Paramount’s new president continues to clean the house, showing the door to another executive.


The regime change in Hollywood studios is almost always bloody. A new king or queen arrives and the faithful of the previous court lose their jobs.

But the guillotine fell at Paramount Pictures with surprising speed, creating a sort of panic within the 109-year-old film company.

Paramount owner ViacomCBS ousted Paramount chairman James N. Gianopulos on September 13 and replaced him with Brian Robbins, director of children’s television. On September 17, Chris Petrikin, the studio’s respected executive vice president of global communications and branding, was fired. Emma Watts, president of the Paramount Motion Picture Group, was fired last week. And Thursday, Paramount separated from its president of animation, Mireille Soria.

Paramount declined to comment on the departures.

The speed at which Mr. Robbins makes changes reflects his personal style – charge ahead! – and the vulnerable position in which Paramount and its parent company find themselves.

Paramount was once Hollywood’s most powerful studio, delivering culture-defining films like “The Godfather”, “Grease”, “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, “Forrest Gump” and “Beverly Hills Cop”. But serious mismanagement in the 2010s left him on life support. Mr. Gianopulos pulled it back from the brink, but the studio also remains managed, with many analysts seeing it as unfit to compete with franchise-rich competitors like Disney and Universal.

Likewise, ViacomCBS ranks as a small player in the streaming industry which now dominates the media industry. Mr. Robbins, who has online entertainment experience on his resume and little attachment to calcified Hollywood business models, was installed at Paramount because ViacomCBS wants the studio to prioritize streaming distribution for movies – in particular, providing content to Paramount +, the conglomerate’s fledgling streaming service. .

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