EXCLUSIVE: Mary Parent for 2 1/2 years kept beleaguered MGM together with chicken wire and chewing gum. It was only on the basis of her skill for talent-spotting and dealmaking that the studio was even able to make the movies it did, like the upcoming big comedy Zookeeper with Kevin James that’s now Sony’s major summer laugher even though Mary did the early heavy lifting by paying $2 million for the Jay Scherick/David Ronn script and hiring James a a bargain price before he made Paul Blart: Mall Cop, and then steering the pic through production. It should have been Parent’s first real swing for the fences, but the MGM uncertainty led it to be turned over for distribution by its SPE partners. So all of Hollywood took a run at Parent when she finally exited MGM last October after hiring on April 2008. Now I can report that she has chosen to land at Paramount for her new overall deal. The veteran filmmaker who segued from a Universal exec to a producer on the lot, to MGM’s co-CEO, to back to producer now is taking with her Cale Boyter and Luke Ryan, the two former New Line executives who had joined her at MGM. “Now I can do as a producer what we didn’t get to do together at the studio. I have a lot of pent-up energy now that I’m no longer locked up,” Parent tells me. I understand Paramount began talking to Parent before the end of the year and the deal is now done for her soon-to-be-titled shingle. “It’s a great time to be there. They’re firing on all cylinders,” Parent just told me. “It’s no accident they’re as successful as they are. Everyone in the jobs are the best they can be. And for a filmmaker, it’ the best place to have a home.” Parent and Paramount’s Adam Goodman have had a long working relationship since Mary was a Universal exec and Adam was a DreamWorks exec based on the studio’s lot.
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