Paramount Chairman Brad Grey's contract extended through 2017
The agreement marks a continued vote of confidence in Grey by Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman and chairman Sumner Redstone. The extension comes as Paramount has had a strong year at the box office but is facing the loss of two of its most prominent content providers: Marvel Entertainment and DreamWorks Animation. Grey's last extension, signed in 2009, had him under contract through March 2014.
Paramount's chairman signed the new deal in the last two months, said a person close to the studio who is not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
Grey, a longtime talent manager who took over then-troubled Paramount in 2005, has attempted to build up the studio's wholly owned franchises while relying on partners to fill up its release slate with films like Marvel's "Iron Man" and DreamWorks' "Shrek" sequels.
But starting next year Marvel's movies will be released by that studio's new owner, Walt Disney Co. The DreamWorks partnership with Paramount, meanwhile, ends next year and is unlikely to be renewed as the two sides have clashed over financial terms. Paramount recently hired a former Disney executive to expand its own animation production.
That puts more pressure on Paramount to succeed with its own franchises, which include "Transformers," "Star Trek" and "G.I. Joe." The studio is also looking to extend its "Mission: Impossible" series with next week's premiere of a fourth film, "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol."
Paramount also has to contend with a recent lawsuit filed against the studio by investors in its former co-financing fund Melrose II, which alleges fraud in reporting profits on 29 movies including "Mission: Impossible 3" and the "Transformers" trilogy.
Grey's contract extension was first reported by Deadline.com.
-- Ben Fritz
Photo: Paramount Chairman Brad Grey, Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman, and Viacom Chief Financial Officer Tom Dooley. Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images.