Mary Parent Lands Producing Deal at Paramount
The former chairman of MGM's worldwide motion picture group left the studio in October.
Mary Parent has landed a first-look production deal at Paramount. The former chairman of MGM's worldwide motion picture group, Parent finally left the studio in October after a year of stalled production operations and has been eager to find a new, healthy home.
"They approached me, and they're the best fit," says Parent. "What Paramount's doing right now from a producerial standpoint, they're making every kind of movie, every kind of budget and every kind of genre -- from True Grit to Transformers to Paranormal to Justin Bieber. They're successfully making and marketing these movies. These guys are nailing it across the board."
Parent will be starting from scratch in terms of material, but she has long had strong relationships with talent and the respect of her peers from when she was vice chairman of Universal and then studio producer with Scott Stuber. Given the sympathetic goodwill behind her post-MGM, Parent already has material pouring in from writers.
"We hope to get something going pretty quickly, but it's always a crapshoot -- you could be in production in three months or it could be a year," says Parent, who's eager to move onto the lot with her MGM execs Cale Boyter and Luke Ryan and get going. "I'm practically at the front gate with a box right now," she jokes.
MGM chairman and CEO Harry Sloan recruited Parent in March 2008 to revamp and resurrect the debt-heavy studio's production operation. Parent bought scripts and put a number of features into production, but she was only ever able to release a remake of Fame in 2009 and the comedy Hot Tub Time Machine in early 2010 before the production apparatus was frozen by the company's bankruptcy proceedings.
A remake of Red Dawn, the comedy Zookeeper, the horror flick The Cabin in the Woods were completed and remain unreleased, while high-profile properties James Bond and its co-production of The Hobbit were left in limbo. Sony eventually picked up distribution of Zookeeper for a summer release this year.
Parent's four-year deal at MGM still had 18 months on it when she negotiated her exit in the fall.
The Paramount producing roster includes a lot of big names, including Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes, J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot, Brad Pitt's Plan B, Lorenzo Di Bonaventura's Di Bonaventura Pictures, Josh Schwartz's Fake Empire, Brett Ratner's Rat Entertainment and Ivan Reitman's Montecito Picture Company, among others.
Parent sees herself contributing all kinds of big films to the studio, including four-quadrant family fare like Zookeeper to the Nickelodeon label. "I like entertaining for the masses," she says.