Meet David Ellison, Larry Ellison’s son who is about to take over at Paramount

David Ellison at the 2024 Golden Globes.

David Ellison’s Skydance Media finally struck a merger deal with Paramount Global on Sunday.Founded in 2006, Skydance has produced hits including “Top Gun: Maverick” and “True Grit.”Ellison is the 41-year-old son of Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison, who is worth almost $160 billion.

David Ellison is set to become CEO of Paramount after Skydance Media finally agreed a deal late Sunday after months of talks.

The 41-year-old founded Skydance back in 2006 with some help from his father Larry Ellison, the Oracle cofounder who’s now worth almost $160 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Since then Skydance has enjoyed considerable success with films including “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” and “Baywatch,” and a total box office haul of more than $8 billion. The merger deal values Skydance at $4.75 billion.

Its biggest hit has been “Top Gun: Maverick,” which became the second-highest-grossing film of 2022 after making almost $1.5 billion worldwide.

David Ellison and wife Sandra Lynn Modic at the London premiere of “Top Gun: Maverick” in 2022.

After seeing the original “Top Gun” as a child, David Ellison became obsessed with flying. His billionaire father bought him a plane at the age of 13 and they took flying lessons together. By 17, Ellison had begun competing in air shows performing aerial acrobatics.

He gave up flying competitively after starting a film degree at USC that he later dropped out of, Ellison told Kara Swisher in an episode of The New York Times’ “Sway” podcast.

Before becoming an entertainment executive, though, Ellison had a brief foray as an actor.

In 2006, he appeared in a Skydance film called “Flyboys,” about American pilots who flew for the French Air Force in World War I.

The movie cost about $65 million, but flopped after taking just $18 million or so, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Since moving behind the camera, Ellison’s company has had a relationship with Paramount that dates back to 2011 when Skydance co-financed Joel and Ethan Coen’s “True Grit” with the studio.

The film was both a critical and commercial success, winning 10 Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and taking about $200 million at the box office.

Larry and David Ellison, with his mother Babara Booth and sister Megan, at the premiere of “Terminator: Genisys” in 2015.

Ellison’s sister Megan is also in the movie game. Her production company Annapurna Pictures was behind releases including “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Her,” “American Hustle,” and “Phantom Thread,” all of which received Oscar nominations.

The Paramount deal is still subject to a 45-day “go-shop” clause and possible Federal Trade Commission scrutiny, but hurdles aside Ellison will become one of the youngest chiefs of a major entertainment company.

He said he’s committed to “energizing the business and bolstering Paramount with contemporary technology, new leadership and a creative discipline.”

However, with the headwinds facing Hollywood Ellison may find reviving Paramount’s fortunes even more difficult than finally striking a takeover deal with controlling shareholder Shari Redstone.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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