Paramount Classics

Niche unit's exex are watching the 'Detective'

It’s business as usual for Paramount Classics, which remains virtually unchanged since its launch under co-prexys David Dinerstein and Ruth Vitale. Known, like its corporate parent, for its fiscal conservatism, the shingle tries to avoid bidding wars and carves its own niche by acquiring between six to eight titles a year.

At Sundance, Par Classics scooped up Robert Downey Jr. starrer “The Singing Detective” for North America and some international territories, which it will release this October.

Yet to find a breakout hit, shingle has booked modest successes at the box office. Critically lauded Irish pic “Bloody Sunday” disappointed at the box office, while the shingle’s highest grosser this year was culinary comedy “Mostly Martha” with $4 million-plus receipts. Par Classics also released Justin Lin’s “Better Luck Tomorrow,” which was acquired by MTV Films. Now in release is Polish brothers’ pic “Northfork.”

Exec ranks: Ruth Vitale, co-president; David Dinerstein, co-president; Rob Schulze, VP, distribution; Sig Libowitz, VP, acquisitions and co-productions

Recent pickups: “Man on the Train” (Venice); “House of Fools” (Venice); “The Singing Detective” (Sundance); “The United States of Leland” (Sundance)

Year at B.O.: Top grosser: “Mostly Martha” ($4.2 million); lowest grosser: “House of Fools” ($55,428)

Kudo watch: “Northfork” may generate buzz for stars Nick Nolte and James Woods, and “The Singing Detective” might see nods for Robert Downey Jr. and Mel Gibson.