In a move to solidify the senior management ranks of the studio, Robert G. Friedman and John Goldwyn have been given new titles within the Paramount Pictures motion picture group and have reupped under multiyear contracts with the studio.
Friedman, who signed on for another four years, has been elevated to the newly created position of chief operating officer of Paramount Pictures. He retains his title of vice chairman of the motion picture group of Paramount Pictures.
Goldwyn, who has reupped for five years, has been promoted to vice chairman of the motion picture group and also will continue to serve in his current post as Paramount Pictures motion picture group prexy.
The changes in job title do not represent any significant change in roles for the execs, nor a significant expansion of their duties. Rather, the promotions are acknowledgment by Jonathan Dolgen, chairman, Viacom Entertainment Group, and by Paramount Pictures motion picture group chairman Sherry Lansing of Friedman’s and Goldwyn’s ongoing contributions to the success of the studio’s movie division.
“We all agreed I would not expand duties, but that I would continue to focus my time and energy on assembling the best possible release slate for the studio,” Goldwyn told Daily Variety. “It’s a very trying time in the industry right now. This title acknowledges that Sherry and John want me to be involved in all aspects of the creative decision-making of the division.”
Friedman will continue to be responsible for worldwide theatrical marketing, distribution and acquisition of feature films and worldwide marketing, as well as overseeing Paramount’s specialty division, Paramount Classics.
Goldwyn will continue to be responsible for overseeing the acquisition of literary properties, development, budgeting, casting and production of motion pictures.
The studio’s 2002 feature slate includes the Tom Clancy adaptation “The Sum of All Fears,” Randall Wallace’s Mel Gibson starrer “We Were Soldiers,” the Harrison Ford starrer “K-19: The Widowmaker,” the Benicio del Toro starrer “The Hunted,” from Lakeshore Entertainment, and “The Hours,” starring Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore and Meryl Streep.
Among projects in development or production for 2003, highlights include Richard Donner’s Michael Crichton adaptation “Timeline,” being produced by the Donners Co. and Artists Production Group, Meg Ryan starrer “Against the Ropes”; sequel “Tomb Raider 2”; and the Angelina Jolie starrer “Beyond Borders.”
Lansing and Dolgen reupped in June 2000 for the next six years. Value of Lansing’s multiyear pact was placed north of $25 million (Daily Variety, June 27, 2000).
New rights strategy
Friedman acknowledged the studio is changing its strategy on the sale of territorial rights. “We are changing the mix both in terms of the number of pictures we would consider selling rights on and the number of rights we sell off. We will be retaining more rights in the future,” he told Daily Variety.
Goldwyn joined Paramount in November 1990 as executive VP, production, and was promoted to president, motion picture group/production, in November 1991. In latter post, Goldwyn was responsible for overseeing development and production of Par’s motion pictures. In March 1997, he was promoted to president of the Par motion picture group.
Appointed vice chairman of the motion picture group in September ’96, Friedman officially assumed his duties at Paramount in January ’97. While at the studio, he has overseen the marketing and distribution of such pics as “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” “Runaway Bride,” “Sleepy Hollow,” “The Truman Show” and “Titanic.” Friedman joined Paramount from Warner Bros., where he had been prez of worldwide advertising and publicity.
“Rob and John are two of the most intelligent executives in the business,” Dolgen said. “Paramount enjoys a level of consistency and stability few other studios can match. I am happy that we can keep this management team together.”