UPDATE: Bert Fields Slams “Bizarre” $1B ‘Ghost Protocol’ Lawsuit Against Tom Cruise, Paramount & Others

DJP LEGAL BADGEUPDATE, 10:12 AM: Tom Cruise’s longtime lawyer wasted little time responding to the $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit filed against his client, Paramount Pictures, CEO Brad Grey, Skydance and David EllisonJJ Abrams and others over 2011’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. “Tom Cruise has never stolen anything from anyone. This bizarre lawsuit against 13 people for combined copyright infringement and ‘age discrimination’ will be quickly dismissed by the Court,” Bert Fields said in a statement just sent to Deadline.

PREVIOUS, 8:14 AM: Accusations of stolen screenplay ideas and the lawsuits that follow are pretty standard stuff in Hollywood. Some come from established writers but many come from creditless claimants banging on the gates for big bucks seeking what they say is rightfully theirs. In that vein, Timothy Patrick McLanahan has filed a $1 billion copyright mi 4infringement suit (read it here) against Tom Cruise, Paramount Pictures, studio CEO Brad Grey, Skydance Pictures and David Ellison, JJ Abrams and Bryan Burk (who is called Brian Burke in the suit) and their Bad Robot company and more over 2011’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Representing himself, McLanahan is alleging that the successful fourth MI pic was based on a script he wrote more than 15 years ago titled Head On. “Upon reviewing and watching the script and movie of Ghost Protocol, I immediately recognized that the scripts for this movie had been illegally written and produced from Head On’s 1998 copyright. Ghost Protocol was released on December 16, 2010 and this lawsuit is being filed within three years of when that movie was released,” he states in the 10-page-plus exhibits federal court filing in California. In the suit, lodged December 20, 2013 and filed on January 13, McLanahan also claims intellectual property theft and age discrimination and basing his damages claim on the more than $694 million the pic has made worldwide and what he says is “were DVD and blu-ray sales of $144,500,000.”

Related: Writers Sue Fox, Peter Chernin, WME and Others Claiming ‘New Girl’ Is A Ripoff Read More »

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Brad Pitt’s Plan B Move Unveiled: Moving To Deal With New Regency And RatPac Partners James Packer And Brett Ratner

pitttEXCLUSIVE: So, what is happening with Paramount and Plan B, the production shingle run by Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner? We can report definitively that the company is moving to a new 3-year pact with New Regency and RatPac partners James Packer and Brett Ratner. This new marriage, which starts when the Plan B deal at Paramount expires at month’s end, comes after New Regency co-financed the Oscar contender 12 Years A Slave, and they are in postproduction on True Story, the film directed by Rupert Goold, with  James Franco and Jonah Hill starring. Plan B has five projects percolating at New Regency, Arnon Milchan has a strong relationship with Pitt that goes all the way back to Fight Club, and Weston has a strong relationship with Pitt and Gardner from the New Regency business and when Weston ran production at Paramount. Those projects include Black Hole, The Operators and Big Bucks.

Related: 2014 Spirit Awards: ‘12 Years A Slave’ Up For Best Feature

slaveWe’re told that this move is not acrimonious and that the relationship is fine between the Brads, as in Brad Pitt and Paramount chief Brad Grey. In fact, they completed their biggest film, World War Z — it was the highest-grossing film in Pitt’s career, though it’s unclear how profitable it was because of the high cost of re-shooting — and they are starting progress on a sequel that Juan Antonio Bayona directing. But the feeling was the Plan B label fit better with New Regency after the collaboration on 12 Years A Slave and so many other projects.

Related: Paramount Moving Forward On ‘World War Z’ Sequel

The move happens shortly after Pirates of the Caribbean producer Jerry Bruckheimer took residence at Paramount in a first-look deal he moves to from Disney. He joins Lorenzo di Bonaventura and David Ellison’s Skydance and JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot at the studio. Paramount doesn’t make a ton of movies, and a lot of Plan B’s projects languished. There should be more opportunity to get movies made in this deal, where Regency and RatPac go 50/50 on Plan B-developed projects. New Regency had a distribution deal with Fox. The way it works is, New Regency and RatPac finance future films from Plan B, and RatPac has the opportunity to co-finance the projects that Plan B currently has with New Regency.

