As Paramount begins its DreamWorks-free existence in this still credit-crunched environment, the studio announced that it was cutting the number of films it was releasing per year to just 20, with the breakdown as follows, from the press release posted by Nikki Finke:
Under the new targets, Paramount plans to release twelve films, including MTV Films and Nickelodeon Movies, and up to four additional releases from its Paramount Vantage unit. Paramount will also continue to distribute 2-4 films a year produced by DreamWorks Animation and Marvel Studios.
The 2-4 from DreamWorks Animation/Marvel provision means that Paramount really only has to pay for the production costs of 16 films since DreamWorks Animation and Marvel pay for their own movies.
This cutback is most certainly a result of the credit crunch. Paramount knows all too well that it’s hard to line up debt financing these days since it was famously unable to do so earlier this summer. it decided not to proceed with a slate film-financing deal earlier this summer because of the state of the credit markets.
But at the Dow Jones Media and Money conference today, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman remained committed to the studio, saying he wasn’t going to sell it as some have suggested he should.
THR: “It’s not one we want to sell” because it is a “very fast-growing business” with strong cash flows, he said about Paramount at the second annual Media and Money conference in New York, organised by Dow Jones and Hollywood Reporter parent the Nielsen Co. “Paramount has done great for us. Brad Grey has done a terrific job.”
Dauman admitted that film is a “generally tough business,” but he argued that Paramount’s reducing its number of annual releases helps to further push the film unit along a “sound strategic and financial path.”
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