Paramount’s Slate of Sequels, Animation, and Cross-Viacom Films Roars to Life at CinemaCon

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

One of the most shocked-into-silence moments for the audience at Paramount Pictures’ CinemaCon presentation came when Tom Cruise, hero of five previously released Mission: Impossible films, recapped the intensity and challenge of conducting a freefall stunt for the franchise’s forthcoming sixth installment.

“Each take is like running an 800-meter sprint,” Cruise said. “We did 106 takes.”

This blunt understatement captures just one extraordinary moment in one forthcoming film from Paramount, the resurgent studio that over the course of that two-hour presentation unveiled or confirmed new installments to its cherished franchises, sequels to some of its most popular films from new and antique vintage, an aggressive Viacom co-branded slate through its Paramount Players division, a trio of animated adventures, and new films based upon a longstanding and expanded partnership with Hasbro.

“We’re laying the foundation…to deliver to you films for every possible audience for years to come,” Paramount Pictures Chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos, who has spent the past year building a new management team for the studio, told the audience.

As we zoom (buckled up) toward the July 27 release of Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Paramount confirmed that many of its other most beloved franchises will soon get a new installment. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton will return in a new Terminator movie next November. And Transformers, which has delivered five more or less contiguous sequels, will, as previously announced, dogleg off into Bumblebee, which hits theaters this Dec. 21.

Director Travis Knight showed off the first Bumblebee clip at the event, telling the audience, “I wanted to return to the essences of what made the Transformer franchise so impactful right from the beginning: character, emotion, spectacle and explosions, lots and lots of explosions.”

Many other films will get their first sequel, including the recently released hit A Quiet Place, 2013’s World War Z, 1988’s Coming to America (look for Coming 2 America), and, as previously confirmed, 1986’s Top Gun, which also stars original Maverick Cruise.

And before he drops a fourth Cloverfield movie on us at some as-yet-to-be-announced future point, J.J. Abrams’ Overlord will transport moviegoers into a bizarro version of behind-enemy-lines World War II on Oct. 26.

Beyond the realm of the sequel, the studio will drop fans into the labrynthian world of Dungeons and Dragons and the sci-fi realm of Micronauts, both through the studio’s partnership with Hasbro (the same partnership behind Paramount’s Transformers and G.I. Joe movies).

Other standalone projects will pit assassin Will Smith against a younger cloned version of himself in Gemini Man, and cast Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne as the overwhelmed adoptive parents of three in Instant Family.

Tapping Viacom’s deep content well to co-produce Paramount films has been a priority under CEO Bob Bakish, and the studio confirmed that one of Nickelodeon’s most resiliently popular characters, SpongeBob SquarePants, will return for his third big-screen adaptation, It’s A Wonderful Sponge, in 2020. The film will be one of three newly announced releases on the animation division’s slate, joining Luck – which exposes the millennia-old battle between organizations of good and bad luck – and Monster on the Hill, set in an alternative world of wrestling monsters. Additionally, the previously announced Wonder Park will debut next March.

Other top Viacom brands are joining Nickelodeon in collaborating with Paramount, through the Paramount Players division led by Brian Robbins and formed to further integrate the brands with the movie studio. In association with MTV, Eli, the story of a boy being treated for a rare disease in a clinic-cum-haunted-prison, will roll out in January 2019. BET will reconstitute the 2000 hit What Women Want with What Men Want, portraying a frustrated female sports agent who gains the power of mind-reading. Paramount Players is also working on Nickelodeon’s live-action Dora the Explorer and Are You Afraid of the Dark, both slated for 2019 release.

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“The Fallout of All Your Good Intentions Is Coming” in Paramount’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

The message is cryptic, the voice scratchy and resigned to whatever befalls him – the man in captivity has a message for Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise).

“Your mission, should you choose to accept it. I wonder, did you ever choose not to? The end you always feared is coming, and the blood will be on your hands – the fallout of all your good intentions.”

This is the first full trailer for Paramount Pictures’ Mission: Impossible – Fallout, the sixth installment in the studio’s leaping, punching, gun-fighting, vehicle-chasing adventure saga.

