Madison Garden Co. is acquiring a 50 percent stake in the acclaimed Tribeca Film Festival, which was founded by Robert DeNiro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff in the aftermath of the World Trade Center terror attack as a boost to then-beleaguered downtown Manhattan.
Since then the independent film festival has blossomed into a major cultural force that will offer about 90 features and 60 shorts during this year’s program that begins next month.
Enter MSG executive chairman Jimmy Dolan, destroyer of the once-vaunted New York Knicks basketball franchise, one plagued by dysfunctional management. Dolan’s meddling and utter disregard for the fans, who need gold bars to pay for tickets and satchels of $100 bills when visiting concession stands, are reasons for the downfall.
Dolan barely escaped the first fan uprising last week when he pulled legendary Knicks fan-favorite Phil Jackson out of the hat. Jackson, who led the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers to 11 championships, is now in charge of basketball operations and was given a vow of non-interference.
That high profile hiring—carried out in part with an eye of stealing some thunder from the surging Brooklyn Nets –is much too late to salvage another dreary season for the Knickerbockers, a collection of overpaid worn-down misfits. Jackson will blow up the team.
Tribeca enjoys a similar rosy promise. As life under MSG begins, Tribeca Enterprises CEO Rosenthal and COO Jon Patricof continue to lead the operation. Dolan, however, gets a board seat.
MSG sees an opportunity to help Tribeca in areas like ticketing, promotion and marketing.
There will be an early test of the Tribeca/MSG relationship. The April opening of the festival will be held at the Beacon Theater, the upper west side venue owned by MSG. Tickets will be sold for the event, which is a sharp departure from the traditional invitation-only screening.
Another question: now that Jimmy has killed the dance-oriented “Hearts & Minds” show by MSG’s Rockettes, a week before opening night, will the high-kicking troop perform at the Tribeca Film Festival?
The New York Daily News reported that Hearts & Minds was killed after Dolan attended a dress rehearsal.
Don’t count the Rockettes out of the Tribeca Festival.