Paramount To Open Only 20 Films A Year; Re-Consolidated Studio Will Save $50M

Paramount Delaying 2 Oscar-Buzzed Pics 

UPDATE: So now we have a glimpse of a new Paramount in the post-DreamWorks divorce, current credit crunch, era. Also the studio finally clarified the job duties of Adam Goodman and Brad Weston which I’ve already reported. They have the same title, but different duties! And they’re not co-heads!  (Can’t we all get along?) “We now own and control 12 years of DreamWorks development and assure continuity with Adam Goodman staying at Paramount,” a bigwig told me this morning. “He’ll be the point person interacting with Stacy and Steven.” In all there are 100 active DreamWorks projects staying at Paramount, and 35 being developed together with DreamWorks. I’m told that the production and personnel savings to Paramount now that it’s “one consolidated organization again” will be $50 million. As an insider summed up, “We’re keeping everything that makes money and giving away anything that costs money.” Here’s the press release:

LOS ANGELES, CALIF., October 15, 2008 — Paramount Pictures said today it has reduced its release target to twenty films annually to more effectively compete in the changing marketplace and to realize the maximum financial benefit of the series of new operating efficiencies achieved by the studio.  Under the new targets, Paramount plans to release twelve films, including MTV Films and Nickelodeon Movies, and up to four additional releases from its Paramount Vantage unit.  Paramount will also continue to distribute 2-4 films a year produced by DreamWorks Animation and Marvel Studios. 

The new release strategy complements proactive efficiency efforts announced earlier in the year.  In June, Paramount restructured the Vantage operation to combine its marketing, distribution and physical production departments with Paramount’s, which eliminated redundancies and resulted in overhead savings.  Moving forward, Vantage’s new creative strategy will be to release up to four lower priced, cutting edge films a year.   
The recently announced departure of the DreamWorks principals and many of its staff enables Paramount to further integrate creative operations to maximize its top talent.  Adam Goodman will be moving from DreamWorks to Paramount Pictures as President of Production, overseeing a creative staff who will manage the current DreamWorks projects and creative relationships, as well as new development now for Paramount.  Brad Weston will continue as President of Production for Paramount Pictures, and will continue to supervise existing creative staff overseeing their ongoing development, talent relationships and new development.  Both will be supported by shared functions and both will work in tandem with their respective creative staffs on developing projects for Paramount, as well as its labels, MTV Films and Nickelodeon Movies.  Goodman will report dually to John Lesher, President of Paramount Film Group, on creative areas and to Rob Moore, Vice Chairman of Paramount Pictures on business issues.
“Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman has laid out a very smart strategy that will put Viacom in great position to prosper in the current economic climate,” said Brad Grey, Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures Corporation.  “In line with that strategy, we at Paramount are taking steps to ensure our business and creative plans are sound and viable for the long term.  Today’s changes leverage the improvements we have already made and update our output in alignment with our global ambitions.  We have a strong team and structure in place; we have right-sized our overhead; and we have established a slate volume that balances our financial goals with our creative objectives.  I am confident we can continue to meet our long-term financial targets and offer a strong and diverse slate of films.”

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