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Paramount Pictures Shuts Down its Worldwide Acquisitions Group

Paramount Pictures Shuts Down its Worldwide Acquisitions Group

Paramount Picturesshut down its worldwide acquisitions group (PWAG) which is responsible for international acquisitions, local language production and domestic acquisitions for the Paramount and Insurge labels. Old friend in the biz, Matt Brodlie, is among those cut.

from Screen Daily and Daily Variety

Paramount follows in the footsteps of Warner Bros which recently closed down its international acquisitions group in Los Angeles under Cam Galano, although Warner has an ongoing local language production division. Fox, Universal, Sony and Disney continue active local language production and/or acquisition programs.

Paramount is thought to want to focus on its tentpole distribution program which this year includes Super 8, Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, Captain America: The First Avenger, Mission: Impossible IV and the DreamWorks Animation product.

PWAG was established in 2009 under the leadership of Ellen PIttleman who was followed by Matt Brodlie in Los Angeles with executives in Los Angeles, London (Alexandra Rossi and Alexei Boltho) and Mexico City (Mineko Mori) and consultants in Madrid and Munich. London-based exec Alexandra Rossi has notified associates that she’s leaving as well. Boltho will remain at the studio as director of acquisitions. The cuts include three in the U.S. and four internationally, but there are no plans to shutter Paramount Worldwide Acquisitions Group, a source familiar with the situation told Variety. Paramount had no comment about the changes at the 3-year-old unit.

Brodlie moved over from the dismantled Paramount Vantage where he was senior vice president of production and acquisitions; at PWAG, he reported to Paramount Pictures International president Andrew Cripps.

PWAG was created as a centralized acquisitions and local production arm to feed pics into the pipelines of Paramount Pictures Intl. and Paramount Vantage at that point. Sony, Fox and Universal had taken similar steps to expand the scope of their international production and acquisition operations in recent years. During its existence, PWAG had some notable hits including Spanish pickup Cell 211 which grossed $18m in 2009, a Japanese remake of Ghost which grossed $10.5m in 2010 and Made In Dagenham in the U.K.

Most recently PWAG had enormous success with the Australian acquisition of The King’s Speech which took $33.5m in the territory. Brodlie also oversaw the development and production of last year’s Australian hit Tomorrow When The War Began. which Paramount co-produced with Omnilab. The film took $13.5m last year.

Brodlie also oversaw the studio’s deal with Transmission in Australia, a specialised joint venture distribution company which has released local films such as Charlie And Boots, Beneath Hill Sixty and Kings Of Mykonos. On the domestic front, Brodlie bought worldwide rights to Sundance grand jury prize winner Like Crazy at Sundance this year.

Also due out this year are:

in Germany, Russendisko adapted from the celebrated local novel by Wladimir Kaminer and starring Matthias Schweighofer;
in Spain, futuristic thriller Eva starring Daniel Bruehl — which has a domestic deal in place with The Weinstein Company;
in France, comedy Beur Sur La Ville from director Djamel Bensalah and starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and Gerard Jugnot;
in Brazil, romantic comedy Man Of The Future starring local superstar Wagner Moura.
Currently shooting in the UK is James Marsh’s Shadow Dancer starring Clive Owen. PPI will distribute all these films in their home territories.

Brodlie is a well-known figure on the international stage, having worked in acquisitions at Miramax Films for over a decade; he also worked at Sony before coming to Paramount in 2006. Rossi had been at New Line Cinema in London before moving to PWAG, Boltho at BBC Films and Mori at Videocine in Mexico.

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