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Thompson on Hollywood

Paramount Makes Moves Toward the Digital Future

As much as many of us bewail the studios' pokey moves into the digital future, the truth is, they are not stupid. What they are doing--and why they can be counted on to make many ill-advised decisions going forward--is thinking about how to buttress their bottom line, satisfy stockholders, and cover their huge executive salaries and overhead. That's why making more big movies that may score big and pay all their bills is still their prerogative, rather than more less risky small movies. Even after six would-be tentpoles tank in a row.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 30, 2013 6:15 PM
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First Look: Jason Reitman On Set in Upcoming 'Labor Day,' Starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin

Jason Reitman's latest, "Labor Day," was just announced as part of the TIFF 2013 lineup, making its world premiere at the fest. The film stars Gattlin Griffith as a New Hampshire pre-teen who learns some tough truths over the five-day Labor Day weekend. Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin play the boy's mother and an escaped convict, respectively.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • July 23, 2013 2:45 PM
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  • 4 Comments

Paramount, Pitt Reach Out to Fans and Celebs to Build Buzz for 'World War Z' (VIDEO) UPDATED

Paramount has now taken Brad Pitt on the road to Atlanta, Philadelphia, Chicago and Austin, in addition to New York's Museum of Modern Art, for early sneak peaks at Marc Forster's long-delayed "World War Z," in order to build some early buzz. Austin's Harry Knowles got to introduce Pitt on June 6 to a room full of screaming, smartphone-filming fans; Pitt said, "Mr. Knowles, let's kick some zombie ass." Watch below.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 7, 2013 2:14 PM
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CinemaCon: Paramount Promos Big, Noisy Movies 'Star Trek Into Darkness,' 'World War Z,' 'Pain and Gain' (VIDEO)

At CinemaCon, the annual exhibitors' convention in Las Vegas, the studios are clearly chasing huge VFX packed event movies to pull audiences into theaters. At the first studio presentation, hosted by Paramount co-chairman Rob Moore, the movies were big and noisy, amplified by some 495,000 watts of Dolby Atmos sound in the theater. That's one reason they showed Michael Bay's $25 million bad boy celebration "Pain and Gain," an impeccably produced dumb-male comedy starring Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 16, 2013 7:17 PM
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Why Studios Continue Banking on Franchises Like 'G.I. Joe'; Which Sequels Can You Do Without?

"G.I. Joe Retaliation," a sequel to 2009's "G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra," took in more than $130 million at the worldwide box office this weekend--although its three-day $40 million domestic number was half its foreign take. (The studio cleverly beefed up the weekend number with a Thursday preview.) Part of what's wrong with movies today is that the studios are willing to throw foreign-driven movies into the domestic market, where they often get bad reviews and turn people off, because they'll make their money overseas theatrically and via TV output deals, plus licensing and merchandising, action figures, DVDs, and the like. So it's no surprise that today sees news of Paramount already exploring sequel options for "G.I. Joe."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 1, 2013 4:20 PM
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'World War Z' UPDATE: Paramount Execs Cut Mention of China as Possible Culprit of Zombie Outbreak

As if "World War Z" hasn't already stomached enough production turmoil. News broke earlier today that Paramount executives have changed a minor plot point in the film that involves China, so that Chinese officials might look more favorably on the film for domestic distribution in the fast-rising Chinese market.
  • By Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna
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  • April 1, 2013 2:54 PM
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  • 3 Comments

Brad Pitt Talks Tentpole 'World War Z,' Unused Budapest Scenes and Fast vs. Slow Zombies in New EW

Much has been reported on "World War Z"'s laborious trek to the big screen (June 21), plagued with re-shoots and re-writes -- all the while taking the title of Most Expensive Zombie Movie Ever Made. Despite rumors of conflict between director Marc Forster ("Quantum of Solace") and his producer-star, it's up to Brad Pitt's to turn this movie into a winner for all concerned. And so he sits down with Entertainment Weekly (which hits newsstands March 29), and discusses his newfound admiration for the big-budget tentpole, the stealthy zombies in the film, and why he loosened up on his original political interests in the project.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • March 28, 2013 1:43 PM
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Dystopia Rules! Rudin and Paramount's Unpublished 'Annihilation' Joins Rash of Movies About Our Grim Future

In Hollywood, the end of the worlds is always at hand. Trust Scott Rudin to sniff out the next literary phenomenon. Yes, yet another dystopian picture is in the works. As John Carpenter and Kurt Russell reunite in advance of an "Escape from New York" reboot, and Roland Emmerich preps a sequel to "Independence Day," a plethora of dystopian movies are on the way.
  • By Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna
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  • March 27, 2013 6:22 PM
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‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ Preview Report: Producer Bryan Burk Talks Promo Tour, Franchise Future

Friday in London, Paramount Pictures screened an extended look at "Star Trek Into Darkness" at the BFI IMAX cinema, introduced by producer Bryan Burk and including the opening 28 minutes of the film plus two other extended sequences. What they showed of J.J. Abrams’ belated sequel, which arrives four years after he rebooted the franchise with 2009’s "Star Trek," was thrilling stuff, even if you don’t count yourself a colossal (or even casual) Trekkie. That, as Burk explained in his intro to the footage, has always been their primary goal with this sequel: to make a film that appeals across the board.
  • By Matt Mueller
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  • March 8, 2013 5:46 PM
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VIDEO: Paramount Creates 'Flight' Hybrid TV Spots Aimed at Academy

Paramount never gives up on trying effective new ways to reach Academy members. They've found in recent years that online video spots--like the one they created to show how Brad Pitt was transformed into Benjamin Button in the David Fincher film--are very effective with Academy members. They actually created a TV spot for "Transformers" highlighting the use of sound. Now they're broadcasting a brand spanking new Academy 90-second "Flight" TV spot that will debut this Sunday on "CBS Sunday Morning" and will also be the lead-in spot to "60 Minutes" on Sunday evening. See the spot below.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 8, 2012 7:49 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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