CATEGORIES Paramount, Distribution, Dreamworks, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Movie News, CinematicalOver the weekend, Paramount Pictures International went over the $1 billion mark, reportedly thanks to the success of its distribution of summer blockbusters Iron Man ($210 million), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ($350 million) and Kung Fu Panda ($41 million), as well as earlier releases The Spiderwick Chronicles ($91 million), Cloverfield ($90 million) and No Country for Old Men ($86 million). Paramount is the first studio to reach a billion bucks in international grosses this year, and it did so faster than in 2007, when it didn't top the figure until late July.
But is it really fair for Paramount to be bragging so much? On her Variety blog, Anne Thompson weighs in on the news, pointing out that all three of the studio's summer blockbusters were produced outside the main studio. Indiana Jones was Lucasfilm; Iron Man was Marvel; Panda was DreamWorks Animation. Of course, Paramount deserves a lot of credit for the marketing of these films, but Thompson wonders what it will be like if DreamWorks really does break away soon. Fortunately it has a good looking slate for the next few years, thanks to next year's toy-based titles Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and G.I. Joe, and then the next four or five Marvel Studios releases in 2010 and 2011.
The timing of Paramount's achievement is interesting because of a couple reasons. One, as Thompson notes, Paramount's next release, the in-house production The Love Guru, is not expected to be all that successful outside the U.S. Aside from the Shrek movies, no Mike Myers comedy has ever done as well overseas as at home. Not even The Cat in the Hat, which seems like it should have been broad enough (and bad enough) to do well internationally. Two, the billion dollar breakthrough came at a time when much of Europe is thought to be avoiding the cinema due to the Euro Cup (aka the UEFA European Football Championship). Yet according to a report from The Hollywood Reporter today, Europeans found time for both movies and sports this past weekend.