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Kenneth Kleinberg, a founding and the senior partner of the Firm, is among the most renowned and respected attorneys in the entertainment industry. He has been named by The Hollywood Reporter as a “Legal Legend,” and the Beverly Hills Bar Association, the nation’s most prominent, named him “Entertainment Lawyer of the Year.”
Mr. Kleinberg is a transactional attorney specializing in business negotiations and legal matters for a wide variety of prominent individuals and companies, including some of the entertainment industry’s most famous and successful actors, authors, writers, directors, producers, distributors, musical artists, animators, visual effects and animation designers and producers, game designers, international broadcasters, entrepreneurs, corporate executives, literary and talent agents, managers, CGI specialists, as well as domestic and international distributors and broadcasters.
Mr. Kleinberg is general entertainment counsel in the United States for J.K. Rowling, for whom he has negotiated agreements pertaining to the exploitation of literary, motion picture, television and other rights and producing services, and provided counsel for live theatrical engagements, audits for hit films and revenue generating matters, and theme park licensing. Specifically, most recently, he has devoted substantial time to business and legal issues regarding Ms. Rowling’s work in writing the screenplay of the third film entitled “Vermilion” in the spectacular Warner Bros. film series “Fantastic Beasts.”
He provides advice and counsel relating to the expansion of live theatrical engagements of Ms. Rowling’s hugely successful stage play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” and is providing strategic advice and legal counsel regarding exploitation of Ms. Rowling’s writings in video games. He is also currently working on a new franchise of children’s books entitled “The Ickabog” for Ms. Rowling.
Mr. Kleinberg’s recent audits for Ms. Rowling concern various of the Harry Potter films. Together with Ms. Rowling’s London agent, Neil Blair, Mr. Kleinberg also handles theme park licensing, involving Warner Bros. and Universal Studios, on behalf of Ms. Rowling.
Mr. Kleinberg represents prolific and internationally acclaimed film actor Johnny Depp, administrating and overseeing studio accountings pertaining to collection of contingent compensation (gross receipts and other share participations) from Mr. Depp’s services in more than 30 major motion pictures, including the blockbuster “Pirates of the Caribbean” series of five theatrical motion pictures, which have aggregate revenues in excess of $5 billion.
Mr. Kleinberg advises the Trustees of the Estate of P. L Travers, the late British author of the famous “Mary Poppins” book series, concerning third party business transactions.
Mr. Kleinberg is advising the proprietor of the film and television rights to George Orwell’s internationally famous novel “1984” regarding a pending agreement to adapt the novel for a major motion picture or possible television series.
Mr. Kleinberg is United States counsel for toymaker LEGO, which licensed the production of four major theatrical films for Warner Bros. Together with KLCC’s Jill Smith, Mr. Kleinberg is advising LEGO on its current and future strategic relationships with potential film distributors; the duo recently concluded a multi-year motion picture financing-production-and distribution agreement with Universal Pictures. Mr. Kleinberg is also overseeing an audit by LEGO of Warner Bros beginning with the highly successful film “The Lego Movie.”
For over five decades, Mr. Kleinberg has represented renowned film actor Jack Nicholson regarding his diverse motion picture matters. Mr. Nicholson’s enormous body of films requires continuous ongoing backend gross receipts and other contingent participation oversight.
Mr. Kleinberg represents world famous Academy Award winning motion picture animation director/character designer Glen Keane in all of his professional matters, including “Over the Moon,” which Mr. Keane is directing for Netflix and Pearl Studios, and will be released in late October; the television series “Trash Truck,” which Mr. Keane is producing with his son Max Keane and directing for Netflix; and numerous other matters. Together with KLCC’s Marko Kuo, Mr. Kleinberg recently concluded a new overall financing-production-distribution agreement between Glen Keane Productions and Netflix.
For over 40 years, Mr. Kleinberg has advised Academy Award recognized film director Douglas Trumbull in a variety of matters. Mr. Trumbull has created some of the greatest images ever to appear on the big screen (including “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Star Trek,” “Blade Runner,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,”) and is the director of “Brainstorm” and Silent Running,” as well as the Ridefilm for “Back To The Future—The Ride” at Universal Studios Theme Parks. Mr. Trumbull is presently in development of a major science-fiction space drama for a major studio.
