The story in Hollywood this weekend is that Brad Grey, who took over Paramount Pictures in 2005, is negotiating his exit. At one time Brad was the most stable studio exec in town. (Ron Meyer has the title now.) But a combination of bad box office luck and the upheaval with the Redstone family may spell the end for Grey. He’ll be fine, you know, and turn back into a hot producer. But I’ll miss him if this is true.
I’m told that Grey may be replaced, at least temporarily, by some kind of triumvirate from existing execs. But there are plenty of good people out there including ex Warners top dog Jeff Robinov.
The downside first: in the last year, misfires have hurt Grey. Whether it was “Zoolander 2” or the current “Monster Trucks,” Grey has suffered stunning losses. There’s also the debacle of Martin Scorsese’s “Silence” which just went completely wrong in marketing. I guess hoping to strike gold, Grey’s team pushed “Silence” out for Oscars instead of waiting for the spring and the 2018 Oscars. Big, big mistake.
On the upside: 18 Oscar nominations this year including two for Best Picture– “Fences” and “Arrival.” Many, many Oscar nods and big box office for movies like “The Martian” and “Wolf of Wall Street.” How about this? Eight of Paramount’s all time top 10 films came during Grey’s run including two “Iron Man” movies and two “Transformers.”
Not ever to demean Sherry Lansing, but Grey was artist friendly and press friendly. He gave Paramount accessibility that it had lacked sorely in the prior ten years. His confidence radiated through the staff. The Paramount PR department–many of whom were Miramax grads– has been a total joy to work with.
So we’ll wait and see while Viacom chief Bob Bakish makes his way to L.A. and crafts this parting of the ways. And again, remember, Brad Grey produced “The Sopranos.” Bada bing! He’s not going anywhere.