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(written from a Production point of view)
Paramount logo

Paramount's centennial logo

Paramount Pictures is the film production and distribution company that formerly owned the Star Trek franchise and which still holds the rights to the Star Trek feature films. Paramount is owned by the current version of the media conglomerate Viacom, which is in turn controlled by National Amusements.

Brad Grey, previously a television producer, is the current CEO. It is his intention to establish Paramount as a leading media company again, willing to take risks and lure creative talent back. As part of this venture, he lured Gail Berman (one of the original producers of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) into the corporate offices as President.

Paramount Pictures has, for decades, operated its own theater, the Paramount Theatre of the Arts (notice British spelling), currently located at 2025 Broadway Oakland, California, for premiere viewings of its productions.

History with Trek

Paramount acquired the Star Trek franchise in 1967 when Desilu, the company producing Star Trek: The Original Series, was purchased by Gulf+Western, which owned Paramount at the time. Paramount, which came under ownership of the former Viacom when that company took over Gulf+Western in 1994, produced and distributed all Star Trek films and television shows from 1977 (when they were working on the abandoned Star Trek: Phase II) through 2005 (the final season of Star Trek: Enterprise).

Paramount Pictures formerly owned the television production company Paramount Television, through which it produced and owned the Star Trek television series. In 2006, the former Viacom was split into two separate companies: CBS Corporation and a new Viacom. CBS Corporation was given ownership of Paramount Television, which was renamed CBS Paramount Television, currently known as CBS Television Studios, and thus gained ownership of the Star Trek franchise and TV series, while Paramount Pictures retained the rights to the Star Trek films through a license from CBS Television Studios.

Paramount Pictures has now finished developing the 2009 feature film Star Trek, directed and produced by J.J. Abrams.

Historical overview

Founded by Adolph Zukor in 1912, Paramount Pictures is America's second oldest, still-operating, motion picture studio behind Universal Studios. Its logo – the highly-recognizable, majestic Paramount mountain – has been part of the company from the beginning, thus making it the oldest surviving Hollywood film logo.

Paramount Pictures was the company responsible for the first film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, the silent 1927 World War I picture Wings. Since then, Paramount has produced the Academy Award-winning films Going My Way (1944), The Lost Weekend (1945), The Greatest Show on Earth (1952), The Godfather (1972), The Godfather, Part II (1974), Ordinary People (1980), Terms of Endearment (1983), Forrest Gump (1994), Braveheart (1995), and Titanic (1997). Among the other acclaimed films they have produced are Double Indemnity (1944), Stalag 17 (1953), The War of the Worlds (1953, based on the book by H.G. Wells), The Ten Commandments (1956), Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), Chinatown (1974), Saturday Night Fever (1977), Grease (1978), Top Gun (1986), Fatal Attraction (1987), Saving Private Ryan (1998), and Zodiac (2007).

Since Star Trek was owned by Paramount Television, many of Paramount Pictures' classic films have been featured or referenced on the various shows, including I'm No Angel (1933), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), Sunset Boulevard (1950), Shane (1953), To Catch a Thief (1955), and Rosemary's Baby (1968). The former two are now under ownership of Universal Studios as they own most pre-1950 Paramount sound features.

As a result of Gulf+Western's purchasing of Desilu, Paramount not only came into ownership of Star Trek, they acquired other Desilu-produced television shows such as The Untouchables and Mission: Impossible (both referenced on Star Trek). In 1987, Paramount Pictures released an acclaimed feature film adaptation of The Untouchables, and in 1996, they released the first film of the highly successful Mission: Impossible film franchise starring Tom Cruise. Other television series they produced include The Odd Couple, Happy Days, Taxi, Cheers, MacGyver, Wings, Frasier, 7th Heaven, and The 4400. They also continue to produce the news magazine Entertainment Tonight.

In addition to Mission: Impossible and Star Trek, Paramount Pictures also holds the rights to such successful franchises as Beverly Hills Cop, Friday the 13th, Indiana Jones, and the films featuring Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan character (The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, etc.).

The late Brandon Tartikoff was chairman of Paramount Pictures in 1991 and 1992, during Star Trek: The Next Generation's fifth and sixth seasons.

In 2003, Paramount Pictures relaunched itself, with a new CGI logo, nicknamed the "CGI Majestic Mountain." In 2005, following the CBS/Viacom split, Paramount Pictures purchased the production company DreamWorks SKG.

On 8 July 2007, Paramount Pictures set the record for fastest studio to earn $1 billion at the US box office in a single year, reaching the mark after 189 days. This is the first time they have held this record since 1998. [1] This achievement is due primarily to the success of the Paramount Pictures/DreamWorks release of Transformers, written by Star Trek (2009) scribes Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci.

The studio's 2008 slate of film releases began with the release of the J.J. Abrams-produced Cloverfield on 18 January 2008. This film, which only cost US$25 million to make, earned US$40 million at the box office in its opening weekend – the best January opening on record. It was the studio's 10th biggest opening after Shrek the Third, Transformers, War of the Worlds, Mission: Impossible II, Mission: Impossible III, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, The Longest Yard, Mission: Impossible, and Deep Impact. Cloverfield broke the Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend record, as well, with a four-day total of US$46 million. [2] [3] Cloverfield is also notable as the film to which the first official teaser trailer for 2009's Star Trek was attached.

Paramount's other films opening in 2008 include The Spiderwick Chronicles, Stop-Loss, the highly-anticipated Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the Marvel Comics-based Iron Man, the animated Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar: The Crate Escape, The Love Guru, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Iron Man earned $98.6 million on its opening weekend, marking the studio's best opening for a live-action release. [4] In 2009, in addition to Star Trek, Paramount is slated to release films such as Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (also co-written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman), Nowhereland (starring Eddie Murphy, Vanessa Williams and Ronny Cox), and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (starring Rachel Nichols).

Paramount Studios sound stages

During production on Star Trek, Paramount Studios had thirty-two sound stages that varied in size from the smallest, Stage 22, to the largest, Stage 16. (Only the latter stage was utilized by Star Trek.) (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 49)

See also

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