There are two ways to make money in Hollywood: One is by producing a successful movie, and the other is by suing someone who has made a successful movie.
Jeffrey Katzenberg, one of movieland's giants, just settled a suit against Michael Eisner, head of Walt Disney, for something like $250 million. That sounds like a lot of money, but in Beverly Hills it is chicken liver.
The dispute concerned an allegation by Katzenberg that he was cheated out of millions of dollars he said he had coming to him as a Disney executive.
This, of course, was denied by Eisner, who had called Katzenberg "a little midget" and "the end of my pompom."
Those who follow show business thrive on these words. Since no one was going to be mortally wounded by the trial except Eisner and Katzenberg, Hollywood considered it this year's Mickey Mouse lawsuit and part of the country's entertainment. It takes more than a breach-of-contract lawsuit to ruin the average American's summer.
People in Hollywood are divided on whether Katzenberg received enough compensation for his pain. When you get into the numbers Hollywood executives earn, it's hard to decide what enough is.
Neither side is permitted to reveal the exact amount of the settlement. This is because if others sue the company, they will never know how much Disney is willing to settle for.
All of us in the movie business are now aware that suing a studio is a spectator sport. Therefore, we are worried that the $250 million (my guess as to what the settlement was) will go to Katzenberg's head.
Katzenberg's friends feel he will invest it wisely. Some are urging him to build an amusement park in Florida called Katzenberg World. It would be a place where people could take their children while they sue a Hollywood studio.
In any case, all my friends in show business feel good about the settlement. It once again shows how civilized Hollywood really is. As Samuel Goldwyn once said, "Next to making movies, suing the studios is what we all do best."