Monday, 22 June 2009

Hollywood Babble On & On #309: First As Tragedy, Next As Farce...

There's been a big shake-up at the top management of cash strapped major studio Paramount. Studio President John Lesher is out, to become a producer, and swiftly replaced by a former Dreamworks production head named Adam Goodman. It's suffered a massive bomb with the latest Eddie Murphy vehicle Imagine That, is bleeding money, thanks to massive debts, and can't seem to make anything remotely original, doing either reboots, or riffing off of old 80s toy franchises, like the Transformers, G.I. Joe, and would have done a movie version of My Little Pony, if they weren't hit with a trademark infringement suit from Sarah Jessica Parker.

And to top it all off, all of the company's summer releases are being produced by one man. All of their eggs are literally in one basket.

Despite the success of
Star Trek's reboot, the company is in rough shape.

But it's happened before.

You see Paramount has been one of the biggest studios in Hollywood since almost the beginning. The United Artists company, now part of the moribund MGM, was started as an act of rebellion against the immense size and dominance of Paramount.

But with size Paramount has also been cursed with a very bureaucratic system. It tends to be slow to react to changing trends, and has a bad tendency of trying to force trends through tossing way too much money on big films that probably shouldn't be made, but get made simply because someone at Paramount thinks it's the sort of film they should be making simply because it's big.

Can anyone say
Paint Your Wagon?

Can anyone say G.I. Joe, which looks like six kinds of suck judging by the trailers and marketing materials?

Some folks are predicting that Paramount may actually fold up shop. I think that's a little far fetched. What's more likely to happen is that like in the past it'll come close to complete collapse, then like every time before, someone will take advantage of the fire sale price, buy it, bring in fresh blood, and history will repeat itself all over again.

Because Hollywood history is more than cyclical, it's actually the historical equivalent of remakes. The same story told over and over, just not told as well as the first time, and increasingly dumbed down with every telling.

1 comment:

  1. Following your analogy, if Paramount's pending re-rescue is indeed a remake of Gulf + Western's 1966 takeover, how successful it is will depend on if the buyer "gets" what made the source material work, and can get something fresh out of it; if not, just as most current remakes flop, this new Paramount may, if not fold, be as moribund as MGM (even having another studio own its (Second) Golden Age films, as Universal now owns Paramount's First Golden Age features)