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 2016 MTV Movie Awards: A Night of Movie Magic

The MTV Movie Awards came back for the 25th year in a row to celebrate the movies you’ve actually seen. This year’s show began in apocalyptic style, with hosts Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart riding down the red carpet on a flaming car adorned with skulls and scrap metal. An entourage of ghastly warriors marched ahead, wielding assorted weapons and leering at the crowd.

The parade from the underworld paid homage to 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road—and kicked off a bold night of pyrotechnics, paparazzi, and Golden Popcorn.

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First Lady Michelle Obama Champions Education at the 5th Annual BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™

Michelle Obama has some inspiring words for the audience.

Michelle Obama has some inspiring words for the audience.

For the fifth consecutive year, BET Networks and BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™ teamed up to present the BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™ Award Show, honoring the inspirational work of African-American women in art, philanthropy, sports and community service. But last night’s show featured a special guest: first lady Michelle Obama, who paid tribute to the evening’s many honorees and spoke about an issue close to her heart.

“No matter who you are, no matter where you come from—you are beautiful, you are powerful, you are brilliant, you are funny!” the First Lady told the evening’s attendees inside the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. “There is nothing more important than being serious about your education. That’s why I am able to stand here tonight. … I want every one of our black girls do to the same, and our black boys.” Read More

KCA Host Will Smith on Mission with International Celebs

by Rich Barry, Viacom International Media Networks

With more than 300 million households worldwide awaiting the increasingly global Kids’ Choice Awards, failure’s not an option for 2012 host Will Smith. So when he gets a call from a “creepy hater voice” telling him he’s going to fail, celebrities from around the world join forces to help our superstar host on his mission to make it to the show – and to become “the best host ever.”

Check out the promos to watch Will Smith get transported to the Kids’ Choice Headquarters in the UK and Australia…and the “Quartier Generale Del Kids’ Choice” in Italy, of course, where he’s catapulted in a human slingshot.

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