Author Topic: Paramount Gets Into the Toon Game, Launches Animation Division  (Read 2198 times)

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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THE WRAP:

Paramount Gets Into the Toon Game, Launches Animation Division
By Brent Lang

Paramount is getting into the animation game.

The studio announced on Wednesday that it is launching an in-house animation division and expected to release its first film through the unit in 2014.

In making the announcement, Paramount Chairman & CEO Brad Grey said that budgets on each of the division's films will be in the $100 million range. Grey said the company will draw on other members of the Viacom corporate family in developing its films, in particular the kids network Nickelodeon.

Also read: Jeffrey Katzenberg's Dilemma: Stock Woes, TV Dreams, No Buyers

“The marketplace has never offered as many opportunities to create wonderfully imaginative pictures at very appealing budget levels, so we feel this is a perfect moment to launch this effort. We are now eager to expand in animation with appropriate and prudent overhead and production budgets in a way that will allow us to be nimble, creative and innovative,” Grey said in a statement.

The move comes as Paramount's renewal of its current distribution pact with DreamWorks Animation  remains in doubt. That deal is set to expire in 2012, but Katzenberg has clashed with Paramount's leadership, according to individuals with knowledge of the situation. Paramount, which makes an 8 percent distribution fee on the films it handles, is unlikely to sweeten those terms and if the studio is serious about creating its own in-house product, that could severely weaken DreamWorks' hand.

It also comes on the heels of the release of the studio's first CGI animated effort "Rango." Featuring the voice of Johnny Depp, "Rango" made $240 million worldwide, but cost $135 million to produce, making it something of a box office underachiever.

With its announcement on Wednesday, Paramount is clearly positioning itself as a major player in the animation field, but breaking in won't be easy.  Where once Disney and DreamWorks carved up the  animation landscape between them, the genre has become increasingly competitive one in recent years. 

Warner Brothers and Fox have ramped up their animated output scoring hits with films such as "Happy Feet" and "Ice Age," and Universal launched its own division, lllumination headed up by Chris Meledandri in 2007.

Though Paramount's distribution unit has been widely praised for its work rolling out hit films such as "Iron Man" and "How to Train Your Dragon," the fact has remained that it has only served as a distributor for Marvel and DreamWorks Animation on many of its biggest blockbusters. Under Grey and Vice Chair Rob Moore, the studio has been working to strengthen its production arm, so that the company will be less dependent on distribution pacts and enjoy a bigger slice of the profits -- a move that was made increasingly important after Disney's 2010 acquisition of Marvel ended that gravy train for Paramount.

For years, the knock on Paramount has been that it was little more than a high-end clearing house for other peoples' movies.


Offline Battle

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Re: Paramount Gets Into the Toon Game, Launches Animation Division
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2011, 11:58:58 am »
Does that mean we may finally see a CG animated movie project directed by a black director?

Offline Hypestyle

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Re: Paramount Gets Into the Toon Game, Launches Animation Division
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2011, 06:39:38 am »
Does that mean we may finally see a CG animated movie project directed by a black director?

I hope so.. I'm also curious.. this animation group will be separate from Dreamworks, eh?  Time to get pitches ready..
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Offline Rockscissorspaper

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Re: Paramount Gets Into the Toon Game, Launches Animation Division
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2011, 08:23:27 am »
Does that mean we may finally see a CG animated movie project directed by a black director?

Just curious...but what about this announcement makes that any more of a possibility than before?
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Offline Battle

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Re: Paramount Gets Into the Toon Game, Launches Animation Division
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2011, 09:02:57 am »
Just curious...but what about this announcement makes that any more of a possibility than before?




If you want to be 1-UP on your competitors, take the opportunity to introduce something no one has ever done before.

Have you ever seen a CG animated movie directed by a (American) black director?

Offline Rockscissorspaper

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Re: Paramount Gets Into the Toon Game, Launches Animation Division
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2011, 09:23:30 am »
Have you ever seen a CG animated movie directed by a (American) black director?

Nope (or should I say "not that I know of" since besides Brad Bird on The Incredibles I'm clueless to who directed any of those flicks)
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Offline Battle

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Re: Paramount Gets Into the Toon Game, Launches Animation Division
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2011, 09:37:28 am »
Nope (or should I say "not that I know of" since besides Brad Bird on The Incredibles I'm clueless to who directed any of those flicks)






I'd like to see a Hollywood-styled CG animated movie directed by a (popular) black American director with a black cast of characters aimed at ALL AGES (hint, hint )...  I'm curious as to what, how, where and why a kind of story like that would be told.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2011, 09:41:57 am by Battle »

Offline Hypestyle

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Re: Paramount Gets Into the Toon Game, Launches Animation Division
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2011, 11:06:15 am »
heck, maybe there can be a co-production with Marvel/Disney on Black Panther.. heh-heh..  8)
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