by ARACELI GUTIERREZ
5555 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA
Paramount Pictures has been in show business for 103 years, making them one of America’s oldest motion picture companies. Adolph Zukor, Jesse L. Lasky and Cecil B. DeMille are credited as Paramount’s principal founding fathers. Today, this corporation is a subsidiary of Viacom, a global mass media firm. The company has produced classics like “Titanic”, which had a domestic gross of $658.6 million and worldwide gross of $2.18 billion .
FINANCIALSDuring this year’s first quarter, Paramount Pictures was ranked 5th for top grossing production companies, with a total gross of $274.6 million, which puts them in control of 9.8% of the current market share . They hold an average gross of $39.2 million per release over the course of its 7 releases so far in 2015 . Its second-highest grossing release, “Selma”, was a contender at the Academy Awards earlier this year. The movie made $50.8 million domestic. So far, “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” is their biggest hit, with a domestic total of $161.3 million, more than double of its $74 million production budget. With a small production budget of $12 million, “Project Almanac” also did well with a $22.3 million domestic total.
Paramount Pictures has seven future releases, one of them being animation, two action, and four of the horror/thriller genre . Also, Tubi TV, a free but ad-supported streaming service, and Paramount Pictures joined a licensing agreement to bring more than 50 classic feature films from the studio’s library to the company’s video apps . Some films featured on Tubi TV include fan-favorites such as “Top Gun”, “Basic Instinct”, “Star Trek: The Final Frontier”, and other recent releases from the past two years.
Their parent company, Viacom Inc., underwent some restructuring in March, which included cutting jobs, abandoning some acquired titles and reorganizing three of its domestic network groups into two new organizations . Paramount Pictures took a related pre-tax charge of about $785 million by the end of the quarter (March 31).
MARCH MADNESS: NEW CHANGES
March was a busy month for Paramount Pictures.
On March 16, Paramount Pictures announced Marc Evans as the new president of Paramount’s Motion Picture Group to replace Adam Goodman, who was let go in early March . Goodman had a year left on his contract. As a part of his exit package, Goodman was offered a production deal with Paramount. Evans has been a part of the Paramount family for 12 years now and recently served as president of production since 2010. Evans is expected to increase the studio’s output of feature film releases.
Paramount Pictures has a reputation for not making many movies. In recent years, the studio has gone months between major releases. For example, this year’s release calendar shows that there are five static months that separate the opening of the studio’s most recent film, “Hot Tub Time Machine 2,” a co-production with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and its next opener, “Mission: Impossible 5,” which debuts on July 31 . “Hot Tub Time Machine 2” received bad reviews and didn’t reach its production budget, considering that its domestic gross made only $12.3 million out of the $14 million budget .
Paramount, with a new switch up in its presidency, plans to change this by eventually raising the number of movies it runs annually from its current eight to 10-14 live-action titles plus an additional animated release. The studio seeks to maintain profit margins, which have plummeted party because of its discontinuation with Marvel Studios, DreamWorks Animation and Brad Pitt’s Plan B. Without these partnerships, Paramount lost a considerable deal of films . Meanwhile, Paramount’s parent company, Viacom, issued major layoffs under pressure from ratings declines at its cable networks. Despite the studio’s stress over profitability, yearly profits have declined three years in a row, down 12% just last year . This thin slate is also problematic because of the studio’s pending fixed overhead costs.
On March 17, the former president of worldwide home media distribution for Paramount Pictures, Dennis Maguire, stepped down . Maguire’s departure was a result of the studio’s cut of 30-40 jobs across all departments as part of Viacom’s restructuring initiative. The Viacom Inc. unit named veteran executive Bob Buchi as the new replacement for Maguire in early April . Buchi has a track record that speaks for itself. He has found great success in theatrical releases, acquisitions, family and television product. Also, Buchi was responsible for the strategic product marketing and management of the “Transformers,” “Star Trek,” “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Paranormal Activity” franchises.On March 23, Paramount Pictures dismantled their microbudget film branch Insurge Pictures. No longer a separate division, Insurge will still keep its name for use as a label on specific genres . When launched in 2010, Amy Powell was named president of Insurge Pictures. Powell will now be relocated to focus on her TV and digital responsibilities as president of Paramount TV and Digital Entertainment. The other executives at Insurge Pictures will be integrated under Marc Evan’s film team.
The exec suite changes established in March will have a strong impact for months to follow; similarly in April.
On April 15, Elizabeth Raposo and Geoff Stier were promoted to be co-presidents of production . Paramount is elevating Raposo from senior vice president to executive vice president. Stier already holds that title. These new positions put them on the same level as Peter Kang, who’s also executive vice president of production. Raposo has been commander on both the latest Mission: Impossible and Star Trek sequels. Again, these new promotions were made in effort of bringing forth a new strategy to bolster Paramount’s lineup.
PROJECTIONS FOR PARAMOUNT
With the new restructuring at Paramount, it is clear that they intend to make a strong comeback. With the dismissal of their last production chief Adam Goodman, they are now confiding in Marc Evans to increase their annual film slate. There is a search for new franchises, now that former money-bringing ones like “Star Trek” and “Transformers” are beginning to fade.
Brad Grey has also shown strong interest in bolstering the animation pipeline and restoring Paramount’s television initiatives . Although these are their main focuses, Paramount faces a credibility problem to overcome, especially with their constant switchups in its executive board.
In the past, Grey has announced ambitious plans for Paramount’s annual slate, and has appointed well-qualified executives, with little accomplishments done by the end of their period at Paramount.
At this time, a studio resurgence is suitable since Wall Street suggests several corporate scenarios that may unravel near the “end of the Sumner Redstone era” . According to some insiders, Redstone’s deep-seated personal ‘consiglieris’ (counselors, advisors) will ensure a smooth transition, although there are still corporate rivalries within the empire.
 Boxofficemojo.com,. (2015). Paramount All Time Box Office Results. Retrieved 17 April 2015
 YouTube,. (2015). Hot Tub Time Machine 2 – Official Trailer 2. Retrieved 17 April 2015