hires animation exec for in-house unit, by Greg Tingle
- 10th October 2011
Inc.'s movie studio, Paramount Pictures, out of LA,
said last Monday that it had hired former Disney feature
animation president David Stainton to head its new
in-house animation division.
had a 17-year run at Disney and oversaw several dozen
releases that brought in $3.5 billion in worldwide
revenue, Paramount said.
studio also credited Stainton with spearheading Disney's
transition from hand-drawn to digital animation production.
most recently served as CEO of family entertainment
producer Henry's World Media, which he founded in
the smash success of "Rango," Paramount
is aiming to make one computer-animated movie per
year with a budget of up to $100 million.
will report to Paramount's motion picture group president,
Pictures remains one of the world's most successful
writer has conducted b2b with Paramount Pictures via
Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment
Pictures Corporation is an American motion picture
production and distribution company, located on Melrose
Avenue in Hollywood, California. Founded in 1912,
it is the oldest movie studio in Hollywood, beating
Universal Studios by a month. Paramount is owned by
media conglomerate Viacom.
CBS Corporation/Viacom split
Reflecting in part the troubles of the broadcasting
business, in 2005 Viacom wrote off over $28 billion
from its radio acquisitions and, early that year,
announced that it would split itself in two. The split
was completed in January 2006.
The CBS television and radio networks, the Infinity
radio-station chain (now called CBS Radio), the Paramount
Television production unit (known as CBS Paramount
(Network) Television) and the network UPN (replaced
by The CW Television Network, co-owned with rival
Time Warner's Warner Bros.) are part of CBS Corporation,
as was Paramount Parks prior to its June 2006 sale
by CBS to the Cedar Fair Entertainment Company. CBS
Corporation also merged its television distribution
arms, KingWorld, CBS Paramount International Television
and CBS Paramount Television, into CBS Television
Distribution in 2006.
Paramount Pictures is now lumped in with MTV, BET,
and other highly profitable channels owned by the
With the announcement of the split of Viacom, Dolgen
and Lansing were replaced by former television executives
Brad Grey and Gail Berman. The decision was made to
split Viacom into two companies, which in turn led
to a dismantling of the Paramount Studio/Paramount
TV infrastructure. The current Paramount is about
one-quarter the size it was under Dolgen and Lansing
and consists only of the movie studio. The famed Paramount
Television studio was made part of CBS in the split.
The remaining businesses were sold off or parceled
out to other operating groups. Paramount's home entertainment
unit continues to distribute the Paramount TV library
through CBS DVD, as both Viacom and CBS Corporation
are controlled by National Amusements.
On December 11, 2005, Paramount announced that it
had purchased DreamWorks SKG (which was co-founded
by former Paramount executive Jeffrey Katzenberg)
in a deal worth $1.6 billion. The announcement was
made by Brad Grey, chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures,
who noted that enhancing Paramount's pipeline of pictures
is a "key strategic objective in restoring Paramount's
stature as a leader in filmed entertainment."
The agreement doesn't include DreamWorks Animation
SKG Inc., the most profitable part of the company
that went public last year.
Under the deal, Paramount is required to distribute
the DreamWorks animated films for a small fee intended
only to cover Paramount's out of pocket costs with
no profit to the studio, including the Shrek franchise
(and ending for the 2004 installment, Shrek 2). The
first film distributed under this deal is Over the
The deal closed on February 6, 2006. This acquisition
was seen at the time as a stopgap measure as Brad
Grey had been unsuccessful in assembling sufficient
films for production and distribution and the DreamWorks
films would fill the gap.
DreamWorks and Paramount are now parting ways.
UIP, Famous Music and Digital Entertainment
Grey also broke up the famous UIP international distribution
company, the most successful international film distributor
in history, after a 25-year partnership with Universal
Studios and has started up a new international group.
As a consequence Paramount fell from #1 in the international
markets to the lowest ranked major studio in 2006
but recovered in 2007 if the Dreamworks films, acquired
by Paramount, are included in Paramount's market share.
Grey has also launched a Digital Entertainment division
to take advantage of emerging digital distribution
technologies. This led to Paramount becoming the 2nd
movie studio to sign a deal with Apple to sell its
films through the iTunes store. They also signed an
exclusive agreement with the failed HD-DVD consortium
and subsequently gave up the guarantees they had received
and will now release in the Blu Ray format.
Also, in 2007, Paramount sold another one of its "heritage"
units, Famous Music, to Sony-ATV Music Publishing
(best known for publishing many songs by The Beatles),
ending a nearly-eight decade run as a division of
Paramount, being the studio's music publishing arm
since the period when the entire company went by the
name "Famous Players."
This inexplicable sale is considered in the industry
a sign of the emerging role of Philippe Daumann, Viacom's
CEO since 2006, whose lack of knowledge of the movie,
TV and music industries and consequent preference
for cable TV drives the company's strategy.
