Studio to lay off some 60 employees

Paramount Pictures and Paramount Vantage handed out pinkslips to 60 employees Thursday.

Layoffs, which had been expected, come on the heels of last month’s decision to fold Vantage’s marketing, distribution and physical production departments into the parent studio.

All of Thursday’s casualties were VP level or below. Cuts mean that Vantage will operate with a staff of 40, down from 100. Not all of the 60 axed employees came from Vantage, however, as some Vantage staffers were absorbed by the parent studio.

Many of those laid off worked under Vantage marketing head Guy Endore-Kaiser and distribution prexy Rob Schultz, who previously ankled their posts. Vantage also shook up its top exec ranks last week when Amy Israel ankled her post as Vantage’s exec VP of production and acquisitions and was replaced by former New Line exec Guy Stodel. Earlier this week, the studio launched the Paramount Worldwide Acquisitions Group, which will be run by Vantage senior VP of production and acquisitions Matt Brodlie.

Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore said there are no plans for another round of layoffs. “This was a very specific organizational change, and this was the execution of that plan,” he said.

Most of the eliminated employees are L.A.-based, but there are a few affected positions in other locations. No one from the international group was affected.

The combined departments will serve the parent studio and Vantage as well as DreamWorks, MTV Films, Nickelodeon Movies and distribution partners Marvel and DreamWorks Animation. In an internal memo, Moore and Paramount prexy John Lesher said the layoffs were the result of the consolidation. They added that the streamlining was necessary “to be strategic and disciplined about how we manage the business for the long term, and to take into account the dynamic nature of the challenging marketplace.”

One recent challenge faced by Paramount is the collapse of a $450 million slate financing pact with Deutsche Bank. That left Par in the unenviable position of pursuing alternative sources of coin on a single-film basis.

Read more at Thompson on Hollywood

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