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Paramount Cutting Costs Per Title For Films, Series

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Paramount CEO Bob Bakish and CFO Naveen Chopra have outlined their plans to reduce the costs of content, following the impact of the Writers Guild and SAG-AFTRA strikes last year, during the company’s recent earnings call.

Paramount says that reducing that programming spend has now become a top corporate priority, and the company’s CEO and CFO spoke about that during the call.

“As we move into 2024, we’re focused on producing content more efficiently and magnifying the impact of our slate,” Bakish said, according to the Hollywood Reporter. “2023 presented an opportunity to experiment with alternative lower-cost entertainment programming across our linear networks,” Chopra added, referencing the moves made by the company at CBS and its other networks during the strikes. “The performance we saw gives us confidence we can continue to reduce cost going forward while also delivering a consistent volume of high quality content. And that’s enabled by lower production costs, evolving format mix, and optimizing and sharing content across linear and streaming.”

Paramount is pursuing cost savings across film, TV and streaming, with each having their own unique strategic elements.

As it relates to film –  “we’re improving ROI by lowering the average cost per title,” Bakish said. “This is by balancing high budget tentpoles, with more modest-cost titles like Mean Girls and Bob Marley: One Love, improving the financial return on the overall slate. And we’re off to an excellent start on this.”

When discussing the linear TV and streaming business Bakish said – “we have an increasingly efficient and targeted development process.”

“We prioritize lower cost formats, like unscripted and those shot abroad, while maintaining our strength in franchises,” he added, noting that the NCIS Australia spinoff “was produced in Australia at a much more efficient price point.”

“You will see us leaning even further into offshore production for our global franchises, including the upcoming London installment of Billions; The new Ray Donovan origin story with The Donovans as well as new series like The Department from George Clooney,” Bakish continued.

Chopra told analysts that Paramount is “leaning into our global slate and identifying markets where we can slow investment in local streaming content and marketing.”

“We’ve learned that Paramount+ subscribers outside the United States spend nearly 90 percent of their time with our global Hollywood hits, meaning we can keep them engaged while right-sizing our investment in content that does not travel around the world,” Chopra added.

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Pixar CCO Pete Docter Excited About Future

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Disney

The latest smash hit in theaters is Pixar’s ‘Inside Out 2’ which had a stellar opening in theaters grossing $295 million globally in its first weekend, and the film is currently this year’s highest box office debut.

Naturally, that success has many people excited, specifically Pixar who feel that the numbers, which are similar to pre-2020 numbers, indicate an incredible future is upon them.

“I feel like we’re in a really golden place where, after a lot of turmoil, every project we have is exciting to me for multiple reasons — both from new looks and technology, but more importantly, original stories and storytellers,” Pixar Chief creative officer Pete Docter said, during an interview with Entertainment Weekly.

Docter also spoke about the recently announced ‘Inside Out’ series that will land on Disney+ and stated that the project is already completed and will be arriving to the streaming platform sometime in Spring 2025.

“But in the first film, remember we go to Dream Production to see how Riley’s dreams are made? It semi-explains why they’re so weird. We’ve continued the exploration of the power of dreams and how they affect us in our waking life, as well. So it’s pretty cool,” Docter said.

Docter discussed how the company decides which content lands on Disney+, which was announced just before the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, or gets a premier release in theaters, which seems to be making a comeback in the market.

“But that was really before anyone had an understanding of the economics of how it all works. How much can you spend on a show, and how do you even track what it made? A box office is super easy. Three people came in, I know I can count the money exactly. With streaming, depending on how you divide it up, do you get more money to do something that’s new or that attracts new viewers? It’s very squirrely,” he explained.

With Pixar basking in the limelight of their latest success, the future is exciting for the company and it will be interesting to see how far their new success can go.

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Joe and Anthony Russo’s ‘The Electric State’ Gets Massive Budget

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Netflix

Netflix is opening up the bank for the latest film from Joe and Anthony Russo.

According to World of Reel, Joe and Anthony Russo’s ‘The Electric State’ movie, which is going to be exclusively for the entertainment streaming platform, Netflix has topped the $300 million budget mark, costing $320 million to produce.

The cast for “The Electric State”, a sci-fi movie based on Simon Stålenhag‘s 2018 illustrated novel, includes Millie Bobbie Brown, Chris Pratt, Ke Huy Quan, Giancarlo Espostito, Anthony Mackie, Stanley Tucci, Jason Alexander, Brian Cox, and Jenny Slate.

According to the official synopsis: ““The Electric State” is a coming-of-age tale that mixes sci-fi and western genres in a retro-futuristic past. Brown plays an orphaned teenager who traverses the American West with her robot friend and an eccentric drifter in search of her younger brother.”

Netflix won the bidding war for the rights to the film back in 2022, and now we will see if the ROI on the investment will reward their massive investment.

 

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Kenya Moore Suspended Indefinitely From ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’

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The Real Housewives of Atlanta

Kenya Moore has been suspended indefinitely from ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’ after Moore allegedly displayed posters with explicit images of franchise newcomer Brittany Eady at the grand opening of her Kenya Moore Hair Spa in Atlanta, Georgia, last week, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The show is currently filming it’s 16th season.

According to Entertainment Tonight, the photos were “allegedly found online” and referenced a source that said – “Kenya was suspended for allegedly depicting Brittany performing a sexual act at the grand opening of her Kenya Moore Hair Spa in Atlanta, from images allegedly found online. The network is still reviewing the content Kenya displayed during filming.”

The report goes on to address rumors of a threat made against Kenya involving a firearm –  “At no time was Kenya ever threatened with a weapon, nor was there ever a weapon present during the course of production.”

Moore has since taken to social media to address the news and defend herself: “I would never engage in revenge porn, I have never distributed private images or footage of anyone, nor solicited images owned by others to use to threaten or blackmail. I have always been vindicated. I can’t talk about STORY even with people planting fake news.”

“For the record, I’ve never once had possession of any weapons or threatened anyone ever,” she wrote.

The Hollywood Reporter goes on to say that Bravo was filing the cast event at the time, with a source informing Entertainment Tonight that “the network is still reviewing the content Kenya displayed during filming.”

Later, Moore shared the following on her Instagram story –  “Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see. The truth always comes to light.”

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