On the music side, Mr. Kleinberg represents country music superstar Toby Keith in all of his television and motion picture matters. Mr. Kleinberg negotiated Mr. Keith’s deal with Warner Bros. for the end title song “Don’t Let The Old Man In,” used in Clint Eastwood’s latest film “The Mule.” Mr. Kleinberg is also currently working on extending distribution arrangements for extending distribution arrangements for a film produced by Toby Keith and CMT entitled “Beer For My Horses.”
For over five decades, Mr. Kleinberg has represented internationally famous singer-songwriter Peter Cetera, former member and lead singer of the rock band “Chicago.” Mr. Kleinberg is currently working on licensing a “best of” box set of Mr. Cetera’s hits, created with and after his time with “Chicago,” to be released through an affiliate of Rhino Records.
Mr. Kleinberg represents legendary music entrepreneur and executive, Jerry Moss, one of the two founding partners of A&M Records, in his development and production of a documentary film about the founding, growth, and success of his company.
Mr. Kleinberg has vast experience in international entertainment law transactions, including complex arrangements for development, financing, production, and distribution of motion picture and television product; co-financing and so called “soft money” transactions; the purchase and sale of film, television and music companies and libraries; television licensing agreements; and participation and royalty audits.
Mr. Kleinberg is a graduate of UCLA and UCLA School of Law. His initial work as an attorney was for two years at the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C. Mr. Kleinberg is admitted to practice in California and the District of Columbia.
Kleinberg Lange Cuddy & Carlo marks Mr. Kleinberg’s second career as a practicing entertainment lawyer. From 1969 through 1985, Mr. Kleinberg served as an associate, partner, and then senior partner and head of the entertainment division of the Los Angeles law firm Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp. Between 1985 and 1991, Mr. Kleinberg served first as Executive Vice President and a director of a major studio, United Artists Corporation, and then as President and Chief Operating Officer of Weintraub Entertainment Group, an independent motion picture, television, and music production/distribution company. Accordingly, he understands transactions from both the owner/entrepreneur and talent perspectives.
Mr. Kleinberg periodically appears as a speaker or moderator at USC, UCLA and Columbia Law Schools, and UCLA Extension, in programs concerning entertainment business/law, as well as other industry forums.
Mr. Kleinberg taught the producers course for two years at the American Film Institute. From 2007-2018, The Hollywood Reporter named Mr. Kleinberg ten times a “Power Lawyer,” one of its top 100 lawyers in the entertainment industry (he is now a perennial “Legal Legend”) and, in 2008, 2013, 2016 and 2017, Variety named him among its top talent dealmakers. Variety has also included Mr. Kleinberg in its “Variety500” list (of the most influential individuals in entertainment) since 2018 and, in 2016, Mr. Kleinberg received Variety’s first ever “Power of Law” award for his vast contributions to charitable causes and the entertainment industry.
Mr. Kleinberg has been named to the “Best Lawyers in America,” “Southern California Super Lawyers”, and has for decades also achieved the highest possible rating (“AV Preeminent”) in both legal ability and ethical standards by Martindale-Hubbell, reflecting the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and Judiciary.
Mr. Kleinberg is involved in a wide variety of community, civic, and philanthropic endeavors. He is a member of the board of directors and was the first chairman of the American Cinematheque, a non-profit organization dedicated to film appreciation and studies which operates the landmark Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard and the Aero Theater in Santa Monica. He is a long-time member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts Sciences; the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences; the Los Angeles County and Beverly Hills Bar Associations; the Planning Committee for UCLA Law School’s annual Entertainment Symposium; and is founder and president of University Kidney Research Organization (UKRO), a non-profit organization dedicated to medical research concerning the causes, improved treatments for, and prevention of kidney diseases.
From 2014 through 2017, Mr. Kleinberg was elected to the Board of Trustees of the California Science Center in Los Angeles. He has been a member of USC’s Widney Society.
Mr. Kleinberg is married to Helen Kleinberg, one of the founders and previous chair of the Los Angeles County Commission on Children and Family Services. Helen Kleinberg was active for decades in programs involving improvement and public education reform in Los Angeles. Together they have three children and seven grandchildren.