The Majors: Paramount

Top pix: 'School of Rock,' '10 Days'

A sense of humor helped around the Par lot during 2003. Comedies “School of Rock” and “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” were the studio’s surprise hits. Its other highs came from a light-hearted remake of “The Italian Job” and nine Oscar noms for “The Hours,” but that was hardly enough relief.

“All in all, we’re disappointed,” admits vice chair Rob Friedman. “We’re proud from a creative standpoint but some of the films just didn’t click with consumers.”

That list includes “The Hunted,” “The Core,” “Rugrats Go Wild,” “Lara Croft: The Cradle of Life,” “The Fighting Temptations,” “Beyond Borders” and “Timeline.” However, execs insist they finished in the black, thanks to lining up financial partners and taking a tight-fisted approach toward top talent.

Sherry Lansing completed her 12th year as topper, but Par’s usually stable exec suite saw vice chair John Goldwyn and marketing chief Arthur Cohen ankle. “Italian Job” producer Donald De Line replaced Goldwyn.

Par’s most promising 2004 releases include remakes of “The Stepford Wives,” “The Manchurian Candidate” and “Alfie”; Cameron Crowe’s “Elizabethtown”; bigscreen adaptations of kids fare “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Lemony Snicket”; and “Twisted,” with Ashley Judd.

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