We don’t have to remind everyone what a crappy year Paramount Pictures has had so far. Neil Turitz did a pretty good job recapping that in his Studio Series two and a half months back. The R-rated Baywatch movie, co-produced with Skydance Productions and starring Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron, didn’t help matters.
The studio does have more exciting projects premiering in next month’s fall festival season, between new movies from Alexander Payne (his first movie in four years) and Darren Aronofsky (his first in over three) to George Clooney’s Suburbicon. They also have a new Cloverfield movie and Alex Garland’s Annihilation coming out in early 2018.
Still, it must have been nice to sign on the dotted line for a new four-year deal with David Ellison’s Skydance, as they’ve just done, guaranteeing they’ll be able to keep some of their mutual franchises alive.
Maybe this deal won’t come as too much of a surprise since they already had a sixth Mission: Impossible in production together, but recent news about Skydance hiring directors for their animated features, Luck and Split, didn’t necessarily mention Paramount as a distributor, despite their previous relationship.
In fact, when I spoke to Ellison back in March — for another outlet — he quickly shut down any questions about the company trying to do more with The Terminator or Star Trek, maybe because he was busy touting Life, which Skydance did with Sony.
With this new deal in place, The Tracking Board can confirm that Skydance and Paramount will move forward with the UNTITLED TERMINATOR REVIVAL PROJECT planned with original filmmaker James Cameron with Deadpool director lined up to direct.
Other projects in the works includes a sequel to the 2013 hit World War Z, reteaming Brad Pitt with director David Fincher — their The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was a strong box office hit and awards contender for Paramount — as well as the sequel Top Gun: Maverick, which continues the companies’ long and healthy relationship with Tom Cruise. The latter is set to be directed by Joseph Kosinski of TRON: Legacy and Oblivion.
Other original projects named as part of this deal include Gemini Man and Bermuda Triangle.
Needless to say, a fourth Star Trek — the sequel to 2016’s Star Trek Beyond — is also in development with no director attached or release date set.
Ellison raised $700 million last year for his company’s own productions, but the science fiction thriller Life barely did $100 million worldwide based on the $58 million production costs, so maybe Ellison was more than happy to remain with familiar ground. (Skydance also teamed up with Warner Bros. for Dean Devlin’s upcoming weather disaster flick Geostorm which opens on October 20.)
Edward Douglas | East Coast Editor