New Regency sees this as a coup, a next step for a financier/producer establishing itself with tastemaker fare. Read More »

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Alan Horn & Other Studio Bosses Set Big Jerry Brown Fundraiser Next Month

His re-election is a year away and as much of a sure thing as anything can be in politics but Hollywood moguls unsurprisingly are already opening up their check books for Jerry Brown now. A $1,000 to $27,200 … Read More »

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Amy Powell Named President Of Paramount Television

By | Monday July 22, 2013 @ 11:06am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

After meeting with various TV producers and development executives, Paramount chairman and CEO Brad Grey looked internally for an exec to lead the film studio’s recently re-launched TV division. Amy Powell will add the position of President of Paramount Television to her current responsibilities as head of Digital Entertainment and Insurge Pictures.

This marks the first appointment to the start-up television division, unveiled in March, which is designed to finance and develop television for all platforms, from digital episodic content to primetime series. Its first project was financing/co-producing duties on the CBS/Sony TV pilot Beverly Hills Cop, an offshoot from the Paramount movie franchise. The plan for the next five years is to build Paramount TV into a creative TV studio that will mine existing Paramount properties as well as new ideas from established and emerging talent, broadly seeking partners and distribution. Paramount TV was one of the leading brands for TV production until 2005 when the studio was renamed to CBS TV Studios as it remained with CBS in the company split with Viacom. “Amy has proven herself to be a highly-talented, innovative and creative executive,” said Grey. “Her skill and experience working across all platforms, at engaging audiences, and, most recently her work at Insurge, will be instrumental as we build a versatile television operation.” Powell will report to Grey on her television duties. She remains President of Paramount’s micro-budget Insurge Pictures, reporting to Adam Goodman, and she’ll continue to work closely with Vice Chairman Rob Moore on digital and business affair matters across all her responsibilities. Read More »

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Paramount Preview Reel: ‘WWZ,’ ‘Pain & Gain’ Big Surprises

By | Tuesday October 16, 2012 @ 8:03am PDT
Mike Fleming

After closing down the New York Film Festival on Sunday night with the Robert Zemeckis-directed Flight, Paramount chief Brad Grey and production topper Adam Goodman hung around Gotham for an extra day to show a promo reel from its slate through 2014.

Flanking Grey in the Paramount screening room at 15125 Broadway were Flight helmer Robert Zemeckis and David Chase, the Sopranos creator whose feature film debut Not Fade Away (see the trailer here) was part of a reel that included another Transformers and the Star Trek sequel (they showed JJ Abrams’ appearance on Conan O’Brien, where the ultra-secretive JJ was eager to show three frames of Star Trek Into Darkness, a humorous aside because you couldn’t see a thing). There was Jack Reacher with Tom Cruise who, despite being nearly a foot shorter and 100 pounds lighter than the hulking hero of Lee Child’s book, capably kicks ass in the launch of yet another franchise, with another Mission: Impossible clearly in the offing. There was the G.I. Joe sequel, pushed to next year and now in 3D and built around Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis. And the relaunch of the Jack Ryan franchise with Star Trek‘s Chris Pine, who just signed with CAA and seems an agency’s ultimate catch since he will soon be on firm footing headlining two big franchises.

Related: Paramount’s Oscar Hopeful Takes ‘Flight’ With Bi-Coastal Interactive Launch

I have to say, the footage that was most surprisingly impressive was Michael Bay’s Pain & Gain, but most of all the much maligned World War Z with Brad Pitt. Read More »

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Academy Premiere Of 1927′s Oscar Winner ‘Wings’ Launches Paramount’s Centennial

By | Wednesday January 18, 2012 @ 6:25pm PST
Pete Hammond

At the second-floor entrance to the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences there is a one-sheet poster of Wings, the first-ever Oscar winner for Best Picture and to date the only silent film ever to win.  Next to it is a one-sheet of the most recent Best Picture winner (The King’s Speech) which remains in that place of honor for a year. How ironic then would it be if major contender The Artist were to win, creating a never-dreamed of Academy bookend for two black-and-white silent movies separated by 84 years of Oscar history.

