After a century of competition, could two of Hollywood’s biggest film studios finally be ready to work together?
21st Century Fox, the parent corporation of the Twentieth Century Fox film studio, has said it wants to buy a piece of Paramount Pictures, a stake that could be valued upward of $6 billion. If such a deal were to happen, don’t expect to see the famous searchlight logo in front of “Star Trek: Beyond.”
Even at $6 billion, whoever buys into Paramount will get a minority stake, meaning Brad Grey and his team will continue to call the shots, as will Paramount’s parent company, Viacom.
However, it’s doubtful that anyone will write a 10-figure check without having some say in the future direction of the studio. So that might explain why, at least so far, Viacom has rebuffed Fox’s efforts to buy a stake, according to the New York Post. That could indicate Paramount wants a “passive” investor, meaning one willing to give money, and let the current executive team turn it into profitable returns.
Paramount has put a lot of faith in its summer movie slate, which starts June 3 with “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” with Megan Fox and Will Arnett, followed by “Beyond” July 22, and topped off with a remake of “Ben-Hur” starring “Boardwalk Empire’s” Jack Huston. The hopes are to turn around what has been somewhat lackluster appearances at the box office recently.
In its most recent quarterly earnings report released last month, Viacom reported that while it earned a $449 million profit, its “filmed entertainment” division — which is primarily Paramount — lost $146 million during the quarter. That was after Paramount and the rest of Viacom’s film division posted a $60 million loss the year before.
Viacom announced last month it was seeking a minority investor to buy a stake in Paramount Pictures.
Fox isn’t alone in showing interest in the Paramount stake. Also stepping up, according to media reports, are Alibaba Group — an e-commerce company — and cinema operator group Dalian Wanda, both based in China.