×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Paramount’s Jim Gianopulos: ‘Diversity Is Good Business’

Paramount Studios chairman Jim Gianopulos wants producers to know that his studio is committed to diversity.

“Women are half our audience,” he said Saturday at the opening of the Produced By conference on the Paramount lot. “Diversity is the right thing to do and it’s the audience that’s out there. It’s good business.”

Gianopulos, the former head of 20th Century Fox’s film studio, credited such execs as Liz Raposo with providing the needed perspective to keep Paramount in tune with audiences. He took the post last year and is seeing some significant success from “A Quiet Place,” the low-budget thriller has grossed $330 million worldwide, and from the modestly budgeted “Book Club,” which has hit $54 million domestically.

Both films were able to expand well beyond their core audiences, he noted, and credited “A Quiet Place” director-actor John Krasinski with making a relatable film about families, rather than a simple alien-invasion movie.

“You don’t do $330 million worldwide from a genre film,” Gianopulos said. “It seemed like an original, unique idea. And there was an $18 million negative cost. As we saw dailies, it was obvious that this was something special.”

The studio chief admitted Saturday that he’d received other offers after leaving Fox but opted to go with Paramount due to its strong history.

“The legacy of this place is extraordinary,” he added. “It’s impossible to recreate that. It was an opportunity to be part of a renaissance.”

Gianopulos appeared with “Fast and Furious” producer Neal Moritz in a far-ranging 75-minute conversation at the Paramount Theatre as one of the opening events at the Producers Guild of America’s two-day conference.

Moritz is in production on a animated/live-action “Sonic the Hedgehog” movie for Paramount, directed by Jeff Fowler. Gianaopulos and Moritz credited Fowler with offering a compelling vision for the film.

“You realize that Sonic is a quasi juvenile delinquent and you could obviously see where it was going,” Gianopulos said.

“There’s nothing better for me than a director with an incredible vision. I thirst for that,” Moritz added.

Moritz also said he was struck by how similar the moviemaking process has remained over the past five decades.

“Movies today can’t be made any faster than they were 50 years ago,” he observed. “It’s still a handmade business.”

The producer also said he was proudest of being able to complete “Furious 7” after Paul Walker’s death in 2013. He recalled being thanked by fans at a test screening.

“I had not realized the power of the movies until then,” he said. “It was by far the greatest achievement of my career.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Beyonce Knowles'The Lion King' film premiere,

    ABC Announces Behind-the-Scenes Special for Beyoncé's 'Lion King' LP

    ABC has announced a new behind-the-scenes look into the making of Beyoncé’s “The Lion King: The Gift” LP, which is set to air September 16 on ABC at 10 p.m. EST. Titled “Beyoncé Presents: Making the Gift,” the new hour-long special will allow viewers to “experience the process” behind the “Lion King” companion album, according [...]

  • Jason Lei Howden, Samara Weaving and

    Daniel Radcliffe On Acting With Weapons Nailed To Your Hands

    How did “Guns Akimbo” director and writer Jason Lei Howden convince Daniel Radcliffe to play a character with guns nailed to his hands? Easy, he sent him the script. Radcliffe joined Howden and “Ready or Not’s” breakout star Samara Weaving in the Variety’s Toronto Film Festival studio, presented by AT&T to talk the limits of [...]

  • Box Office: It Chapter Two Maintains

    Box Office: 'It: Chapter Two' Continues International Reign With $47 Million

    Pennywise’s reign of terror hasn’t wavered: Warner Bros.’ “It Chapter Two” maintained first place on box office charts, led by another strong showing overseas. The sequel, based on Stephen King’s horror novel, generated another $47 million at the international box office for a foreign tally of $169 million. After two weeks of release, “It Chapter [...]

  • First still from the set of

    Taika Waititi’s 'Jojo Rabbit' Wins Top Prize at Toronto Film Festival Awards

    Taika Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit” has won the coveted People’s Choice Award at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. The honor positions the film for a potential Oscar run and bolsters its awards chances. That’s good news for Fox Searchlight, which must have been disappointed by the lackluster critical reception for the movie, a dark comedy [...]

  • Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star

    Box Office: 'Hustlers' Racks Up Solid $33 Million Debut, 'Goldfinch' Bombs

    “Hustlers” rolled in the Benjamins this weekend, collecting $33.2 million when it debuted in 3,250 North American theaters. Boosted by rave reviews and stellar word of mouth, “Hustlers” beat expectations and now ranks as the best start for an STX film, along with the biggest live-action opening weekend for stars Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu. [...]

  • German Cinema Is Diverse, But Is

    German Cinema Is Varied, But Is It Too Risk Averse?

    One of the strengths of German cinema is its diversity, says Simone Baumann, managing director of the national film promotion agency German Films. As well as the three films at Toronto directed by female German helmers, there was also German filmmaker Thomas Heise’s documentary film essay “Heimat Is a Space in Time.” Then there were [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content