Paramount Home Entertainment
Paramount Home Entertainment (formerly Paramount Home
Video and Paramount Video) is the division of Paramount
Pictures dealing with home video and was founded in
PHE distributes films by Paramount (under its own
label) and DreamWorks (under the DreamWorks Pictures
Home Entertainment label), shows from MTV Networks
(under the MTV DVD, Nickelodeon DVD, Nickelodeon Movies
DVD, Comedy Central DVD and Spike DVD labels), PBS
(under the PBS Home Video label), Showtime (under
its own label), and CBS-owned programs (under the
CBS Home Entertainment label) on DVD. Films from Republic
Pictures, Paramount's other subsidiary, are not distributed
on video and DVD by PHE (with some exceptions), but
are distributed on video and DVD by Lionsgate Home
Entertainment, which recently signed a deal to distribute
some of Paramount's own films on DVD (in addition
to the aforementioned Republic library). Also, as
a result of this deal, Lionsgate has recently relased
"triple features" of their own library of
films on DVD using the package design originated by
PHE have developed a well-known trademark, by giving
their Special Edition/Director's Cut editions different
names rather than the usual "Special Edition,"
or "Director's Edition". Paramount Home
Entertainment gives them different names such as Grease:
The Rockin' Rydell Edition, Beavis & Butthead
Do America: The Edition That Doesn't Suck and Airplane!:
The "Don't Call Me Shirley" Edition.
Internationally, PHE holds the DVD rights to several
shows on HBO. PHE also distributes in Germany the
DVD releases of films distributed theatrically by
As Paramount Home Video, the company once distributed
several Miramax releases on video - the video rights
to some of these films (such as Hellraiser III: Hell
on Earth) are still owned by Paramount.
Recently, PHE launched a direct-to-video label, Paramount
Famous Productions (with the "Famous" part
of the name a throwback to the days when the company
was called Famous Players).
HD DVD & Blu-ray support
Paramount brands the majority of its HD content under
the label 'Paramount High Definition' which is seen
both on the title box cover and as an in-movie opening.
Films from Paramount subsidiaries such as Nickelodeon
Movies and MTV Films as well as from sister studio
DreamWorks SKG use no special branding, Paramount
Vantage (another subsidiary) releases only select
titles under the Paramount High Definition banner
such as Babel.
In October 2005, Paramount announced that it would
be supporting the HD video format Blu-ray Disc in
addition to rival format HD DVD, becoming the first
studio to release on both formats. Its first four
HD DVD releases came in July 2006, and it released
four titles on Blu-ray two months later. In August
2007, Paramount (along with DreamWorks SKG and DreamWorks
Animation) announced their exclusive support for HD
DVD. However, when other studios eventually dropped
HD DVD and players for the technology stopped being
manufactured, Paramount switched to Blu-ray. In May
2008, it released 3 titles on Blu-ray and continues
to release its high-definition discs in that format
The Paramount library
a series of mergers and acquisitions, many of Paramount's
early cartoons, shorts, and feature films are owned
by numerous entities.
In 1955, Paramount acquired Frank Capra's production
company, Liberty Films, which produced only 2 films
in the late 1940s: It's a Wonderful Life, released
originally by RKO Radio Pictures, and State of the
Union, released originally by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Around that same time, as mentioned before, Paramount
saw little value in its library, and decided to sell
off its back catalog.
The Paramount cartoons and shorts went to various
television distributors, with U.M.&M. T.V. Corp.
acquiring the majority of the cartoons and live action
short subjects made before 1951. Some lesser known
features were included in this deal as well, as was
It's a Wonderful Life. However, the Popeye cartoons
were sold to Associated Artists Productions, and the
Superman cartoons went to Motion Pictures for Television,
producers of the Superman television series. U.M.&M.
was later sold to National Telefilm Associates (or
NTA). NTA changed its name to Republic Pictures (which
was previously the name of a minor film studio, whose
backlog had been sold to NTA) in 1984, and was sold
to Viacom in 1999, hence all the material sold to
U.M.&M. would return to Paramount.
The Popeye cartoons passed on to United Artists after
its purchase of a.a.p., then to MGM after they purchased
UA. After Ted Turner failed in an attempt to buy MGM/UA
in 1986, he settled for ownership of the library,
which included the a.a.p. material. Turner Entertainment,
the holding company for Turner's film library, would
later be sold to Time Warner. Turner technically holds
the rights to the Popeye cartoons today, but sales
and distribution is in the hands of Warner Bros. Entertainment.
WB also owns Superman's publisher, DC Comics, and
although the Superman cartoons are now in the public
domain, WB owns the original film elements.
The rest of the cartoons made from 1950-1962, were
sold to Harvey Comics and are now owned by Classic
Media. Except for the Superman cartoons and the features
sold to MCA (to end up with Universal), most television
prints of these films have had their titles remade
to remove most traces of their connection to Paramount
(The original copyright lines were left intact on
Popeye cartoons). The Popeye cartoons have been restored
for DVD release with the original Paramount titles.
