Copyright 2002 | Source Variety Magazine

[ January 3rd 2002 ]

Paramount Pictures has recorded a solid box office return for the year 2001 generating considerable profitability thanks to minimal financial risk, Variety Magazine reports today. "Consistent management and consistent high levels of performance economically is a big draw to filmmakers," said Par vice chairman Robert Friedman.

Friedman continued: "It gives you a lot of advantages with the creative community as they know from one day to the next who they are going to be talking to, where their projects should be submitted, who will develop them and that they will finish their life at the studio."

But Par's year-end saw one of its riskiest creative pics ever in Vanilla Sky, the Tom Cruise/Cameron Crowe vehicle that despite a $25 million opening weekend, proved a disappointment both critically and financially (though pic was reportedly budgeted in the $60 million range); it ended 2001 with a $71 million gross.

In more traditional fashion, teen romancer Save the Last Dance proved a classic Par success story in early 2001, exceeding expectations both creatively and commercially by grossing $91.1 million domestically. It also was somewhat of a showcase for the studio's synergistic muscle - the harnessing of Par-based MTV Films to capitalize on the music net's youth audience, utilizing its enviable marketing reach and supplying a hip soundtrack.

The studio's summer tentpole Lara Croft: Tomb Raider delivered rock solid receipts, grabbing $131.2 domestically, the studio's highest grosser of the year. Par's stable of modestly budgeted thrillers also provided a strong revenue stream. Suspenser "Along Came a Spider" delivered a highly profitable $74.1 million domestically while "The Score" grossed over $71.1 million domestically in return for Par's small financial investment.

Pootie Tang, however, proved a dud and the studio also suffered from Sept. 14 release date on the Keanu Reeves starrer Hardball. The Comedy Zoolander was a modest success for creator Ben Stiller, Par's first feature venture with VH1. Par's latest collaboration with Nickelodeon, kiddie pic Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, scored solidly with Christmas audiences.

Next year, Par is pinning its hopes on the next installment in its Star Trek franchise, Star Trek: Nemesis, its Mel Gibson topliner We Were Soldiers, the Ben Affleck starrer The Sum of All Fears and its Michael Crichton pic Timeline.

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