Thursday, July 07, 2011

Studio Launches 'Paramount Animation'

Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc. will launch an in-house animation division, with its first title slated for release in 2014, according to Paramount Chairman & CEO Brad Grey.

The initiative is part of the studio's long-term strategy for growth, with 'Paramount Animation', focusing on high 'quality' animation with budgets per picture of up to $100 million. The division will be part of the Paramount Motion Picture Group, reporting to the group's president, Adam Goodman, and will initially target one release per year.

"...the 'Paramount Animation' mandate will be the development of the broadest range of family CGI animated films, with a key piece being titles under the label of Viacom's 'Nickelodeon', the number one entertainment brand for kids worldwide. Paramount will also look to build on Viacom's already thriving global consumer products business by seeking to capitalize on merchandising opportunities tied to all Paramount Animation releases..."

"The marketplace has never offered as many opportunities to create wonderfully imaginative pictures at very appealing budget levels," said Grey, "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."

While Paramount has previously released an array of animated films, the company's first fully owned CGI animated property was "Rango", released March 2011, directed by Gore Verbinski and featuring the voice of Johnny Depp in the title role, grossing over $240 million worldwide.

Last week's release of "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" marks the 5th consecutive film to surpass $100 million in domestic box office revenue for Paramount, a milestone which has never been accomplished before in the industry.

Overall, the last 12 months have brought the studio a series of box office and critical successes, including "Super 8", Marvel's "Thor", "Paranormal Activity 2", "Justin Beiber: Never Say Never", DWA's "Kung Fu Panda 2", "Jackass 3D", "True Grit" and "The Fighter".

Upcoming Paramount movies include "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol", "The Adventures Of Tintin" and the remake of "Footloose".

Click the images to enlarge...