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Duh: ‘Jack Reacher’ Being Eyed As Franchise, While Viacom Chief Signals Death Of Original Ideas At Paramount

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by Kevin Jagernauth
September 19, 2012 4:57 PM
9 Comments
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To say that Paramount is having a pretty horrible 2012, which unfortunately coincides with their 100th anniversary, would be an understatement. With two movies bumped to 2013 -- "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" and "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" -- while "World War Z" goes through a pretty public and ugly reshoot and rewrite process to try and salvage a picture that currently is only half good and has Brad Pitt and director Marc Forster at odds, it's no surprise honchos are looking to find any silver lining they can. And it looks like Tom Cruise may be that hope.

Of course, he's already anchoring their mega-successful "Mission: Impossible" franchise, but later this year he'll kick ass in "Jack Reacher" in what should be another blockbuster-sized hit. And eager to capitalize on it is Paramount parent Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman, who told investors at the Goldman Sachs Annual Communacopia Conference that he’s “hoping to create new franchise” out of the character and books. Well, duh. Way back in May when the title was officially changed from "One Shot" to "Jack Reacher," we predicted as much. The movie is based on the book by Lee Child, and every entry in the series is stamped "A Jack Reacher Novel." Basically, "Jack Reacher" allows audiences to get to know the name while allowing for potential future movies to be branded "Jack Reacher: [Put Book Title Here]" or whatever.

But perhaps the most interesting nugget out of that conference comes from Dauman's revelation about the future Paramount slate. With "Jack Reacher," "Jack Ryan," "Star Trek," "G.I. Joe," and "Transfomers" as arguably the biggest properties on their slate, he reveals that essentially, originality is going to be tossed out the window. “We reduced the number of releases to about 15 a year and focused on existing franchises, developing new franchises, and developing our brands,” he told investors, which is basically another way of saying they are playing things mostly very, very safe and predictable.

Just to make that clear: franchises, franchises, brand. Ugh. We can't say we're really surprised because that's the direction major studios are going these days, preferring to bet a few big horses, rather than the approach they had back in the day in which mid-sized movies also had a chance to shine. But that's the way things are blowing these days, at least until a few of these expensive movies tank hard and spending $50 million on a movie instead of $150 million looks attractive again. But for now, it looks like there will be even more Cruise/Reacher to come as part of the studio's franchise/franchise/brand approach. [Deadline]

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9 Comments

  • why lee?? | September 23, 2012 11:15 PMReply

    Lee, why did you sell out such a wonderfully written character??? His physical presence was such a huge part of his persona. Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher? Maybe Tom can play Shaquille Oneal in his next movie...

  • Alice | September 20, 2012 10:48 PMReply

    There are those of us that read (every Reacher novel) and those of us that watch film. The readers will never accept TC as Jack Reacher, regardless of the box office take. As long as Lee Child does not pattern the written Reacher after TC, I, for one, will live with the decision. This would have been the perfect time to bring in a new actor, with the novelists depiction of size and demeanor...but it's obviously too late. Jim Caviezel would have been a reasonable choice.

  • heartland | September 19, 2012 9:10 PMReply

    And if I owned Paramount stock I would dump it right now, the CEO is so out of touch. Literally hundreds of posts on various sites disgusted w. TC playing iconic 6'5" brawny Jack Reacher and taking pass on film re epic miscast. Does Paramount seriously think the non-reading, young male demographic is enough to make a film with this much negative reaction a success? Even the trailer looks like TC playing TC in another MI + Drive film. Folks are actively rooting for film to bomb so maybe HBO will pick up options and do a decent job w. book series. NO-ONE wants TC as Reacher - too short, too high voiced, too metrosexual, too many blinding white teeth. It's like watching a chihuahua believe it's a mastiff.

  • MJ | September 19, 2012 9:01 PMReply

    Not to mention that Paramount had to watch Disney rake in the Marvel cash this year, & The Avengers practically made more than the 4 prequels they released combined.

  • Rohan | September 19, 2012 6:51 PMReply

    At least they are aware that they are not taking sides with originality.

  • Wanda | September 19, 2012 6:25 PMReply

    If the Jack Reacher movies are as good as the MI movies, then bring 'em on!

  • Christine - UK | September 21, 2012 2:59 PM

    Wanda, Wanda, Wanda, you obviously have NOT read the books. Please read the first Jack Reacher book and then tell me truly, with all your heart, that TC was the right choice. And that's another thing, they should have made a movie out of the first book because it is there that you find out exactly who Jack Reacher is!!!

  • JaySmack | September 19, 2012 6:18 PMReply

    Paramount is out of original ideas. Or rather the hack "creative" teams and career executives who never had any ideas are fresh out. Now, what if they hired some --I don't know-- OUTSIDE TALENT to come up with-- awww, that would be too much like common sense, and we know Paramount hasn't done that in 20 years.

    So, anyone want to wager on how many Transformers and Jack Ryan "reboots" can Paramount do before the studio finally goes under?

  • jon | September 19, 2012 6:01 PMReply

    One more nail in the coffin that is our culture.

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