There was no mention of The Artist Tuesday night at the Academy during introductions to the premiere screening of the restored Wings, but the feeling that history could repeat itself this year was definitely something felt in that room.  The Academy program was the kickoff to Paramount’s yearlong celebration of its 100th anniversary, and in addition to screenings of its first Best Picture winner Tuesday and Wednesday the Academy is displaying posters and memorabilia from the studio’s storied history in its Grand Lobby through February 6.

It’s a big year for studio 100ths with Universal also celebrating a centennial and promising yearlong events and restorations just like Paramount. In fact Academy President Tom Sherak announced last night that the Acad will also be hosting a similar event for Universal later in the year. But this night belonged to William Wellman’s masterful Wings which at a cost of $2 million in 1927 was the most expensive movie to date in Hollywood. In addition to its Best Picture Oscar, Sherak noted it won an Engineering Effects award and was a true blockbuster — “the ‘Star Wars’ of 1927 that had actors doing their own flying stunts” he said in his opening remarks.
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Chairman Brad Grey Signs New Paramount Contract For 5 More Years Until Early 2017

By | Wednesday December 14, 2011 @ 11:21am PST

EXCLUSIVE: There won’t be any formal announcement but I’ve learned that Brad Grey re-upped as Chairman/CEO of Paramount Pictures Corp a few weeks ago. It coincides with Paramount placing No. 1 in market share among the Hollywood studios and perhaps even keeping that crown for 2011. Right now the studio is about $100 million ahead of Warner Bros which usually takes the coveted title with about half a dozen more movies released than Paramount this year. Granted, Paramount mostly distributed rather than owned most of the film fare that put it in first place. But No. 1 is still No. 1. Meanwhile, the minor news that Grey and his wife recently bought a $15.5M swanky NYC coop in The Carlyle tower recently sparked a new wave of rumors that Brad was going to divide his time between Los Angeles and New York to work on more Viacom business for boss Philippe Dauman. But I can knock that down now. Certainly Grey’s signing a new deal to keep him atop Paramount for 5 more years through early 2017 will help the continuing stability at the studio run by him, Vice Chairman Rob Moore, and Film Group President Adam Goodman. Frankly, I didn’t know if the studio’s roiling would ever stop at the start of Grey’s tenure. Hollywood openly wondered if the Brillstein-Grey Entertainment co-founder could segue from a mostly TV manager/producer into a studio movie mogul. And it didn’t help that Grey churned through a revolving door of top executives: Gail Berman, Alli Shearmur, Brad Weston, and Jon Lesher, until Goodman finally fit the bill. And during the first years Grey outlasted widespread whispers that he was about to be canned. Of course those ended when DreamWorks exited Paramount after a very unhappy pairing from 2006 to 2009.

Grey’s turf includes responsiblility for all feature film development and production for the Paramount Motion Picture Group which includes Paramount Pictures, Paramount Vantage, Paramount Classics, Paramount Animation, Insurge Pictures, MTV Films and Nickelodeon Movies. He is also responsible for the worldwide business operations for Paramount Pictures International, Paramount Home Entertainment, Paramount Digital Entertainment, Paramount Famous Productions, Paramount Licensing Inc., Paramount Studio Group and Worldwide Television Distribution. When Grey arrived at Paramount, the studio was in a decidedly down cycle with the cupboard bare of decent product. (“It’s like turning the Titanic,” Grey said on more than one occasion.) Immediately Grey struck deals with Marvel Studios and DreamWorks and DreamWorks Animation to fill the distribution and production pipeline until Paramount could get back on its feet with its own pics. Grey greenlighted the blocbuster franchises Transformers and Paranormal Activity, Jackass, and GI Joe, and re-booted the Mission: Impossible and Star Trek brands. The studio also has had several successful franchises — Shrek, its spin-off Puss In Boots, and Kung Fu Panda – from DreamWorks Animation whose deal runs out at the end of 2012. But Paramount also has the awards-touted Adventures Of Tintin franchise just beginning this month (Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson plan a trilogy) and began its own animation division with Oscar-buzzed Rango.

