his movie about a charismatic cult leader. If it causes outrage, people will be talking. If it doesn't cause outrage, so what: you're still distributing the new movie from one of the country's best active directors.
Pretty savvy for someone who, as recently as four years ago, Valleywag was teasing for being an "aspiring film producer" and posting MySpace photos of her "Drunk dialing Dad in Paris after 3 bottles of Dom."
At his Projector blog, Will Leitch suggested what looks like business to outsiders might just be genuine passion.
She is 25 years old, quiet, rich and in love with movies. Not in love with movies in the ooh, "Bride Wars"! type of way. We mean the good way.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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