Viacom CEO: Paramount Pictures Is Finally Turning A Corner

Paramount Pictures is finally turning a corner, according to the boss of the Hollywood studio’s parent company Viacom.

The legendary movie lot, which has been dogged by years of operating losses and dwindling market share, got a boost from a trio of summer hits — “Book Club,” “A Quiet Place” and “Mission Impossible — Fallout,” Viacom CEO Bob Bakish said on Wednesday.

“There’s no question that the mountain is back,” Bakish told the Goldman Sachs Communacopia media conference in New York on Wednesday.

Paramount — whose smash hits over the decades have included “The Godfather,” “Saturday Night Fever” and “Footloose” — is staging a comeback with better-than-expected box-office receipts and likewise “killing it” with streaming rentals and DVD sales, according to Bakish.

He predicted similarly strong results for next year, when half of Paramount’s film slate will be tied to one of Viacom’s five flagship cable brands: MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET and the Paramount Network.

Paramount’s TV turnaround has been almost as dramatic, Bakish said, citing such hits as “13 Reasons Why” on Netflix, “The Alienist” on TNT and “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” on Amazon.

Bakish credited Paramount’s turnaround to Jim Gianopulos, who was tapped by Bakish to run the studio in March 2017 and who has since assembled what the Viacom boss called “a best-in-class management team.”

Viacom, which many believe lacks the scale necessary to compete in a merged-up media world, has recently completed bolt-on acquisitions like Vidcon, WhoSay and Awesomeness.

Bakish meanwhile distanced his company from Netflix, video streaming’s 800-pound gorilla, calling the field it dominates “too crowded” and its business model “very capital-intensive.”

Bakish failed to address questions around the elephants in the room — namely, CBS and its former CEO Les Moonves, who was ousted this week amid a slew of sex-harassment allegations.

Both Viacom and CBS are controlled by billionaire Sumner Redstone’s National Amusements. Redstone’s daughter Shari had been pressing for a merger of CBS and Viacom, with Bakish as the likely successor to Moonves to lead both companies, but this week agreed to back down for two years.

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