In terms of film financing, Paramount remains the one major without a risk-reducing constant partner. That’s why Fox has Dune, Warner Bros has Legendary, Disney has Kingdom, etc. Paramount’s existing investors include Skydance and Melrose II. The latter continues to have the right to co-finance sequels to the specific movies originally co-funded by them starting back in 2006. (Melrose I from 2004 was a $225 million fund bankrolling 25 Paramount films.) But no rights to finance any go-forward Paramount pics other than those sequels and no sequels that Paramount doesn’t want to make. I remember very clearly the moment 3 1/2 years ago that Hollywood studios received a nasty shock when the worldwide credit crunch began arriving on their doorsteps unannounced. The warning bell was sounded by an unfolding story about venerable Paramount’s financing crisis to mitigate the studio’s risk on 30 films. Grey quickly put out the spin that the studio walked away from one big financing deal because the terms weren’t good enough. The result is that, all this time, Paramount has not had an overall co-financing deal. It’s not crucial for survival, but it does let moguls sleep sounder at night.  Instead its parent company Viacom has been almost solely on the hook for financing new slates of pictures, which is like a tightrope walker working without a net. Remember what happened to the Wallendas?
The alternative at Paramount was for filmmakers to BYOF (Bring Your Own Financing) so, without an overall co-financing deal, Paramount arranged for individual partners to help fund its slate of films on a one-by-one basis. Now, as Paramount goes forward with more of its own pics, I predict that Grey will try to put together an overall co-financing deal. And if not? Clearly Brad is sleeping soundly at night until early 2017. Read More »

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Paramount Overhaul Creates Home Media Distribution Division, Leads To Jim Tharp Retirement, Tom Lesinski Exit

Mike Fleming

UPDATE: In a move that recognizes the growing role of overseas grosses and revenues that are derived from ancillary areas such as streaming, Paramount Pictures has significantly restructured several of its most important divisions. The moves will include the June 2012 retirement of distribution president Jim Tharp and the exit of Tom Lesinski, the Paramount Digital Entertainment president whose domain is being absorbed under other divisions at the studio.

Brad Grey has put the post-theatrical distribution of movies under one department, Home Media Distribution, which will be run by former president of Worldwide Home Entertainment Dennis Maguire. He’ll now oversee the licensing of films to home entertainment, digital streaming, and pay TV. Hal Richardson, who had been president of Worldwide Television Distribution, becomes president of Home Media Distribution, and he reports to Maguire.

In addition, because the studio is building slates that are clearly attempting to derive the majority of theatrical revenue from overseas ticket sales, it has brought head of international Andrew Cripps back to Los Angeles, where going forward he can have more of a say in the kinds of pictures Paramount makes and how they are exploited.

Paramount has also promoted Josh Greenstein and Megan Colligan, who’ve been co-presidents of Domestic Marketing. Greenstein, who was integral to  the global marketing campaign of the $1.1 billion worldwide-grossing Transformers: Dark of the Moon, will now be Chief Marketing Officer for the studio and oversee all marketing through all distribution channels. Colligan is the new president of Domestic Marketing & Distribution, and she will oversee all domestic theatrical distribution and marketing for Paramount. Colligan has been responsible for innovations like releasing Paranormal Activity for midnight showings on college campuses and sneaking films via Twitter. Greenstein, Colligan and Maguire all will report to vice chairman Rob Moore.

As part of the shakeout, Paramount Digital Entertainment president Lesinski will leave as his division is folded into other divisions of the studio. Tharp, the studio’s longtime head of distribution, will retire next June but will stay on to help Moore achieve a transition that will involve his number two, Don Harris. Harris will handle the day-to-day duties previously overseen by Tharp and become president of Domestic Theatrical Distribution, reporting to Colligan. Read More »

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‘Transformers 3′ Crosses $1 Billion Worldwide

HOLLYWOOD, CA (August 3, 2011) – Worldwide box office receipts for TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON, have hit $1 billion, Paramount Pictures announced today. To date, the third installment of the hit Transformers franchise, and the first shot in 3-D, has grossed $338 million in U.S. (through Monday) and $663 million internationally (through Tuesday).

“TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON is the first billion dollar grossing movie in the history of Paramount Pictures, marking a substantial milestone in the 99 year life of this legendary studio,” said Brad Grey, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Paramount Pictures. “We are grateful for the extraordinary work of  Michael Bay and his film-making team, executive producer Steven Spielberg, and everyone at Paramount around the globe who played a part in helping make this latest TRANSFORMERS one of the 10 highest grossing films worldwide of all time.”

Read More »

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Paramount Pictures Pacts For Warren Beatty’s Next Picture

By | Monday June 20, 2011 @ 4:21pm PDT
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: In what will be his first trip behind the camera since 1998′s Bulworth, Warren Beatty has committed to direct and star in an untitled comedy for Paramount Pictures. Paramount chairman and CEO Brad Grey has announced the deal for … Read More »

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Paramount To Distribute Martin Scorsese’s ‘Hugo Cabret’ For Thanksgiving

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures has stepped up to become the distributor of the Martin Scorsese-directed 3D film Hugo Cabret, with the studio locking a November 23 release date, the day before Thanksgiving. The adaptation of the Brian  Selznick novel is produced … Read More »

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Meet Newest Mailroom Trainee: Sam Grey

By | Tuesday July 6, 2010 @ 8:57am PDT

Every summer, Hollywood offices fill up with the sons and daughters and nephews and nieces of the entertainment industry’s major players. I’ve learned that Management 360 has just made a new hire right out of Brown for an entry-level position: Sam Grey, the son of Paramount chief Brad Grey. “He … Read More »

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Paramount Finally Hires New Mouthpiece

By | Friday May 9, 2008 @ 6:05am PDT

It hasn’t been announced yet, but I’ve confirmed that Patti Röckenwagner has snagged the job as Brad Grey’s exec VP of corporate communications for Paramount. She’s been VP of  regional communications for Time Warner Cable out here. (Yes, she’s married … Read More »

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Brad Grey Brings ‘Sopranos’ David Chase To Paramount To Write/Direct/Produce

UPDATE: Well, this is interesting. I just heard that, in the event a Sopranos movie does happen, it does not have to go to Warner Bros/HBO. So this deal that Brad Grey made today for Paramount with his former Sopranos producing … Read More »

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Brad Grey’s Pellicano Testimony: “Boring”

trial-brad-grey-4.jpg So the Paramount chief just finished testifying at the Pellicano trial. And the verdict is boring. Seriously, boring. “It was as boring as boring could be,” a spectator told me. Hollywood P.I. Anthony Pellicano didn’t even bother to cross-examine … Read More »

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Brad Grey Heads To Pellicano Trial Thurs

By | Wednesday March 19, 2008 @ 3:34pm PDT

greyx.jpgI can report that the federal prosecutors in the Pellicano wiretapping trial have told the Paramount chief it’s a very real possibility he’ll take the witness stand tomorrow to talk all about Hollywood private eye Anthony Pellicano. Because of that, the studio boss is heading to Roybal federal … Read More »

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Pellicano Trial: Michael Fuchs, Brad Grey And Bert Fields Mentioned By Doucett

2ND UPDATE: Brad Grey May Testify Thursday…

trial-doucett.jpgUPDATE: Garry Shandling’s ex-girlfriend Linda Doucett, who has told the press she was victimized by Anthony Pellicano, left the Roybal federal building today … Read More »

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Pellicano Trial: Brad Grey Crops Up Again; Shandling Lawyer Answers Bert Fields

UPDATE: Garry Shandling’s Washington DC lawyer David Boies who represented the comedian in his lawsuit against Brad Grey responded today to Bert Fields’ statement which I posted yesterday. Boies told Allison Hope Weiner at The Huffington Post that Mr. Fields’ comment “misstates what the settlement provides”:

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Bert Fields Defends Brad Grey Against Garry Shandling’s Pellicano Testimony

Famed Century City entertainment litigator Bert Fields today issued this statement in response to some of the charges leveled by comedian Garry Shandling in his Pellicano trial testimony last week as well as the coverage of it by the Los Angeles Times. Fields defended Grey during Garry Shandling’s conflict of … Read More »

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