Inside Paramount’s 2020 Survival Strategy: Earn More Selling Off Films Than Releasing Them

Beatrice Verhoeven and Jeremy Fuster
·1-min read

2020 was supposed to be a strong box office year for Paramount Pictures, but the pandemic-fueled shutdown of theaters had the studio look at different ways to succeed financially. The studio has begun offloading at least five of its films to streamers — including Aaron Sorkin’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7” — a survival strategy that seems to be paying off at a time when no studio can count on box office returns from movie theaters that remain closed or operate at limited capacity. Paramount has sold Netflix Aaron Sorkin’s fact-based drama “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (for a reported $56 million), “SpongeBob: Sponge on the Run,” an untitled Ryan Reynolds/Shawn Levy adventure film that has yet to shoot and the Issa Rae-Kumail Nanjiani rom-com “The Lovebirds” that one insider said sold in the high-$20 million/low-$30 million range. Meanwhile, Amazon Studios is closing in on a reported $125 million deal for Eddie Murphy’s “Coming 2 America” as well as a separate sale of the upcoming Jack Ryan spinoff “Without Remorse” starring Michael B. Jordan. All of those sales add up. In fact, three financial analysts estimate that the combined revenue from Paramount’s offloading and its domestic box office...

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