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Par: Déjà vu all over again

Sequels, remakes on studio's '05 and '06 slates

In March, Paramount trumpeted a whole new attitude.

The studio was shaking up its exec roster, signing hipper filmmakers and lessening its reliance on sequels and remakes.

“We’re going to swing for the fences,” is how co-prexy Donald De Line put it.

With Sherry Lansing announcing last week her 2005 exit as motion picture group chairman, the shakeup will accelerate.

Still, a look at the studio’s ’05 and ’06 slates finds a plethora of sequels and remakes.

Next summer’s tentpoles are remakes “War of the Worlds,” directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Cruise (co-financed by DreamWorks); and Adam Sandler‘s “The Longest Yard” (co-financed by Sony).

The rest of 2005 includes remakes of “Bad News Bears,” “Last Holiday” and “The Sons of Katie Elder”; and TV-based projects “Aeon Flux” and “The Honeymooners.”

As for 2006, hopes reside with sequels “The Italian Job 2,” “Mission: Impossible 3,” “Indiana Jones 4,” remakes of “Pet Sematary,” “The Eye,” “The Warriors” and “Seconds.”

The 2005 lineup also includes “Sahara,” “Ask the Dust,” “Elizabethtown” and “The Weather Man”; and “Locked and Loaded” with rap star 50 Cent. Also in 2006: hoped-for franchise starters “A Princess of Mars” and “Spiderwick Chronicles.”

After five months under Viacom co-prexy Tom Freston, Par’s become less inclined to co-finance and is looking to beef up specialty label Paramount Classics.

But the biggest shift looks to be an appetite for projects like “Locked and Loaded” that can take advantage of Viacom’s MTV brand and deliver teens and young adults.Coming up by year-end are “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events,” co-financed by DreamWorks. Both bring built-in fan bases and will be heavily promoted on Nickelodeon.

Lansing insists Par, after three disappointing years, is turning the corner. But except for a few detours, it seems to be still going down a one-way street.

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