Flixster CEO Joe Greenstein Plays Down Warner Purchase; Studio Sources Confirm Talks

Joe Greenstein coyly addresses questions about the possible sale of his company to major studio at CinemaCon panel

(Updated: 1:13 p.m. PST) At a Wednesday CinemaCon panel, Flixster co-founder and CEO Joe Greenstein floundered to get on message about reports that Warner Bros. is poised to purchase his company. 

Meanwhile an executive close to the deal told TheWrap that negotaitions are ongoing between Warner's and Flixster but a deal is still not close.

Greenstein hinted to moderator Peter Cane, publisher Box Office Magazine, that there would be “More coming soon.”

(Greenstein, however, told TheWrap that he was specifically and only responding to a question about Flixster doing more to bring full-length movies on Connected TVs, not to any potential Warner deal).

During the panel he also quipped: "All rumors that Flixster is acquiring Disney are false, and that I’m renaming the theme parks after my cat."

But following the presentation, Greenstein seemed to deny that his social movie site is on the auction block. 

“Will we someday either sell or go public? Yeah,” Greenstein told TheWrap. “But there’s no sell the company process in place.”

Greenstein labelled reports of the talks as “speculative” not “premature" as that would imply that a sale was imminent. 

That doesn't gibe with what Warner Bros. sources are telling TheWrap.  Two individuals with knowledge of the deal confirmed that the studio is indeed in serious talks to purchase the social media movie fan site, with its 20 million users.

One executive refuted one published figure of a $90 million purchase price as way off, but declined to give details. Yahoo was in the running to buy the company but reportedly has dropped out over the price.

The purchase, though, would put Warner ahead of the game in using social media to leverage its high-quality content as its traditional home entertainment sales dwindle. 

Greenstein offered a few kind words about Warner Bros. flirtation with Facebook rentals during the panel, noting, "I think it's a great first step."

Greenstein co-founded Flixster in 2006.

On Wednesday, Greenstein noted that the last time AllThingsDigital, which brokes news of the Warner Brothers talks on Tuesday, reported that Flixster was negotiating with News Corp., it wasn’t to be sold, rather it was because the social movie site was acquiring Rotten Tomatoes.

This year speculation has mounted that Flixster is being courted by several major companies from Silicon Valley to Hollywood.

At the CinemaCon panel, Greenstein briefly made it seem as though the company may have finally found its prince. But after he seemed to want to deny there was even a dinner date.