This time, there will be: betrayal, Paris, packed dance clubs, remote armed outposts, boats cascading through sewers, a man thrown through a bathroom mirror, and at least one game of chicken between a Hunt-driven helicopter and a semi. And plenty more.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout, directed by Christopher McQuarrie and starring Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, Angela Bassett, Vanessa Kirby, Michelle Monaghan, Alec Baldwin, Wes Bentley and Frederick Schmidt, will be in theaters July 27.

Ethan Hunt Begins His Next Impossible Mission

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Director Christopher McQuarrie dropped the clapper on production of the next Mission: Impossible movie via Twitter over the weekend:

Tom Cruise will zoom back for a sixth appearance as Ethan Hunt, following 2015’s Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, which McQuarrie also directed. The film, which also start Rebecca Ferguson, Henry Cavill, Vanessa Kirky and Alec Baldwin, is slated to open in July 2018.

While it’s way too early for a trailer, you can get ready for the next mission by checking out promos for the first five impossible adventures:

Mission: Impossible – 1996

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Jack Reacher Comes Back in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Jack Reacher blew into theaters in 2012, bringing Lee Child’s unbreakable action hero into a whole new dimension. The explosive hunt for a mass-murdering sniper etched Tom Cruise into our collective movie minds as the insuperable live-action version of the formidable ex-MP.

This Friday, Cruise is back, along with costar Cobie Smolders, in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, a sequel directed by Edward Zwick. The costars look pretty good together:

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Take a Look at the Aliens, Parties, Monsters and More That Are Barreling Toward Your Local Theater

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Paramount Pictures has had a strong first half of 2016, with critical favorites Everybody Wants Some and 10 Cloverfield Lane dropping before a pair of hit sequels – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows and Star Trek Beyond – made strong debuts in June and July, respectively. Florence Foster Jenkins, starring Meryl Street and Hugh Grant, hits theaters this Friday, followed by Ben-Hur on Aug. 19.

The studio has plenty more on the way to wrap 2016 and launch into 2017. Jack Reacher returns. Aliens arrive. Brad Pitt returns to World War II Europe. The office Christmas party goes epic. Monster trucks come alive. And Xander Cage spins wildly back in the most extreme ways imaginable.

First up:

JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK – OCT. 21, 2016

Tom Cruise – who has also starred in all five of Paramount’s Mission: Impossible films and will return for a sixth in 2017 –  returns as the indomitable drifter Jack Reacher. Director Edward Zwick melds Cruise with fellow cast members Cobie Smolders, Aldis Hodge and Danika Yarosh in this wild thriller.

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Happy 20th Birthday, Mission: Impossible

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

You may have heard that Mission: Impossible 6 could drop as soon as next year. While we don’t have any confirmed release dates at the moment, we can say that the sixth installment in the series will happen.

While you’re waiting, here’s a look back at all five films in the Mission: Impossible franchise, starting with Tom Cruise’s debut as Ethan Hunt almost exactly 20 years ago, in the spring of 1996.

Mission: Impossible – 1996

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Paramount Accepts the Ice Bucket Challenge

by Daina Amorosano, Viacom


The ice bucket challenge has become so ubiquitous, it’s now a Halloween costume. A sensation across social media, friends, family and some of the world’s biggest celebrities have been dousing themselves with buckets of ice water and posting videos of it online to raise money and awareness for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Read More

Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone Donates $20 Million to Motion Picture & Television Fund

Tom Cruise SMR

Tom Cruise, a longtime supporter of the Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF), joins Chairman of the MPTF Foundation, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Executive Chairman of Viacom and CBS, Mr. Sumner Redstone as he grants a $20 Million gift from the Sumner M. Redstone Charitable Foundation to the MPTF Campaign at Paramount Pictures.

This #GivingTuesday, Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone embodies the spirit of the holiday season with a big gift to the Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF) Campaign. The Sumner M. Redstone Charitable Foundation committed $20 million to the Campaign, which was created to build permanent funding for the broad range of social and charitable services that MPTF provides to more than 15,000 entertainment industry workers and their families each year. Read More