When the talent agency Music Corporation of America
(better known as MCA), then wielding major influence
on Paramount policy, offered $50 million for 750 pre-1949
features (with payment to be spread over many years),
a cash-strapped Paramount thought it had made the
best possible deal. To address anti-trust concerns,
MCA set up a separate company, EMKA, Ltd., to sell
these films to television. The deal included such
notable Paramount films as the early Marx Brothers
films, most of the Bob Hope-Bing Crosby "Road"
pictures, and such Oscar contenders as Double Indemnity,
The Lost Weekend, and The Heiress. MCA later admitted
that over the next forty years it took in more than
a billion dollars in rentals of these supposedly "worthless"
pictures. MCA later purchased the US branch of Decca
Records, which owned Universal Studios (now a part
of NBC Universal), and thus Universal now owns these
films, though EMKA continues to hold the copyright.
Several other feature films ended up in Republic Pictures's
possession, yet others had been retained by Paramount
due to other rights issues (such as The Miracle of
Morgan's Creek). As for Paramount's silent features,
some still are under Paramount ownership -- for example,
1927's Wings, the first "Best Picture" Academy
Award winner -- but many others are either lost or
in the public domain. Also, one additional pre-1950
film, the 1931 version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,
was sold to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1941 who filmed
a remake that same year - this film is also now owned
by WB/Turner Entertainment.
Rights to some of Paramount's films from 1950 onward
would also change hands. Most notably, the rights
to five Paramount films directed by Alfred Hitchcock
-- Rear Window, The Trouble with Harry, The Man Who
Knew Too Much, Vertigo and Psycho - eventually reverted
to ownership by the director himself with the exception
of Psycho, which was sold directly to Universal in
1968. Following Hitchcock's death, Universal eventually
acquired the rights to the four other films in 1983
from the Hitchcock estate (which is overseen by his
daughter, Patricia). However, one Hichcock film, To
Catch A Thief, is still under Paramount's ownership.
The later Bob Hope films originally released by Paramount
(including The Seven Little Foys and The Lemon Drop
Kid) are now co-owned by Sony Pictures Television
and FremantleMedia, both successors-in-interest to
a joint venture called Colex Enterprises, which had
consisted of respective predecessor companies Columbia
Pictures Television and LBS Communications.
A number of films merely distributed by Paramount
would also end up with other companies - for example,
the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
was produced by Wolper Productions; Warner Bros. gained
the copyright to the film when they acquired Wolper
Productions in 1977. WB also owns the rights to several
films originally distributed by Paramount that were
produced by Lorimar Productions, which was sold to
WB in 1989. Some other films from 1950 onward went
into the public domain as well.
Paramount's association with the comedian Jerry Lewis,
which produced The Nutty Professor among other films
ended in the 1970s, and the rights to these films
were given back to Lewis. As a consequence, the hit
remakes starring Eddie Murphy were released by Universal
Pictures. This reversion to Jerry Lewis resulted from
a promise made by then-Paramount CEO Barney Balaban
who gratuitously offered to give the rights back to
Lewis as a birthday present. Paramount, however, has
retained full distribution rights to the Lewis films.
Balaban, consistent with his other decisions to sell
off rights and dismantle Paramount's library, was
of the opinion that there was no future economic value
to 'old' movies. This "strategy" of gradual
dismantling Paramount's assets and library has continued
under current Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman who not only
split the company in half and gave the television
library and distribution rights to the feature films
to CBS, but also sold off the Company's music library,
In the 1970s, Paramount acquired the rights to the
Frank Capra film Broadway Bill, which was originally
released by Columbia Pictures. Paramount had remade
the film as Riding High in 1950. Then in 2004, Paramount
bought all worldwide rights to the original 1975 version
of The Stepford Wives (also released by Columbia),
in connection with the release of the remake.
Paramount owns DVD rights to many films produced by
Full Moon Entertainment, due to a deal made with the
company years before. Paramount also owns DVD rights
to several films released by Miramax Films prior to
that firm's acquisition by Disney in 1993, also a
result of a deal.
Paramount now represents independent company Hollywood
Classics in the theatrical distribution of all the
films produced by the various motion picture divisions
of CBS over the years, as a result of the Viacom/CBS
merger. This also includes US rights to the 1951 film
The African Queen, originally distributed by United
Artists (the international rights are with Granada
International). Paramount (via CBS DVD) has outright
video distribution to the aforementioned CBS library
with few exceptions-for example, the original Twilight
Zone DVDs are handled by Image Entertainment, while
the video rights to My Fair Lady are now with original
theatrical distributor Warner Bros., both above titles
under license from CBS.
As for distribution of the material Paramount itself
still owns, it has been split in half, with Paramount
themselves owning theatrical rights, while what became
CBS Paramount Television handles television distribution
(under CBS Television Distribution).
In early 2008, Paramount partnered with Los Angeles-based
developer FanRocket to make short scenes taken from
its film library available to users on Facebook.
application, called VooZoo, allows users to send movie
clips to other Facebook users and to post clips on
their profile pages. Paramount engineered a similar
deal with Makena Technologies to allow users of vMTV
and There.com to view and send movie clips. (Credit:
Pictures has a business arrangement in place with
PartyGaming and their online casino brand, PartyCasino.com